The Knock On Wood

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Alex Wood @ TEX (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

This was supposed to be the rebound game for Alex Woodyet his 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks performance told a different story. 10 Whiffs and 27% CSW don’t speak to dominance against a poor Rangers offense and the fragility of Wood’s 2021 success seems to be on proper display.

Sure, his 91.4 mph heater is a bit lower than what we want to see (we’re aiming for 92 mph on a given night) but the main story isn’t the heater, no, it’s the slider. Simply put, where was it? Wood featured the pitch just eight times, returning 25% CSW, taking a well-earned but totally not necessary vacation against the Rangers. Why does this matter? Well, it had been used 1/3 of the time with 36% CSW, a 43% O-Swing, 44% Zone rate, and a magical 23% SwStr clip before tonight. Yeah, it’s been elite and for the second straight start (1/27 whiffs last time!), it was an afterthought. A mint on the way out of the restaurant. Wood needs that breaker for relevancy and without it, he’s lost his fire, drifting between fantasy teams as he’s chucked to the wire. What else would you expect?


Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:


Walker Buehler @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Walker really is struggling with the strikeouts this year, huh. His secondary stuff isn’t complementing his heater like in the past, though I wonder if it’ll click for him at some point this year. For now, this start is still wonderful and let’s be happy for that. This does set the bar for the best Minimalist Score for the year at five, though.

Sonny Gray vs MIL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 50 pitches.

Sonny was looking solid and left early with a groin injury. Sigh. Poor guy. I imagine it’ll be an IL stint — not everyone is Kevin Gausman.

Matthew Boyd vs SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 97 pitches.

Soooo 5/30 slider whiffs is better…right?! He constantly located the pitch glove-side and down and it could be a sign of a step forward with the pitch. His changeup wasn’t the elite offering it was in the opening weeks, though, and we’re in a weird purgatory with Boyd, even if he performed well here (lol Seattle). Don’t start him against the ChiSox, but cross your fingers for more slider whiffs.

Zach Davies @ SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

Davies has a shot at success only when his changeup is on fire and that’s exactly what it was here, with 9/29 whiffs. He still needed a good amount of luck, though, and y’all know you can’t depend on that. Happy Birthday Party, Davies.

Andrew Heaney vs KC (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 109 pitches.

Jeeeeez Heaney, that’s 18 whiffs on 75% four-seamers. I get it, you didn’t have your changeup or curveball, but that’s simply crazy talk. Imagine if he actually had those secondaries working…shudders. He’s the ultimate Cherry Bomb and we can’t forget that label, making him far from a lock to start against the Athletics next. It’s awfully tempting, though.

Robbie Ray @ CWS (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 13 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 102 pitches.

Hot dang! ChiSox, Marlins, IT DOESN’T MATTER. Ray went two-pitch in this one via four-seamers and sliders, executing the BSB we dreamed of for Ray, fully working that slider to its fullest as he separated fastballs and breakers. It’s time we stop worrying about the long ball and trust the dang man.

Framber Valdez @ BOS (W) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 96 pitches.

I forced myself to be “conservative” ranking Framber this week and what does he do? Why, replicate his excellence against the Red Sox, of course. Cool to see him in rhythm with a changeup as well at 23% usage for 36% CSW as Framber shows zero signs of relapsing to his 2019 self. This is the only time I’ll say it: It looks like 2020 again and that’s a wonderful thing.

Jordan Lyles vs SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 100 pitches.

Ehhhh it feels like a Birthday Party with the way his slider nor curveball earned 30% CSW or more than three whiffs. Without a major indication those breakers can be there, Lyles isn’t the streamer you’re looking for.

Jon Lester @ TB (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.

Lester just isn’t worth your time. I wonder if you even knew he pitched tonight before reading this. No? That’s totally fine, seriously, it’s okay. You’re better off.

Tyler Glasnow vs WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 27 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 114 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Gallows Pole. Sorry Glasnow, you’re no Patrick SandovalBut seriously, the slider was dope and makes us feel dope. Wild to see Glasnow up to 114 pitches these days. Don’t expect that to stick.

Shane Bieber @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It’s not the relentless slaughter we want from Bieber, but we’ll take it. Still no sight of that cutter from 2020. I guess this is the new Bieber, who features curveballs and sliders inside the zone for strikes.

Adrian Houser @ CIN (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

This is solid work from Houser as he’s now allowed just two ER across his last three starts. The biggest change? His curveball stepping up, earning 30%+ CSW in each outing. Weird to see Houser have success with anything outside his sinker and it makes me wonder if the hook makes Houser worthwhile against the Pirates next. That could be a sneaky stream.

Carlos Rodón vs TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. His average fastball velocity has peaked once again, nearly averaging 97 mph through this one. Remember, we got excited when he started the year averaging 94.5 mph. He had peaked two months ago and is now peaking again, two ticks higher. THE MAD MAN.

Michael Pineda vs NYY (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 76 pitches.

Pineda didn’t have his great slider and he labored because of it. It could have been worse and let’s be happy he was able to be pretty dang neutral. The forearm injury could still be bothering him and with Houston next, it’s a question of “do we stash for TEX + CLE after or send him back to the wire now?” That’s your call.

Drew Smyly @ PHI (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 80 pitches.

Did it work? The man failed to earn a strikeout across thirteen outs (HAISTFMFWT?!), walked three, and earned just a 13% CSW. Sooooo…no? No, Jerry. No.

Bruce Zimmermann vs NYM (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 90 pitches.

Hey, this is pretty dang good. A solid amount of high heaters + changeups down & sliders for strikes = plenty to deal with the replaceMets. He gets Cleveland next and while I’m not scouring my wires for him, there are worse streams to consider.

Pablo López vs COL (W) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.

It’s what you want in a glorious Rockie Road matchup for PabLó. What a wonderful gift as he was pushed to today instead of facing the Sawx yesterday. His curveball was solid as it landed in the zone, his cutter jammed lefties constantly, and the changeup + fastball were great as usual. This is prime Pabló.

Chris Bassitt vs ARI (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 88 pitches.

Ayyy Bassitt rebounded from his 4 ER game last week against Seattle as he earned…five whiffs, but pounded the zone with sinkers and that’s apparently good enough. Well, he also needed his changeup to go 43% CSW + earn some outs, but yeah, this was standard “Imma throw some sinkers” Bassitt. Glad it worked today and it probably should against the Royals next, too.

JT Brubaker vs LAD (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 80 pitches.

Coffee Cakes couldn’t quite pull it off against the mighty Dodgers and let’s not judge him too harshly for it. He gets the Brewers + Cleveland + Cardinals next and he should be worth your attention through all of it.

Jordan Montgomery @ MIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

He served us a Philly, but I’m encouraged moving forward as both his changeup and curveball did wonderful things. Stupid cutter being pretty mediocre (0/11 CSW, but some decent strikes). It’s @TOR, OAK, @BOS up next for The Bear and that’s a tough call. I’m likely benching for Toronto and taking it from there.

David Peterson @ BAL (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 69 pitches.

Peterson, I’m not sure I can do this anymore. Streaming Record: 40-27. To put it bluntly, he was too hittable. His heaters need to be along the edges for this to work and I should have been harsher in a start against a hot Orioles offense.

Dinelson Lamet vs CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 78 pitches.

On one hand, he went finally five frames and earned a King Cole. On the other, that’s a 7.20 ERA and a Dusty Donut. It’s still crazy how good that slider is — 51% CSW across 47% usage — and you should be stoked he’s hovering 80 pitches now…but it’s Coors + LAD + @CIN next. Why does this have to happen now that he finally gets the volume. WHY.

Jon Duplantier @ OAK (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 65 pitches.

Yeaaaaah. I don’t think he quite has the stuff we’re looking for. It’s a 91 mph fastball and a pair of breakers that went 0/17 on whiffs. Oh no. Yeah.

Aaron Nola vs ATL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 89 pitches.

Aces gonna…make us consider his AGA label. The difficult schedule continues and won’t let up with the Dodgers next as Nola’s curveball failed to work its magic — just 21% CSW, pulling down the whole repertoire. The good news is that he still earned seven strikeouts and should be a strong arm through the end of the year, but this is a bad moment. I feel like there’s one more bad start ahead vs. LAD and then he’s Scot-free. I’m buying low where I can — Nola does this at times, and this will normalize over the full year.

Antonio Senzatela @ MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.

Whoa, eight strikeouts! Ahhh right, right, the Marlins. Then why are your ratios so bad? YOU CAN’T EXPLAIN THAT. Career-endingly poor jokes aside, Senz-A was borderline productive in the best matchup he could dream of. That should tell you enough.

Marco Gonzales @ DET (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 71 pitches.

Whoa whoa whoa, didn’t anyone tell Marco he was facing the Tigers?! I feel like that was crucial information. The secondary stuff was poor as Marco wasn’t looking like his 2020 self. Now with the Twins next, I’d rather take a shot at what the wire holds.

Carlos Martínez vs CLE (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 71 pitches.

Blegh. I can imagine some looking at last week’s 0.2 IP, 10 ER apocalypse and expecting a full recovering against mediocre Cleveland and in some ways, you were right. Well, one way via seven strikeouts, but the man just doesn’t have the consistency he used to carry. I don’t want this against @CHC + @ATL next.

Martín Pérez vs HOU (L) – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 12% CSW, 59 pitches.

I know he was able to handle Houston before, but you were playing with fire if you felt Pérez could do it again. The man earned zero whiffs and 12% CSW, and let’s all just be glad it’s over. That was tough to watch.

Kris Bubic @ LAA (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

Welp, the fun run Bubic has been on has hit a firm wall as he’s continued to struggle with his command. Too many hittable heaters and changeups = too many balls you don’t want in play. Be patient here and leave him on the wire until he takes a true step forward.


Game of the Day 


Tony Gonsolin vs Pittsburgh PiratesHe’s making his season debut and I’m dying to see where he’s at.


But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.


Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

7 responses to “The Knock On Wood”

  1. Ross says:

    I assume you’d still hold Wood though? Perhaps a bench against the lefty-mashing Nats this weekend?

    Could drop for Skubal or Kikuchi if he’s pitching.

  2. Bbboston says:


    Aayyy….. you are a cherry bomb ranker…… your staff even wrote a complimentary piece on the guy, substantiating his skills. It’s time… give Bassitt his due : AGA, and admit he’s been good for just too long for it to be otherwise.

    • theKraken says:

      The staff is like 800 writers – they write a complimentary piece on most guys! For me, he needs to do this for an entire season for me to care much about it. Hes not an ace. The lowering of bars has to stop at some point or everyone is a champion.

      • Bbboston says:

        Take all of last three years stats and tell
        Me what you see……

        Ps: The cherry bomb comment was simply a joke…. I pretty much ageee with all of Nick’s opinions.

  3. Chucky says:

    Alzolay and his two starts on Monday. Sonny and his two starts on Tuesday. How I hate this gahdamn game.

  4. PitcherList Superfan says:

    Nick – Is Wood a drop at this point? I guess it depends on our own individual situations, but man, he’s looked bad recently. I currently own Bieber, Rodon, Fried, Framber, Manaea and Rich Hill. Would you drop Wood for a streaming pitcher spot?

  5. Eric Knowles says:

    Hey Nick, the daily jabs at the Mariners are getting old LOL. They are hitting much better recently and a 1/3 of MLB clubs are striking out more than M’s last 2 weeks. A pitcher does well against the M’s, give the man his due, I’m a Mariner’s fan and it shows up every day here in the Roundup. They are hitting better, they had to, right? I’m already having to deal with the Kelenic demotion, I don’t need a wonderful writer such as yourself rubbing my team in :) Thanks!

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