Which Ray Do I Go
(Photo by Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire)
We’ve been worried about Robbie Ray in the second half and after last night’s 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks performance against the Braves, those worries for Ray are disappearing with a 2.90 ERA with a 30.7% K rate and 1.21 WHIP across his last nine starts since July 25th. It’s the man you drafted and everything is lovely, right? His curveball has been vastly improved since his opening 11 games – 5.5 pVal in this lovely stretch after a negative mark prior – helping him bump his groundball rate eight points to 46.3% from 38.5%. I have to think the increase in grounders is paired with the plummeting HR/9 – 1.46 vs. 0.91 – but there are some problems. First, his ROS schedule is tough – @HOU, CHC, LAD – though I understand the argument that if Ray is dealing, it doesn’t really matter who he’s facing. The other cause of concern is that I’m seeing the same plate discipline marks across the board, if not worse. Nearly identical Hard/Soft contact rates (above 40%/below 15%) that raise concern, a higher walk rate at 14%, and a worse SIERA at 4.08 vs. his 3.64 mark prior. It all makes me feel like baseball is weird and your guess is as good as mine. At the end of the day, if you’re in need of strikeouts, Ray should be started, no question. If you’re in need of preserving ratios…good luck.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Chase De Jong – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. We don’t like Jongs. That’s why you don’t listen when someone tells you to chase one.
Andrew Heaney – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. Whoaaaaa, I know it was the ChiSox but DANG! His changeup has been missing for a good while and suddenly he found its feel in this game, earning 12/26 SNIP and 8 BIP on 80.6 Exit velocity with this pristine location. Beautiful stuff. It was one game, though, and a 34/96 CSW is wonderful but not something I can tell you will repeat down the stretch. He gets the Mariners, Athletics, and Rangers next and there’s still a decent amount of risk here.
Reynaldo Lopez – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. ReyLo was the initial Call Boy and he got upset and put me in my place with one of his best starts of the season. And sliders + curveballs combined for 10/105 pitches with 0 whiffs and 3 called strikes (6/9 SNIP on sliders though!). This was a heater/changeup focused outing and it worked a lot – 22/72 CSW on just four-seamers is crazy good and 38/105 overall is phenomenal. I think he got away with a little here and I still need to see that strong third option for me to get on board, but hey, this is sure something to be happy about. It’s a Cherry Bomb kind of play moving forward, proceed at your own risk.
Ryne Stanek – 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. More False Starts – this is getting super annoying – with Yonni Chirinos fishing it up with 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Ks, and 7 baserunners. No QS since he didn’t start, but the WHIP and Ks are cool, with his fourth win of the year. Not enough for me to chase, though.
Ian Kennedy – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh hey, Kennedy is back! And he kinda killed it. Killed his chances of doing it again. That doesn’t really work but the sentiment is the same.
Zach Davies – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Ehhhh it’s super boring and I don’t believe Davies to be much of a playoff savior. His stuff just isn’t that great while his command is spotty.
John Gant – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. This is the best start we’ll see from Gant. Be happy if you ran with it, though I’d suggest not depending on him to do it again.
Tyler Mahle – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. 74 pitches through three was enough to give Mahle the early hook and considering this was against the Padres, it would be silly to put faith in him against a legit opponent.
Corey Oswalt – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The False King does what improper royalty does – disappoint the nation.
Thomas Pannone – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I guess you’re happy with the ratios, but just two strikeouts on 19 outs has to raise red flags. This train is headed for the old creaky bridge and we’ve seen this movie before. Superman will come and save me? No Timmy, there is no Superman. Not even you? …I…um…no. *Sniff*
Erasmo Ramirez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. You want boring? You got boring. I see this line from Erasmo and think “yeah, this is what you’re hoping for” IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT!?
Touki Toussaint – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s not too pretty, but sitting at 2 ER and 5 Ks earns me the dub here. Streaming Record: 92-43. He only earned 1 whiff and 5/28 CSW on his deuce, which was a major catalyst for the five walks. I question the command not only in the short term, but also in the future from Touki, and I’d imagine if I weren’t so skeptical of ReyLo that I wouldn’t have chosen him as the Call Boy.
Tyler Anderson – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I really feel like Anderson should be better, but he’s just not giving me what I need to endorse him. Even with a good matchup in San Fran next, I have hesitation.
Mike Clevinger – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. A PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and 9 Ks is quite alright Clev. Yeah, I want the ER to fall just a little, but the rest is so nice that we’re cool.
Michael Fulmer – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. In typical Fulmer fashion, he tossed six shutout frames then fell apart in the seventh – Careful Icarus – allowing four singles – THREE INFIELD! – and a walk before getting the hook. So typical. He still doesn’t have his changeup and his slider was okay. I’m still in the camp to pack this up and reconsider once again in 2019.
Rich Hill – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. All four baserunners scored and Hill killed it otherwise. Keep letting him fly like an eaaaaagggllle.
Madison Bumgarner – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It was a wild series of events in Bumgarner’s sixth inning leading to a massive grand slam after hitting Ryan Braun. I still have my concerns about 2019 Bumgarner, but I think you keep starting him now.
Dallas Keuchel – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. The Sawx are no joke for a glorified Toby like Keuchel – I guess he’s just a normal Toby, isn’t he? – and the ROS of ARI, LAA, @TOR should be fine.
Vince Velasquez – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Bleeeegh. VV concluded an underwhelming 9.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Ks two-start week against the Marlins and Mets and he’s as Double Bubble as it gets. It was sweet before but why-oh-why are you still taking part in this?
Jacob Nix – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, okay, I get it. What I saw in his debut isn’t being replicated and he’s just a Young Gun, alright?
Josh Rogers – 1.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. You still don’t know who Rogers is. That’s fine. This will all be over soon.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Game of the Day
Adam Wainwright vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I’m not really going to watch much of this, but I’m more curious if Waino is any decent after such a long DL stint. I don’t expect much of anything – more of a straight answer of no to those considering him as a two-start option.