All Cantara, All the Time

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

In Monty vs. Sandy Alcantara, I went with the floor of Monty over the upside of Alcantara. Boy, was I wrong as Sandy cruised to another complete game via 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks against the Royals. 33/102 CSW is great, focusing on sinkers to get the job done and surprisingly earning 35% on the pitch alone. Sliders and changeups all fell for strikes as well, and he simply powered through the Kansas City lineup confidently. You may think I want to say this is smoke and mirrors, and to a degree, it is—in that I don’t think his secondary stuff is at a level where we can expect anything like this in the future. But at 95/96 mph, his sinker commanded well arm-side with a slider and changeup to consistently hit the zone, and that’s a recipe for success. It goes in and out for Sandy, though we have seen it more frequently in the second half than previously, and that’s a wonderful thing. Development! Yes, he’s a pickup for his next start against the Giants, but it’s a case-by-case play against the Diamondbacks after. There’s more risk than this line would suggest as he has yet to truly be consistent.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Jack Flaherty8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You’ve seen the numbers on his stretch since the start of July with a sub-1.00 ERA n all, and it’s crazy. Just when we were so frustrated, he fixed his season. It screams overpay in drafts next season as I don’t truly believe Flaherty has taken that step forward. Sorry, I think we’re seeing the two sides of his slider across the full year, not a worse slider and a then a tweaked one. It’s a feel pitch that will feel great and not as great, just like we saw with McCullers’ curveball. But hey, he’s doing it now, and that’s wonderful. Just a few more weeks, Jack.

Julio Urias2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. And thus ends Urias’ time as a starter. It’s almost like Dodgeritis is THE WORST THING EVER. I wonder how many innings Rich Hill gets the rest of the year. He’s going to be limited initially, and we might not see him fully ramped until the playoffs. We’ll see.

Dylan Cease3.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. Cease was all over the place here, causing his pitch count to soar like a balloon out of a four-year-old’s open palm. Poor kid. Now he gets Seattle and the Tigers next, which is wonderful, but he needs to get his command in order. If he can focus on strikes, things should be wonderful. You’ve seen both the relative floor and ceiling in his last two starts now. Here’s to hoping the roulette wheel likes us.

Gerrit Cole8.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 15 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Cole is still trying to outdo Verlander’s no-hitter last week, and he keeps coming up just short. One day, kid, one day. 23 whiffs for a Gallows Pole and…WHAT. 53% CSW on 96 pitches. Yes, that’s the HIGHEST CSW RATE OF ALL TIME. Here’s to the fun Verlander vs. Cole vs. Scherzer debates this offseason.

Peter Lambert5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. When Lambert is outside Coors against a weak lineup, he can actually be okay. Write that down.

Eric Lauer6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s cool, Lauer, you took advantage of your one good matchup of September. We’re all so proud and expect nothing in Coors on Friday.

Sean Manaea7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Oh Manaea, how I missed you. He’s in a great place right now, though he’s still a slinger, and slingers allow dingers. Okay, that’s not the phrase. Slingers are generally more inconsistent with their command as it’s harder to replicate the timing necessary to put the ball where they want. We’ve seen it Manaea himself in previous seasons, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it came down to Earth before the season ends. But that isn’t a reason to stop starting him in the slightest, especially as he avoids this week’s Houston series, so let it ride, let it ride.

Daniel Norris3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Y’all know that Norris doesn’t go longer than three frames—four max—anymore, right? Okay, cool.

Max Scherzer6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He’s no Cole, clearly.

Mike Clevinger6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I really wonder what round I can get Clev next year because I WANT HIM. I’m guessing it’ll cost you a late-third-rounder at this point, but who knows. I know it’s super early and we have months to talk about this, though I’m guessing I’ll have a lot of shares of Clevinger in 12-teamers where I’m near the end of the draft order. Yes, I’m cool with him as my ace. We’ll talk.

Anthony DeSclafani6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. That works, Tony Disco. He didn’t pitch all that well—14/91 CSW is an atrocity—and I’m worried about him doing it again in a repeat matchup with Arizona ahead. Take a little break here.

Devin Smeltzer – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Smeltzer is back, as now Pineda and Gibson are out of the picture, and you should maybe care. I’m a bit on the fence about it, but if he gets a chance at legit starting instead of opening, then you’ve got yourself a decent Toby. That could work.

Jaime Barria  4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Unlike Smeltzer, Barria isn’t a Toby. He won’t work. Because he’s lazy? What, no. He’s a hard-working man; he just doesn’t work well with what you want for your team. Oh. How did you not get that before?!

Tyler Glasnow2.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Way to make an entrance, Glasnow. Kinda. Don’t give up that HR to Grichuk next time in your role as an opener—we most likely won’t see him start proper this season. Let’s just enjoy the man do his thing.

Mike Leake6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Welcome to the ceiling of Leake. It’s a bland lining of plaster. Yep, that’s a ceiling.

James Marvel5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I watched this man pitch a bit yesterday, and while I want him to be a captain of my team, he’s just a Cup of Schmo. Nice curveball, though. 

Mike Minor8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. We’ll take it, though I was hoping for a few more strikeouts. His changeup was a workhorse here, nearly thrown 50% of the time and returning over 30% CSW, and he just featured his heater about 25% of the time. Whatever works, bud. Don’t stop starting Minor with Oakland ahead for two starts. He’ll be just fine.

Dereck Rodriguez4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It was a lovely start last time out, this one showcases why his nickname is D-Rop.

Adrian Houser4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. He still needs more than just his fastball, relying on the pitch a bit too much here, though the damage truly came in the third, and getting pulled at just 67 pitches is a bit frustrating as he clearly could have gone at least five for the win. I’d start him against the Cardinals/Padres/Reds to come.

Mike Soroka6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Hmmmm that’s a 4.11 ERA over his last five starts, though seven strikeouts is a nice sight to see as his changeup and slider earned 10/27 CSW. I think there’s going to be hype around Soroka next year as a Top 25 pick, and I have my reservations as he’s really just a Kyle Hendricks play that I don’t really see him taking that leap with his secondary stuff just yet. Maybe he can. I’m a little hesitant to chase that when there are more likely options that could become that clear Top 15 force. But hey, he’ll be a solid arm for you barring injury, no question. Seriously, I’m thrilled he’s been healthy this year. I love the kid.

Noah Syndergaard5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I’m still not seeing a great approach from Thor, featuring a strike-zone plot of “come, try to hit it” instead of “look at my masterful game plan.” I can’t be the only one a little frustrated by that. He’s still a clear start n all, and I appreciate all of you enduring my whining about this through the year. I also just appreciate all of you in general. You’re the best. Unlike Syndergaard.

Masahiro Tanaka4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Tanaka against the Red Sox is a terrible combination. The good news is that the Jays, Angels, and Rays close the year, and I’m overall cool with that.

Vince Velasquez4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, this is why we’re not chasing VV. The ceiling is not worth the floor.

Asher Wojciechowski2.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Bleeeeeegh. Asher against the Rangers should have been smoother, but he almost threw 60 pitches just to get these six outs. That’s not good. I wanted Asher to be a sneaky play down the stretch with decent matchups, but it’s looking like too much of a risk to take these days. It’s sad, really.

Mike Montgomery4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Ouch, this one hurt a good amount since I favored him over Alcantara on the other side. He had his cutter and changeup working in the last two starts. Why couldn’t he just give us one more against the Marlins? WHY NOT?! It’s easy now, at least, with a terrible schedule for Kansas City ahead, and we’re done in full with Monty. Streaming Record: 93-59.

Rick Porcello4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s almost like Red Sox vs. Yankees is a bad time for all pitchers involved, you know? For Porcello, this whole season has felt like one long game against the Yankees, holding a 5.83 ERA and 1.45 WHIP across 29 starts now. Yikes.

Jacob Waguespack4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeaaaah, that schedule ain’t a pretty one for the Jays and a Toby like Waggie P.

Felix Hernandez2.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. I feel a little bad still calling him Prince Felix n all, but dang, man. Dang. The Astros can do this, but it still stings, you know?

Jon Lester5.1 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Nooooo, I hope this didn’t kill some championship runs for some of you. I think I still roll with Lester against the Pirates next time out even with this start against the Brewers, but I feel your pain, y’all. I feel it.


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.


Merrill Kelly vs. New York Mets That’s two starts above 93 mph from Kelly, and out of the few options, I’ll take chance here with Kelly.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Mitch Keller vs. San Francisco Giants He was pushed back to Tuesday, and I’d love to roll the dice on his upside.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Reynaldo Lopez vs. Kansas City Royals – An easy choice after his feel for his slider last time out, even without the velocity. And hey, maybe the velocity comes back?

Game of the Day


Aaron Nola vs. Mike Foltynewicz – It’s Nola Day + we get another peek at Folty. Works for me.


(Photo by Doug Murray/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 “All Cantara, All the Time”

  1. Orange WHIPs says:

    Would you rather have Thor Friday vs. LAD or Alcantara Friday @SF?

    I’ll be dropping Thor after Friday anyways as his only remaining start is @COL.

  2. Frankie says:

    With J Sheffield missing Houston and now getting CIN and CWS, is he a definite stream for the playoffs over arms like Folty, Cease, Eovaldi, and Young? All are options for me at this point. I am pretty locked in on Folty because I have held so long, but Folty is also my weakest link at SP and could stream that slot.
    What say you? Ty!

  3. theKraken says:

    Pretty unflattering write-up for Mad Max, who is looking quite likely to get shafted in the Cy. Positive PR is good for the game especially when it is justified.

  4. AC says:

    Nick, in a tight H2H categories race in W, K, and ratios, are you all-in for both starts this week for Nola (ATL/BOS) and Lynn (TB/OAK)? Absent any other streaming pickups, my other SPs are Paddack, Gray, Heaney, and Manaea – I’m hopeful they provide enough of a stable floor in ratios to chance the second starts for both Nola and Lynn, but I’m still a little wary.

  5. Eric says:

    With Manaea off the DL, I have to either 1 drop him or 2 drop Matt Boyd to make room. Any preference?
    I’m leaning toward dropping Manaea because of Boyd’s 2-start week next week vs Bal and CWS. My other pitchers are Scherzer, Flaherty, Bieber, Paxton, and Soroka, so I don’t really need either guy. Thanks!

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