Time to Kell

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Tuesday's games.

Yes, it’s time to talk about Merrill Kelly one last time after going 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks against the Padres. We’ve seen him undulate all season, but now with a decent schedule the rest of the way with the Mets, Reds, Padres, Cardinals, he could become a decent pickup to take you to the end. Last night also saw a step forward with his four-seamer featuring 93 mph velocity, cruising with the pitch for 40% CSW. Normally for Kelly I want closer to an even split of fastballs to secondary stuff and featuring roughly 35% curveballs and cutters is a little too low moving forward, but this was a night where he felt his heater and that’s fine with me. I’m not sure I buy that he can keep this up for each of those games moving forward, but reconsider Kelly as a gamble play against the Mets and maybe he carries the momentum through to the end.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Jack Flaherty8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. 19 whiffs for a Gallows Pole as Flaherty’s slider was special once again. Good fastballs too, with a sprinkle of knuckle-curves that didn’t hurt. Atta boy Flaherty, you have four starts left. Don’t slow down now.

Mike Foltynewicz5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Folty left this one early as the heat affected him strongly and he was on the verge of passing out. It happens, and he should be fine moving forward. It’s the Phils next, and I’m going with it.

Mitch Keller1.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Keller left this one in the second after a liner struck him in his pitching hand and bounced into his glove. He was in clear pain and will likely miss his weekend start, so hold your breath here.

Andrew Kittredge1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. I would make Beeks the main line, but it was two innings. That’s it. Then I found five bucks. Cool story. 

Jon Lester6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. Really good to see Lester steamroll the Mariners. He has an easy schedule ahead, so let him fly like the Toby he is.

James Paxton7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Yes Paxton. YES. That’s two 11+ K games in three starts with 4 ER total in three games. 38/95 CSW. Effective curveballs (15/27 CSW!), strong heaters up at 96 mph … this start had it all. Yes, I’m starting him against the Red Sox, and especially against the Jays twice and Rangers to end the year. Let’s do this Pax.

Mike Montgomery5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Awesome work Monty, now do it again as you face the ChiSox next Tuesday and we’ll call it a season.

Dereck Rodriguez7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Whoa, 30/94 CSW here from D-Rop as he went 11/22 CSW on changeups alone. This isn’t something to expect consistently and to see him under 90 mph certainly isn’t a positive either. No thanks.

Lucas Sims2.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. We like the idea of Sims down the road. Not during spot starts where he wasn’t expected to go far and not during seasons where he doesn’t have a roster spot. Don’t waste more time than you already have on the Sims.

Julio Urias3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. As expected, Urias went three frames, with a full-on bullpen game after. I don’t think we’ll see stretched out Urias this year, and I’d look elsewhere for your squads.

Ty Blach5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Blach. You knew not to start him here and you didn’t anyway. Wait, I just followed what you said. Oh. Right. Good job. Thanks.

Ronald Bolaños6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ronald made his debut starting for the Padres, and he’s a Cup of Schmo but with some intrigue. 95 mph heat consistently – topped out at 98/99! – but his mechanics are too hasty and not consistent, often pulling himself open and speaks to the bottom tier of fastball command. Meanwhile, secondary stuff is a bit meh, with his curveball acting as the most potential whiff pitch, which could have good days, but again, his mechanics don’t speak to polish. Maybe over time, but this is so risky now.

Mike Clevinger7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Where should he be ranked for next season? Top 10 surely, right?

Wilmer Font1.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Font’s friend today was T.J. Zeuchwho went four innings of 2 ER ball and 4 Ks. TJZ sounds like the surgery everyone will go through in 25 years. I think I can leave it at this.

Chi Chi Gonzalez6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m staring at this line trying to formulate how to properly tell you to ignore it. It’s a glitch in the Matrix. An eradicated memory. No one will believe you.

Felix Hernandez3.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. The Prince needed 70 pitches for three frames and promptly left. He’s like the ninth prince in line at this point.

Jordan Lyles6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. This start certainly helps, and now with Houston out of the way, we can all sit back and enjoy Miami next Monday paired with the Cardinals over the weekend for a solid two-start week. Go for it.

Trevor Richards5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I imagine some chased Richards here, and it wasn’t a bad play at all against the Orioles. There’s a lot riding on the feel of his changeup on a given night and it could work against the Rangers, but there’s still risk involved even against such a struggling offense. Consider the add for next Tuesday, but it’s not a necessity. 

Ariel Jurado – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. It was weird seeing Edinson Volquez on the bill as an opener – what a wonderful reminder of his existence – then we were served Ariel, whose performance I have to give Under The C. Probably like an E. That’s not a letter grade. RIGHT?!

Gabriel Ynoa6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Ynoa what? You’re actually buying into Gabriel? What? No. Definitely no. I think tomorrow’s Denver Pitcher List Meetup is going to be the bestOh. Yeah, that’s all Gabriel is good for, letting y’all know to hang out with us in Denver.

Lewis Thorpe – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. The Randy Dobnak opened here as Gibson hit the IL, with Thorpe and his 90.5 mph fastball + mediocre slider came in after. I was going to make a joke with Thor, but I think you guys are above that. Lewis is a pretty clear Cup of Schmo.

Daniel Norris3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s a Norris + VerHagen party these days as the latter was more interesting once again with six Ks in 4.1 frames. JUST LET HIM START HIS OWN GAME. Yeesh.

Sandy Alcantara7.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Sure, it’s 4 ER, but a 1.00 WHIP and 7 Ks is a bit intriguing and now with a matchup against the Royals on Sunday, there may be something to chase here. Don’t write him off. The floor is low, but there is some upside to consider.

Jaime Barria4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Barria, please. Don’t.

Dylan Cease6.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. Hot Dang! Cease did a great job finding the zone with curveballs and sliders here, helping him elevate with four-seamers and earn 11 punchouts against the Indians. I’m still a little cautious given how the breakers aren’t this good, but it’s a reminder of the ceiling he brings to the table. Now against the Angels on Sunday, there are worse options to get some counting stats to secure a weekly win. And then the Mariners and Tigers? That’s a bit intriguing …

Jacob deGrom7.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna struggle against the Nationals. Not now, deGrom. Please, we want you to win that Cy Young and, you know, fantasy playoffs are a thing.

Mike Fiers5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Look at that, yet another failed attempt at a Quality Start from Fiers as he faced the Angels. With Houston next week, you may be tempted to drop, but the Rangers twice and Tigers after to close the year could work well. 

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Uggggh, I know it’s not a terrible floor, but Greinke, can you be a little better for the next three weeks? We need ya bud.

Max Scherzer6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna allow an annoying two-run shot to make this start plenty worse than it should be. He’s not at the levels of Justin Verlander/Gerrit Cole/deGrom quite yet (is that fair to say with deGrom performing worse last night?), but you’re starting him because duh.

Rick Porcello4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Not even The Thief could steal a good outing last night. Serves you right.


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


Trevor Williams vs. Miami Marlins – His opponent, Robert Dugger, isn’t the worst option out there, either, while there should be consideration for Jakob Junis against the Tigers as well.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Logan Webb vs. St. Louis Cardinals – I’d also consider Kolby Allard against the Orioles, though Webb has a little more depth in his repertoire. Elieser Hernandez against the Pirates ain’t so bad either.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Framber Valdez vs. Seattle Mariners – I’m dipping in for another shot here. There plenty of other options, including Joe Musgrove and his 94 mph velocity, Tyler Mahle against the Diamondbacks, and even Dillon Peters against the White Sox. Why not, let’s throw Brett Anderson against the Tigers in there as well.


Game of the Day


Trevor Bauer vs. Aaron Nola – Yes, I’ll be shaking with you.

(Photo by Will Powers/Icon Sportswire)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

9 responses to “Time to Kell”

  1. Nick says:

    Need one more pitcher the rest of the week… Do you have a favorite of those you mentioned?

  2. larry says:

    Would you start Bauer today?

  3. theKraken says:

    Man, you gotta give that DeGrom Cy campaign a rest. If he gets two in a row it will be a travesty IMO. Do you really think it is that meaningful for him to close a 4 month gap over the final month with expanded rosters on a non-playoff team?That is only possible because Max missed some starts, which doesn’t strengthen his performance at all. We live in a day and age where people like yourself and any FanGraphs headline have way too much influence. With great influence comes great something.

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