A Folly of Richards

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

I’m not going to draw this out longer than it has to. Garrett Richards tossed just two innings in his previous start, struggling to nail the command of his pitches. Now with a better matchup against the Mariners, Richards couldn’t escape the first inning, resulting in 0.2 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks and an easy decision to make.

Yes we’re dropping him. He was before yesterday but this date with the Mariners chartered a new course to the virgin seaaaaa…But I’ve got to be free. Free to face life, that’s ahead of me. One without Richards.

He couldn’t put his slider where he wanted, his fastballs were down the middle, and now with the Angels ahead, the risk just isn’t worth the reward. I’m sorry Garrett, you’re just a mere Cherry Bomb at best and I just can’t endure that right now.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Clayton Kershaw @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Aces gonna ace, expected for TATIAGA, of course. Just five whiffs is super strange, though, with his slider returning only 20% CSW as it failed to land under the zone per usual. Expect more strikeouts next time and things are fine – 91.2 mph fastball velocity works for me.

Kwang Hyun Kim vs PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Kim is showing off his ability to be a solid Toby and that’s cool with me. Sure, the Pirates n all, but he’s working the edges, featuring sliders for strikes, and chugging along with grace.

Cody Ponce @ STL (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Sir Ponce made his first start and I was impressed with his cutter nailing the outside corner to right-handers, but that pitch would work better middle-in to lefties, and to righties…that’s a little too elevated for my tastes. Still, he threw effective four-seamers at 93 mph and it was fine. I’m sorry to give him the Cup of Schmo label but you really shouldn’t consider this.

Sonny Gray @ MIL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Aces gonna ace. Still not the unreal super stud of the first few weeks, but I’ll take this bounce back after last week’s meh.

Wade Miley @ MIL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW. The cutter is doing great things again, returning 36% CSW as he turned to it over half the time and it made a nightmare for right-handers. He only lasted 64 pitches as the Reds are being a little careful with him at the moment and until I see 85+, I think we wait to consider Miley a proper Toby again.

Caleb Ferguson @ SF (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 20% CSW. We found out that Walker Buehler was dealing with a blister and placed on the IL before his expected start. Way to step in and be good, Ferguson. One step closer to getting SP/RP value for those stacking middle relievers.

Chad Kuhl @ STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW. For a guy with a really good slider, it’s a bit shocking to see just 3/30 whiffs with it & a HAISTFMFWT?!especially without a single punchout through five. Whatever, it worked – Streaming Record: 18-17 – but I’m not as optimistic that this will stick around as before. I was really leaning on that slider getting more whiffs than it has been as nothing else is worth a sandwich.

Ljay Newsome @ SD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 34% CSW. I wasn’t expecting much, but I did like seeing curveballs for strikes, changeups falling down-and-away from lefties, and a constant presence around the zone. I don’t think there’s enough to latch onto longterm, though, and I wouldn’t risk him if he gets another start down the road.

Johan Oviedo vs PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW. Here’s Oviedo again and I still think his stuff ain’t bad at all, but his fastball command was all over the place, serving up a HAISTFMFWT?! against the buckos. This could have been plenty worse if he faced a different squad and I’d hold off if he gets more opportunities.

Kevin Gausman vs LAD (L) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Get him out of San Francisco for the love of Rose. He’s executing the “BSB so well, but facing the Dodgers and now Coors next just isn’t fair. His heater is still 95+ with a ton of whiffs on splitters that stayed down because that’s what he does now. Here’s to hoping he moves over the weekend before that Coors outing. I’d pick him up now if you have a free spot just in case.

Josh Lindblom vs CIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW. We’re still waiting for his slider to do wondrous things and while it did return 60% CSW, it was 2/10 whiffs. That’s a good SwStr rate, just only 10 thrown makes you shrug a bit. His four-seamer is continuing to decline in velocity – now 89.6 mph – and sadly I’m still out. If that velocity creeps back up and he can have a foundation of fastballs/sliders with splitters, cutters, and curveballs mixed in, then we’re talking. I wouldn’t expect it before 2021, though.

Dinelson Lamet vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Aces gonna allow 3 ER and hold a poor WHIP but lug home a King Cole as Professor Chaos strikes once again. Against the Mariners? Really? Oddly enough, he held a 42% CSW on four-seamers in this one, as the Mariners elected to take many of his low fastballs, but pummeled the rest. Whatever, you keep starting him, of course.

Yusei Kikuchi @ SD (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSWHis cutter was dope and fastball velocity touched 98 mph in this one. Its command wasn’t what I wanted to see with too many pitches low in the zone, but it’s good to see Kikuchi making me excited again after that little lull we saw when he was dealing with a stiff neck. Now just get that fastball elevated and you’re GOLDEN.

Adrian Houser vs CIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW. Man, Houser really didn’t have his sinker working tonight. He missed it low and arm-side throughout the entire game, leaning on sliders to steal strikes more than usual. Houser has been a bit of a disappointment, but I think he’s still worth holding onto for the Tigers next.

Logan Webb vs LAD (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Webb deserves better than the Giants’ schedule. So does Gausman, but we all know by now there’s some legit value there. Webb? He’s doing his best but the waves of offenses keep battering this shore. Nature is a brutal thing. Maybe there’s a sneaky trade at the deadline that gives Logan some time and that solid changeup & heater combination can do things.


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.



Tyler Anderson vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I was 50/50 with Brubaker and Anderson and now I get both! Sweet. Tyler’s CSW rates have been spectacular lately and the Diamondbacks are meh.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


JT Brubaker vs. Milwaukee Brewers – I think his slider is solid, his command is good, and that sinker can earn outs – This start was pushed back to Saturday for those confused. Tyler Mahle is another option as he gets the Cubs.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Alex Young vs. San Francisco Giants It’s in Arizona, Young has a great changeup and curveball that could show up, and there isn’t another clear choice. Let’s roll the die again.


Game of the Day


Zac Gallen vs. Tyler Anderson – We’re Gallen Gals & I would love to see Tyler Anderson showcase a 35% CSW again.



(Photo by Larry Radloff/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.

2 responses to “A Folly of Richards”

  1. Greg says:

    Regarding Kikuchi: 2.71FIP, 3.44xFIP, 4.04SIERA. He’s been decreasing his HH% and FB%, increasing GB%, limiting HR and barrels… there must be a breakout imminent right?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Feels like he’s going through one, all thanks to that cutter and pushing up his fastball velocity.

      I feel weird using FIP/SIERA, etc. right now though. It’s all super small sample. The more important indicators are approach/execution and if it fits with success or not.

      He’s on the right track and I hope he keeps that velocity and cutter while improving on fastball command,

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