(Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire)
I didn’t think I’d find myself leading with Shohei Ohtani today (I rarely lead with a pitcher for two consecutive starts), but after hinting a perfect game in his excellent 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks afternoon, on top of the trio of HRs he’s hit thus far, I need to get in on the love. He earned the most impressive Gallows Pole of the year with 24 whiffs and it’s a ton of fun watching him carve up batters with near triple-digit heat and two excellent secondary pitches in his slider and splitter. The funny part here is that I’m still not going to be as high on him as others. Wow, so funny. One of the biggest reasons for my low ranking in the pre-season wasn’t the talent assessment, but more of the lack of faith in health. He pitched 25.1 innings in Japan last year as he holds an injury history + the fact he’s going to be taking part in plenty of hitter activities. Sell high. Please, just do it. Ohtani will not hit 20 Hrs, nor will he pitch over 160 innings this year. He’s having an incredible opening two weeks and that’s awesome, it’s wonderful for the game and it’s hard not to root for him. This is how you take advantage of sample size, don’t make yourself upset like you did holding Thames through the full 2017 season.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Mike Fiers – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh come off it Fiers. This is stupid and you know it’s stupid. Why are we throwing a Birthday Party when you don’t turn 40 until September?
Jason Hammel – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I have the perfect headline for those that are buying what Hammel is selling: “Jason and the Golden Fleece.”
Reynaldo Lopez – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. I watched a good amount of this one and while those five walks might get you a bit upset, I really loved what I saw. In the pre-season I talked about his curveball as the pitch that would get more whiffs than you thought, but today he showed up with a slide piece that did some work with 5 whiffs on 16 thrown. That will do just fine, paired with a heater averaging around 95mph. We barely saw his changeup in this one, though, and I imagine moving forward the fastball/slider/changeup combination will dictate close to a Top 50 performer. Yes, I like him more than Lucas Giolito right now and so should you. Streaming Record: 4-4.
Charlie Morton – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Atta boy Morton! Yeah it was the Padres and you barely touched your third pitch and whatever, you still got 15 whiffs and did your job. Just stay healthy and I’ll give you a bump on The List.
Sean Newcomb – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Is it terrible that I want to call this a “Durst“? I hate that I even have this line stuck in my head but all I can hear is “IT’S JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS!” I can see Newcomb having a handful of these a season – too many to consider calling this a Birthday Party – but too few and far between to actually talk without ridiculous terms. Newcomb is an upside streamer play, nothing more.
Jose Quintana – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s two solid starts from Quintana now after that opening blunder against the Marlins. He’s still great, y’all.
Jameson Taillon – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. You probably think Taillon has turned the corner that I’ve been preaching he’d turn since the start of 2017. In some ways he has, as he’s effectively spotting his fastball on both sides of the plate instead of nearly exclusively sitting arm side. That was one of two needed steps, the other being a changeup he commands effectively. Or even trusts often. Neither are the case as he threw it just 7 times in 110 pitches today. So I’m conflicted. Obviously happy because Taillon success = a wonderful thing, it’s just it’s making him look like a Top 20-25 guys thus far and I can’t fully buy that with him being a two-pitch pitcher. Just 7 whiffs in this outing as well kinda reinforce that point.
Ty Blach – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Is this what we’re going to do Blach? Bounce back and forth each start while never providing the strikeouts we truly need? That sounds like a terrible ride and I want no part of it.
Mike Clevinger – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I keep preaching that Clev needs to throw under 50% fastballs and today he threw…50% fastballs. Exactly. MAKE UP YOUR MIND CLEV. Still digging his schtick as he was hovering the 2:1 strikes per ball ratio that we all want to see. He did get a little Singled Out, but he made it work. No, he’s not going the way of Michael Fulmer, in case you were wondering.
Clayton Kershaw – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace, which is no surprise for TATIAGA. Weird to see only nine swings-and-misses, but whatever. This is why you get the big bucks.
Andrew Kittredge – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I know I said it last week, but does anyone else know of a Kittredge that isn’t from Mission: Impossible? I just want to angrily shout his name every time I see it.
Taijuan Walker – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah I guess this is okay. You still don’t have the repertoire to turn those 4 whiffs into 10 and double those Ks. Just don’t triple them, please.
Luke Weaver – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. “How is Weaver going to get strikeouts if he doesn’t miss bats?” WELL WHAT IF HE DOES? His four-seamer and changeup combined for all 14 whiffs, while his curveball didn’t get a single one with 22. Man, I totally thought the breaker would have been the result, but to see this as a really good day for that classic fastball/changeup combination makes me think this isn’t that sustainable. Bummer. Still like owning Weaver, but yeah.
Chase Anderson – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. The moment you’ve been waiting for. Anderson’s velocity was…91.7mph. With 5 whiffs. Yes, he’s falling a lot tomorrow, think mid-40s.
Jake Arrieta – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. 74 pitches from Arrieta, which could be a product of ramping up given his late signing…or Kaplering. I’m hoping it’s just the former and we’ll be seeing 6+ from Arrieta shortly.
Mike Wright – 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. If this is Wright, then I definitely want to be wrong.
Kyle Freeland – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s a VPQS for Freeland and that’s as positive as it gets for him. Yay.
Jaime Garcia – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, whatever Garcia. I guess he could act like a super discount Toby for a deep league, but I still don’t trust him for 12-teamers.
Matt Harvey – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Sorry Harvey, I wish your performances were as simple as flipping a coin, but that’s way too often for you to have success. It’s fitting that you’ve gone from The Dark Knight to Mr. Dent.
Trevor Richards – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Wait, he’s still pitching? Man, the Marlins really don’t have any other options, do they.
Eduardo Rodriguez – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I didn’t expect to see 92 pitches from Edu today, and while I’m not shocked at 3.2 frames, I am considering the leash he got. I watched a bit of this and loved his consistency with his changeup, while he barely touched his slider and missed plenty with his two-seamer. Still, a decent outing despite the high pitch count and I’m encouraged for his next start.
Jordan Montgomery – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Noooooo The Bear just isn’t where I expected him to be right now, throwing 34 breaking balls and just 2 whiffs as a result – remember, he was hinting 20% with curveballs and sliders last year! I’m not giving up on JorMont yet, but he has to take a hit tomorrow and that’s too bad. At least he threw around 30% changeups…
Tanner Roark – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. That’s more fours than The Last Jedi, especially when you see he had 14 whiffs across this one. A grand slam from Adrian Gonzalez accounted for all the Mets damage, but can you really bank on eight strikeouts and double-digit swings-and-misses from Roark moving forward? Didn’t think so.
Tyson Ross – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. We’re getting closer. Just two more starts and those 9 whiffs will exceed 15 and suddenly everyone is freaking out. We didn’t see this coming! This guy did. And some commenters too, I see you. Well okay fine, this hasn’t happened yet and I’m just making up hypothetical stuff in a few weeks, but Ross makes for a very intriguing stash – yes stash – right now. This wasn’t against the Stros too!
Kendall Graveman – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. If you started Kendall, you made a Grave Mistake.
Cole Hamels – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Ahhhh, there’s the Hamels we know and hate. Well, kinda because he still got 15 whiffs and makes me kinda intrigued moving forward still. I know, it’s weird but he struck out a ton before and he’s still missing bats. This might be more believable than you’d think.
Tyler Mahle – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Can’t say I’m too shocked about this, but it could have just been a bad day and he rebounds next time. I’m not ruling out that there is legit ability here, but he doesn’t look worth the risk right now.
Jake Junis vs. Seattle Mariners – I loved his two-seamer last time out and the Cruz-less Mariners could make for a good outing.
Homer Bailey vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I stared at this one for a long time and I don’t like any of them. I know the Phils just scored 20 runs, but I feel like Homer Bale can pull it off.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Nick Pivetta vs. Cincinnati Reds – He looked stellar last time out with fantastic breaking pitches and it’s possible it continues against a better offense.
Game of the Day
Jake Junis vs. Seattle Mariners – I’m curious if Junis’ two-seamer is the same, if his slider will be the pitch we saw last year, and if his curveball will make an appearance.