Baby Is Back

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Shane Bieber vs CWS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 34 pitches.

Hey y’all, don’t forget that Shane Bieber exists. The man missed three months of the season, dipping out right before gloopgate hit, and tossed a short outing today against the ChiSox: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 34 pitches. That’s a perfect three frames featuring 4/6 whiffs on curveballs, a few well-placed sliders for outs, and a generally decent heater.

He’s set to start one more time against the Rangers and I’d expect another three-inning affair as he tosses 40-50 pitches, likely of similar quality. And that’s cool n whatnot. I’m sad it isn’t quite enough for us to get a great sense of his ability prior to the 2022 season, but at the very least he still has his ridiculous curveball despite losing a ton of spin – we’re talking an RPM drop of 369 on the hook. It was perfection and spin, schmin, Bieber is still a great pitcher. He made the ChiSox look like they were on the other side of town.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Carlos Hernández @ DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 89 pitches.

I considered Carlos as the main streaming pick and while I wish I made it, this wasn’t a pretty outing. He did have some well-spotted fastballs, but most pitches were chaotic and the Tigers hit themselves off the field. It’s hard for me to get amped for his final start against Cleveland next week, but hey, it could be more of the boring same.

Max Fried @ SD (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 98 pitches.

Wow, that’s a Maddux for Fried as he cruised through the Padres in San Diego. The four-seamer, curveball, and slider all did their part earning outs in the field, but he did a stellar job jamming four-seamers inside to right-handers all night. Props to him, Fried has been quietly putting up a fantastic second half, boasting a 1.48 ERA across ten starts since August 3rd, including this one. He and Morton, the quiet aces.

Dylan Cease @ CLE (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 82 pitches.

Cease earned himself another Gallows Pole during a lovely date with Cleveland. His slider was filthy once again, while the curve and fastball combined for 32% CSW. That’s. What’s. Up.

Sam Howard @ PHI (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 50% CSW, 12 pitches.

Every day needs a bullpen game or at least an opener – it’s 2021 and them’s the rules – and Howard led for Miguel Yajure, who tossed 3.2 frames and allowed 3 ER. Fun fact: Shelby Miller came in after, yeah, that Shelby Miller. So fun.

David Robertson vs MIA (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 13 pitches.

While it’s certainly cool to see DRob still doing things in the majors, this was about the Friday Pirate (yes, it was Friday!) tossing six shutout frames with just two baserunners as the bulk innings guy. The deuce earned 38% CSW and the cutter + changeup earned outs against a weak Marlins crew. It’s what you signed up for and you love to see it. Just don’t get cocky and hold him for the Yankees – that wouldn’t be smart.

J.A. Happ @ CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 74 pitches.

You were so close, Happ. Like Mr. Creosote, all you had left was the aftermint represented in three more outs and the Win was yours. Nope, you had to be inefficient, walk four batters, and get yourself pulled. Sigh. I wish you could have seen the physical 30-second pause I gave before writing those four letters. It was genuine, y’all.

Eric Lauer vs NYM (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 114 pitches.

In the end, it was Lauer getting the stat, not Burnes, and he continued his crazy good Vargas Rule in the second half. The heater returned 35% CXW with nine whiffs, while the slider + cutter combined for seven on their own, propelling a share of the Gallows PoleI’m just as shocked as you are that Lauer has been this good and I’d be starting him against St. Louis next week – despite how Hansel the Cards are right now.

Casey Mize vs KC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 41 pitches.

He made the most of his three frames and we should be happy for him. Yay.

Bailey Ober vs TOR (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 82 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Those in deep leagues, keep your eye on Ober for 2022. That four-seamer plays well up in the zone and he commands it well. The slider and changeup are coming along, too, and, hey, forget about 2022, don’t forget about Ober next week against the Tigers. That could certainly work.

Frankie Montas vs HOU (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 106 pitches.

I know some people were hesitant to start Montas against Houston and the man showed up in a major way. The splitter is still earning whiffs and the fastballs pounded the zone effectively, though the slider wasn’t quite as good as we’ve seen. Whatever, it’s the Mariners next to close Montas’ excellent second half and I couldn’t be happier he gets some much-deserved respite.

Alex Wood @ COL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 61 pitches.

I mean, the man went into Coors and while the ERA/WHIP are bad, seven strikeouts are seven strikeouts. This could have been a whole lot worse and let’s be glad he gave you something legit to salvage. He’s still really good.

Tony Gonsolin @ ARI (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 68 pitches.

Wow, between the low 2.1 frames and the overall poor quality of his last appearance on the bump, I certainly didn’t expect this – five strong innings with seven strikeouts and a King ColeRidiculous. His splitter was nasty – 6/16 whiffs, his slider earned outs, and the heater dominated the zone. Hints of the old Gonsolin here, even if the slider wasn’t the greatest thing ever. He’ll get around 80 pitches for the Brewers next time out and that’ll be a questionable option. It can go either way.

Peter Lambert vs SF (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 65 pitches.

I remember when Lambert shut down the Cubs in Coors back in 2019 during his debut and it was kinda cool. Now he allows 2 ER in 3.2 IP and I feel like this was better than I expected. Oh how time sprouts its wings and flies.

Jack Flaherty @ CHC (ND) – 0.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 19 pitches.

So Flaherty wasn’t planned to go long, didn’t have his command, and was pulled after laboring through the first four batters. Dakota Hudson followed for 3.2 innings of…pitching. he did have a solid slider but still allowed 2 ER and didn’t get me all too excited. It was cool to see both of them return to the field and I’m sure we’ll see better forms of them by April 2022.

José Berríos @ MIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 90 pitches.

That’s another co-share of the Gallows Pole with Berríos’ fastballs doing plenty of the lifting + an excellent 40% CSW curveball in there 30% of the time. That brings his ERA to 3.48 and I’m crossing my fingers he can finally be under a 3.50 mark. Just one more start against the Yankees to survive. You. Can. Do. This.

Gerrit Cole @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.

Aces gonna earn a near VPQS but do enough against the tough Red Sox for the Win. He hasn’t been the overwhelming and dominant arm that contends for the #1 SP in fantasy as of late, but who cares. You’re starting him against the Jays next time out for his final start of the season (he could pitch in a Game #163, by the way) and you’re gonna like it.

Edward Cabrera @ TB (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 76 pitches.

It’s been an underwhelming debut season for Cabrera, to say the least, though he did get a small glimpse of breakers getting whiffs here – 7/36 combined between sliders and curves. It’s not the major whiffability we were hoping for, but hey, it’s something. He’s a guy to keep an eye on for next year but make sure it’s just that. He still has a lot to prove.

Alexander Wells vs TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches.

This qualifies as a good start from Wells and that should tell you everything. “Good?!” When he only has one whiff?! I know what I said. Oh dear. 

Paolo Espino @ CIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 86 pitches.

Espino did well in his last two starts because he faced the Marlins and Rockie RoadLet’s not do anything crazy and do something like starting Josh Rogers in Cincy, y’all. No one would actually do that, right? Right?!

Brandon Bielak @ OAK (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 54 pitches.

We haven’t seen Bielak in a while (for good reason) and he replaced the injured Zack Greinke on short notice. Sadly, he was Brandoff today.

Humberto Castellanos vs LAD (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 70 pitches.

Humberto had the tough task of dealing with the Dodgers and it went about as well as you could hope for…even if that means he produced a “HAISTBMBWT?”! Starting Castellanos on your team is essentially playing on HC mode.

Reiss Knehr vs ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 56 pitches.

Apparently, there’s no right way to start a Reiss.

Sonny Gray vs WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.

Bleeeeeegh. I was really hoping Gray would pull through here, but that’s a 2.25 WHIP with a 9.00 ERA and now I don’t want to start him against the ChiSox. Where on Earth do we rank Sonny for 2022? The 50s? 60s? He never quite found a groove this year and it’s hard to visualize consistently through six months. We’ll see.

Logan Gilbert @ LAA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 110 pitches.

Awwwww. I was in on this start but Gilbert ultimately didn’t have the slider he needed with just 3/23 whiffs on the pitch. He labored terribly to get through this and it’s standard to feel a little worried about a start against the Athletics next week.

José Suarez vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 97 pitches.

Noooooooooo. Streaming Record: 91-73. It wasn’t meant to be as Suarez earned just 3/24 called strikes on curveballs and 3/21 CSW on changeups. Womp womp. There’s a chance he recovers in a repeat matchup next week and don’t rule it out. This is a bit disappointing, though.

Tylor Megill @ MIL (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 82 pitches.

Womp womp. Megill still doesn’t have his changeup, returning…no way…zero for sixteen CSW on the slowball. Yeesh. He gets Miami next and that’s still tempting but it’s like dipping your steak in cheese sauce – sure it doesn’t taste bad, but it feels so wrong.

Kyle Gibson vs PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 73 pitches.

If a pitcher hits a homer, does he get one ER knocked off his line? Uh huh…uh huh…yes I’ll hold…No? Awwww. Gibson ran into trouble in the fourth and didn’t rely on his slider like last week (just 8 thrown!) but he didn’t pitch all too badly. The real question is if you want to start him against Atlanta next week and I’m leaning bench there. He hasn’t been too impressive against a part of weak teams and Atlanta is plenty tougher. Don’t risk it if you don’t have to, but at the same time, he’s likely better than the bottom of the wire barrel. Wire Barrel. That sounds like a metal band. Half metal, half barrel. Please stop.

Spencer Howard @ BAL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 66 pitches.

The other S. Howard finally went more than 65 pitches and showed off 20 cutters that weren’t the worst things ever. That’s about all the hype I can muster here as there’s a ton of work to do, but at least he’s getting more experience now. I would LOVE to see 75-80 pitches in his final start. Let the man experiment!

Justin Steele vs STL (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 86 pitches.

Since grabbing the starting gig on August 10th, Steele has now made eight starts, with just one of them coming with at least five frames and 2 ER or fewer. I’m amazed Steele forgot the Rs at the end of his name. Pittsburgh would be upset. He seemed to drop them in his starts.

Zach Davies vs STL (L) – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 50 pitches.

Look at you, Mr. Smart Guy, legs kicked up onto your porch, leaning back and watching the sunset, anxiety-free knowing you haven’t had Davies on your team since 2020. “Why would anyone choose to give themself a headache?” you wonder. Because that’s what smart people ponder.

Nathan Eovaldi vs NYY (L) – 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 59 pitches.

Wow. Eovaldi has been a league winner for many and it feels so cruel for him to break down at a time like this. The curveball was horrendous despite carrying him all season – 1/10 CSW! – and nothing else was there to support the heater, support his four-seamer desperately needs. I don’t think this start changes your attitude toward the Orioles next week, and it’s simply a huge bummer.


Game of the Day 


Sandy Alcantara vs. Shane McClanahan. Oh. My. GOOOSSSSHHHH.

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 Frank Jansky/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.

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