A Sho of Force

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Shohei Ohtani vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 78 pitches.

I think it’s about time we talked about the run Shohei Ohtani is on after cruising through the Tigers via 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It feels weird giving him the lead with just six whiffs and 26% CSW, but whatever, his slider was way better than previous starts with 47% CSW, his fastball was back to 96 mph…but was a bit all over the place for just 7% CSW and only 43% strikes, and his splitter was good, not great. But it’s the Tigers!

Anyway, it wasn’t Shohei’s best start, but the run he’s on, well it’s pretty remarkable. That’s 11 ER across his last seven starts, with two walks or fewer in five of his last six. The fastball/splitter combo has been the biggest catalyst for success and seeing the slider get work done in this work should suggest an improved floor. But most importantly, he’s still pitching. It’s a magnificent thing and we’re going to keep starting him for as long as he’s around. Enjoy the Rays next.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Joe Musgrove vs CIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.

It’s just two strikeouts, but given how Musgrove hasn’t been super great lately, I’ll take seven shutout frames. Just 19% CSW on his slider is weird. The tough schedule continues, sadly, with LAD + @CIN next, but I’m here to brave it with you. You gots this, Musgrove.

Justin Dunn vs TB (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 30 pitches.

Dunn left this one with a shoulder injury, and I feel weird giving myself a loss in this one as I 1) labeled it “Do Not Start” and 2) it didn’t hurt anyone who started him. Can I just ignore it? I’ll have Twitch Chat decide tomorrow morning. Anyway, if you were rostering Dunn, you should stop doing that. He’s too banged up right now.

Kyle Hendricks @ NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

Ayyyy there’s the start I’ve been waiting for from Hendricks! The man has been meh in the ERA and strikeout department lately, and it’s wonderful to see his changeup and curveball work again. He’ll get a bump next week as Cleveland + Milwaukee is ahead.

Germán Márquez vs MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 83 pitches.

It sure isn’t the sexiest Márquez start, but as long as it isn’t ghastly, we’re thrilled. Slider was there, curve not so much, and now he heads to Seattle. Don’t worry, be happy.

Charlie Morton vs STL (W) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 112 pitches.

The Marlins were trouble, but the Cardinals? Pfffft, that’ll be one share of the Gallows Pole please. It was more of the same — curveballs and fastballs — but I’m happy to see 12/12 strikes on cutters as well. That’s what’s up. He gets the Mets next and I’m so very game.

T.J. Zeuch vs NYY (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 65 pitches.

I know I’ve made the TJZ = a cyborg TJS surgery in the future joke before, BUT I CAN’T HELP MYSELF. It just sounds so cool and what all the kids are doing. It’s Z for Zawesome.

Marcus Stroman vs CHC (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 92 pitches.

Stroman is doing everything he can to earn an AGA label as his splitter and slider were both on tonight. Sinker earned strikes as well and that’s all you needed against the Cubs. Atlanta is next and we’re going to keep cruising along here.

Matt Manning @ LAA (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 77 pitches.

I watched this one and if you didn’t, make sure to check out Ben Palmer’s fantastic GIF Breakdown. In short, I didn’t love the heater (he ramped it up to 95/96, but averaged 94 mph) enough to ignore the lack of a strong secondary pitch. The curveball is supposed to be more than what it was and for those who have him on the bench, he’ll be in the “Questionable” tier for his next start against the Cardinals. I don’t love it, but at least he’ll be past 80 pitches and his fastball is decent enough to shove success. And hey, maybe the secondary stuff shows up? As for those wondering if he’s carrying a legit ceiling this year, I don’t quite see it right now. He’s just a fringe starter at the moment who could be more if the slider, curveball, or changeup show up in a big way.

Wade Miley @ SD (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 102 pitches.

The man is gunning for the Spider-Man award and all I want to do is be forced to give it to him. That’s just six ER across his last five starts now and after taking down the Padres, you have to think he can do it against the Twins.

José Urquidy vs CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 93 pitches.

Mmmmm you love to see it. Urquidy went to a three-pitch mix here with his changeup earning outs and fastball + slider racking up whiffs. It’s great to see Urquidy be able to change his game plan each time given the depth of his repertoire, loosening his requirements for a strong outing. Now with Baltimore + Detroit next, the gifts should keep on coming.

Kevin Gausman vs ARI (W) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden Goal despite a somewhat low 34% CSW mark (for the leader, that is). The man can’t be stopped these days as his splitter went 14/31 whiffs. That’s just stupid.

Michael King @ TOR (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 60 pitches.

The man is a sinkerballer and did he best to stave off the rough Jays lineup, earning just one strikeout on the way. One strikeout?! HAISTFMFWT?! This isn’t the King you’re looking for.

Eli Morgan vs BAL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 67 pitches.

Hey, five strikeouts and 36% CSW ain’t so bad! I don’t really buy it over six frames in the future but maybe he’ll earn himself a Birthday Party one of these days if they keep letting him pitch with that kitchen-sink approach. This is way better than the debut — good for him.

John Gant @ ATL (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 82 pitches.

That marks 15 ER across his last three starts. Regression is like the waves on an Irish shore. It hits hard and doesn’t stop.

Rich Hill @ SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

Hmmm, that’s two straight starts of disappointment, the first a bit understandable given how hot the Orioles have been against lefties, but the Mariners? Seriously? His fastball and curveball performed up to snuff, but a few hangers were “oh dangers” as Seattle banged em. Dangers? Like my middle name? No no no, Dang-ers. Anyway, Hill gets Boston next, and now the tough decisions come. Leave it to fantasy baseball for Hill to perform well then and I wouldn’t rule it out. He’s still doing Rich things, it just didn’t work out today.

Zac Gallen @ SF (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 58 pitches.

Soooo this was a day of surprises. First, we didn’t anticipate Gallen to start this game after tossing just a 45-pitch simulation game prior, then he comes out slinging 96+ mph heaters and sitting 95 mph for the day…after averaging 93.3 mph earlier in the year. Whaaaat. Sadly he didn’t have his secondary stuff consistently working and it led to a hyper reliance on heaters, including one that found the same location as the previous two pitches and was smacked for a three-run bomb. We knew he’d be on a limited pitch count and it was a Still ILL, and we may still be one start away from starting him as he’ll likely go around 70 pitches in his next outing.

Jorge López @ CLE (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 81 pitches.

This ain’t it. It so rarely is despite tossing a 95 mph sinker and it’s so sad.

Brandon Woodruff @ COL (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

Stupid Coors, why did you have to go and mess up our boy Woodruff? He’s been so good. You made him go to changeups and curveballs, and even if he earned 10 whiffs across them, that ain’t him. Don’t toy with Woody like that. He’ll turn back into the real deal next time, I promise.

Dylan Cease @ HOU (L) – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Nooooo. He didn’t even have his slider here and no slider = no success, especially against the Astros. Not great, Bob. He’s had it all year so I’m going to expect he gets it back next time out against the Pirates. It’s a lovely way to rebound.




Game of the Day 


Carlos Rodón vs Luis GarcíaI want to see Rodón do wonderful things + García survive yet another tough outing


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


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Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare

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.

One response to “A Sho of Force”

  1. DB says:

    While Woody wasn’t particularly sharp, his runs were all earned, and he gave up two dingers, his defense did him very few favors either. They looked awful on the infield and missed a number of plays resulting in 4 errors. All Woody’s runs came in the 1st, so it was basically just one bad inning that wasn’t all on him.

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