A PabLo Blow

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

I’ve been pumping a lot of helium into Pablo Lopez and things aren’t going exactly as I hoped. Against a good Braves offense, Lopez disappointed us with 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks, running into the longball for the second straight start. I’m a bit conflicted here. On one hand, Lopez did a great job with his changeup, earning 12 strikes on 15 thrown and I think with his 93-95mph fastball, he can be successful. Ian Post wrote a fantastic GIF Breakdown about Lopez this week, definitely check in there to get a better sense of what Lopez can do. His curveball and fastball command are a bit off, though. The breaker isn’t as sharp as I remember from 2018, while his fastball isn’t nipping the corners and biting into right-handers as heavily. To be fair, he threw an excellent deuce to Ronald Acuna that was taken yard and you just have to tip your cap to the ROY winner. So what do you do with Lopez? Well, he heads to Cincy next, where I want to say it’s longball haven, but that Reds offense has looked horrid and you might be safe. If you see strong options on the wire, I’m okay making the swap for now – I don’t think people will be running to get Lopez and you can play the “wait and see” game. I still think he’s destined for a sub 4.00 ERA this year – he’s not a 4.50 ERA pitcher – but without the fastball location and sharper curveball, it’s getting harder to envision him escalating the ranks quickly.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Jack Flaherty5.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. He was a bit wild in this one, but his breaker is just too good. 94.5mph on his heater works for me and any doubt you had about Flaherty previously should dissolve into the air like a shadow of Stannis Baratheon. You’re excited too? SO PUMPED.

Kevin Gausman7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Jeez Gausman, you’ve been watching your Toby friends get demolished, but you return in full glory for your first start of the year. Gausman did a great job of pound heaters arm-side all night – he actually had just one pitch on the outer third ALL GAME. Seriously, just one, and it was a slider. Meanwhile, his splitter stayed low and it churned outs and Ks. This is prime Gausman, even if it was a middling 31% CSW (good, but not great). The Marlins aren’t the best litmus test for success, though, and I’d sell high if someone has it bad for Gaus. 

Tyler Glasnow6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I was out on Glasnow. I didn’t believe his fastball command would be good enough this year to warrant the strikeout upside. And here’s the thing…I’m still out. The Giants are bad against strong heaters (y’all remember Velasquez last year, right? This team isn’t much different) and he wasn’t placing them up like he wanted to. Meanwhile, only a handful of secondary pitches found their way under the zone, making all the tunneling and pitch mix out of whack. Sell high, please. He found a lot of the plate tonight and wasn’t incredibly wild (at least in-and-out, but wasn’t locked in north-and-south, so many pitches sat middle-middle), but this isn’t a man polished with his stuff. You won’t regret it.

Joe Musgrove7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Mmmmmmmm this is lovely. The first start of the year from Musgrove and he demolished the struggling Reds offense. 33/88 CSW is great, 32% sliders is superb, but there is a problem. BUT NICK. We can’t ignore 91.2mph on his four-seamer and sub 90mph on his sinker, can we? Musgrove held a 93mph mark across 19 starts last season and a 2mph drop is something to be aware of. Maybe it was the impetus for his increased slider usage, I’m not sure. It clearly didn’t slow him down today, but it does give me hesitation that Musgrove will continue to succeed against stronger offenses. Then, of course, maybe he’s ramping up and improves his velocity in future starts. Don’t do anything different now, just monitor it.

Zack Godley5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Ha! So begins another season of wondering if we can believe in Godley or not. Think about that sentence, do you really want to deal with that? Exactly, you don’t, even if this was the Red Sox. Props to him for spotting his curveball in this one, though. Little props for the 23% CSW on his cutters and fastballs, though.

Sonny Gray6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. HE DID IT! Kinda! Against a terrible offense! I’ve had too much coffee! Gray struggled with his slider, but his deuce got the job done and he found the plate with his heater. Against a poor Pirates lineup, I’m hesitant to buy Sonny back. Sorry man, you weren’t given a TIARA before and I need to be blown away by your repertoire to buy back in.

Kenta Maeda5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. This was a tough call for owners. Do we toss Maeda out there in Coors and live to see another day? The answer was…Um…yes, I guess? The 1.60 WHIP hurts but the 1.80 ERA makes everything fine. The strikeouts are take-it-or-leave-it, so we’re going to just shrug our shoulders and get on with it.

Nick Margevicius5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. This guy is living the wild life right now. One strikeout and only two baserunners in 15 outs? The mad lad. It’s like Ramirez found a new Nick to take over. You’re next. WHO SAID THAT?!

Collin McHugh6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks.  It’s not sexy, but this helps across the board. That sounds like McHugh, alright. He’ll have some lovely moments sprinkled in and that’s cool.

Felix Pena4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey look at that, Pena being exactly who we thought he was as a streaming option last year. Don’t get too deep into those Ks, though, there’s a whole lot of short starts and terrible ratios to make you wonder why you chased such a pretty thing.

Shane Bieber6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Man, this was something. Bieber rarely touched arm-side all game, while sitting up-and-glove-side all night, jamming lefties and sailing away to right-handers. Meanwhile, he spotted so many sliders perfectly down and under the zone, earning 11/31 whiffs. Not CSW, whiffs. 37/91 CSW is glorious and while I recognize that the Jays are a terrible offense, Bieber earned this performance. And look, two walks! He didn’t give in to batters. This is everything we wanted in his debut and he deserves a bump on Monday. Congrats on the Gallows Pole with 19 swinging-strikes, by the way.

Lance Lynn7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Dang Lynn, you’re doing your best to get out of Texas before August arrives. Good luck, I’m definitely not putting my chips on Lynn lynning more than his lyoses. That didn’t work. YOU DIDN’T WORK.

Frankie Montas5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Let’s talk about that new splitter – the most inconsistent secondary pitch out there. Just 4/20 CSW with a ton spiked into the dirt, wasted away and effectively telling batters “hey, I’m not going to throw this pitch again this at-bat.” That’s a bad thing, especially when his slider isn’t that great. So Montas relied on his heater and it did get him out of trouble – a 2.00 WHIP with just 2 ER should tell you that – but this outing should tell you the problems with Montas. I think he’ll be hovering the 50s/60s all year as I just don’t see an arm that can take the leap we want him to.

Trent Thornton5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. The Indians are bad. Thornton is decent. This worked out, but I’m not a fan of his overall stuff. He’s incredibly raw with fastballs all over the place, a decent changeup, decent breaker, but nothing well commanded. Thing is, the Indians didn’t have Lindor or JoRam in this one. Yeesh. This isn’t the young arm you’re looking for. Streaming Record: 5-3.

Nick Pivetta5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I can sum this one up pretty quickly. Pivetta threw 35 breaking balls – sweet! We want 35-40% breakers! – and earned 7 CSW (20%) on them. Ouch. His slider was hung a ton and his curveball did earn outs, but rarely fell under the zone. His fastball, meanwhile, was all over the place. Some up, some down, some I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT’S GOING. You’re going to see a drop on Pivetta on Monday. Maybe he fixes it, maybe he doesn’t. Seeing someone like Freeland or Bieber behind him just doesn’t make sense to me and a change needs to be made. I’m still hoping for the breakout we think his stuff speaks to, but his command is just not there.

Yusei Kikuchi5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Kikuchi’s start was completely ruined by Tim Beckham committing three errors before Kikuchi faced his fourth batter. I’m not worried as an owner, though I understand the concern for production through the year after the Mariners have stated that they expect to give Kikuchi a break about once per month. Honestly, treat that like it’s a bad matchup and don’t worry about it. He’ll help when he starts and it’ll add up to 150+ innings in the end (he even gave you a free start in Japan!), innings that you’ll get in full when you do start him and not spread out across more starts and that’s just fine with me.

Jake Odorizzi0.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. If you’re new to fantasy baseball, let Odorizzi be a lesson to you. His first start was unreal, his second was trash. This is a true Cherry Bomb and it’s why we can’t put a ton of stock in early pitching performances if we don’t trust the underlying skills. Jake, you’ll have some great outings ahead of you, but you got the Phillies and this is the will of the Lord of Light. Wait, if you abbreviate that… Yes, I’m laughing, too.

Dereck Rodriguez5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. This is why I don’t like chasing low strikeout guys in general. He didn’t pitch so poorly – 0 walks and seven hits on a given night is fine – it’s just there isn’t enough here for me to feel “oh, I got something out of it even though the ERA was terrible.” D-Rop just isn’t the guy you’re looking for. 

Brandon Woodruff4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Hmmmm. We got the strikeouts as Woodruff stayed up with heat, but his slide piece also stayed up. That’s not how this works. The few changeups he threw weren’t bad, but it really comes down to that slider to stay down in the zone or you’re going to see a lot of this. Moving forward, this was the Cubs and the Angels should be easier. Hold, please.

Tyler Anderson4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I remember the days when we liked Anderson and his 12% swinging-strike rate. The past can be a wonderful place.

Reynaldo Lopez5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeeeeeeeesh. I talk about his slider/changeup command and it was just bad yesterday. 1/30 whiffs on the two pitches combined is a lost, lost man. I’d remove Reynaldo from my squad and go after other options. He might do well next time, but unless I see those two pitches succeeding heavily, I need to see a few starts in a row before choosing him over Spice Girls. No, I’m not changing that name, sorry y’all. We’re all in this together.

Rick Porcello4.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Look at these two guys down here. Look at them. You don’t want this. Porcello and Quintana both are ratio-focused arms that just don’t present the upside that you want. You’re sitting at your computer staring at all of these exciting young arms and wondering if you’re doing the wrong thing by holding onto these “trusted veterans.” Don’t. Purge yourself and believe in your ability to find someone else if the first pickup doesn’t work. Porcello and Quintana will not win you your leagues. That guy on the waiver wire might, though.

Jose Quintana3.0 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Look at them. You don’t want this. Porcello and Quintana both are ratio-focused arms that just don’t present the upside that you want. You’re sitting at your computer staring at all of these exciting young arms and wondering if you’re doing the wrong thing by holding onto these “trusted veterans.” Don’t. Purge yourself and believe in your ability to find someone else if the first pickup doesn’t work. Porcello and Quintana will not win you your leagues. That guy on the waiver wire might, though. Sidenote: These two blurbs remind me of that old Colorado Rockies blurb I’d use for every start before Gray, Marquez, and Freeland showed up. Those were the days…

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.

Lucas Giolito vs. Seattle Mariners – Very few options here and I’ll go with Giolito after he excelled in the zone with his secondary pitches and featured improved velocity.  Please forgive me, but I’m changing this to Kyle Wright vs. Miami MarlinsI like Wright’s strikeout upside more and he faces a weaker offense. Giolito is close behind, but this is a better pick.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Domingo German vs. Baltimore Orioles – The O’s are not that good, right? If you’re looking for a Sunday Win to put you over the edge for the week, consider Brad Keller against the Tigers or Wade LeBlanc against the ChiSox as well.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Marco Estrada vs. Baltimore OriolesIt’s this or Lauer against the Giants. Shudders. I have to choose one, but you don’t.


Game of the Day


Sandy Alcantara vs. Kyle Wright – Well this is all kinds of fun, isn’t it?


(Photo by Juan Salas/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 “A PabLo Blow”

  1. Perfect Game says:

    Are you benching Buehler against Colorado?

    • Frankie says:

      If you drafted WB you prob spent a high pick. You have to use him regardless of matchup. He has Ace upside and Rockies don’t scare me. Yet.

  2. DJ Pink Koolaid says:

    Where are Turnbull, disco, and giolito going to rank on your list monday

  3. Michael T says:

    The ball was so wet,
    Only two outs did he get.
    But I K’d Harper!

    No grip/feel for the wet ball, he said: https://twitter.com/DanHayesMLB/status/1114528744021139456

    Nick, thanks for writing these daily roundups! I especially like the bits about command/location and changes to pitch mix when one pitch isn’t working. It’s really helpful to know more about an outing beyond just the final line in the box score.

    • Clay Cotton says:

      Yeah, Odorizzi looked super frustrated with the weather. Just from what the TV cameras covered, he was constantly fiddling around trying to get his hands dry. There was one time he came set and the batter (Odubel?) asked for time and he looked seriously upset about that.

      Not a free pass by any means, but a possible explanation for why it took him 40 pitches to get 2 outs.

  4. Tim says:

    after that start, would you drop Lopez beneath teammates Richards and Alcantara?

  5. Jj says:

    Early but M Moore looking good again

  6. Frankie says:

    Is F Montas a HOLD for next week’s matchup vs BAL? Or would you eject now for something equal in value, like a K Wright, K Merrill, Turnbull or possibly even a Luzardo stash?

  7. Chaco says:

    Need an SP in a deep NL until some guys come off the IL.

    Margevicius or Lyles?

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