Bauer’s Midnight Hours

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

Has there been a more maddening arm this year than Trevor Bauer? His skills are excellent, yet he fluctuates between masterpieces and disasters, with last night’s performance hitting the far end of the pendulum swing at 4.1 IP, 9 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks against the Nationals. Believe it or not, his first four innings were dazzling until everything fell apart for eight earned runs and 10 total, including those charged to Sal Romano, in the fifth frame. It didn’t matter what he did; the Nationals slapped him around, and Bauer looked as helpless as we’ve ever seen him. What are we supposed to do, Nick? I wish I had a good answer—no it’s not that he was tipping pitches—and all we can do is hope. I WANT MORE THAN THAT. So do I, truly, and oftentimes guys with the stuff of Bauer and ability to flat-out win you weeks make the tweaks to become consistent (we saw him do it last year, expected regression peripherals aside), but with a small sample of roughly eight starts to go, it’s a coin flip. He’s obviously worth the gamble, but I’m at the edge of my seat like the rest of you.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Homer Bailey7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Wait, this worked? Streaming Record: 78-52. Like really worked? It’s funny, the last blurb I wrote said we couldn’t trust him anymore, and then I hated the streaming options and reluctantly picked Homer Bale in Oracle Park, and BAM! He produces his best start of the season. Nick, when you’re wrong, you’re right. Thanks, I’ve come so far. 36/91 CSW is glorious, as his all three of his secondary pitches did work and the Giants let him pump fastballs for strikes without issue. And now it’s the Yankees, so Bailey is kind enough to not even make this a decision. Enjoy the outing and let him down nicely on the wire.

Dakota Hudson6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Nah. That’s it? Is it bad if that’s all I want to say? His slider was good, but there’s not enough in his repertoire to suggest that this was anything more than Blame it on the Royals. 

Brian Johnson2.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s a long way to the top if you’re going with BryJo.

Clayton Kershaw7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. The Streak continues as 100% of his starts have come with six+ innings pitched, and he took full advantage of his matchup against the Marlins with 38/90 CSW and 17 whiffs. This is how it’s done, kids.

Dallas Keuchel6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. And we’ve swung the other way with Keuchel. It’s kinda funny: He’s acting more like a Cherry Bomb than a Toby these days, but either way, the end result will be middling. I’m not investing in Keuchel after this, just like I didn’t after his great performance in July.

Steven Matz6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. So Matz did this not only against the Braves, but also on the road. Is it time to put his ridiculous home/road splits aside? I’m a little surprised he was pulled with just 73 pitches, and the ball don’t lie as Seth Lugo ruined his wonderful evening in relief. As far as Matz’s performance, I’m not seeing anything that really stands out as different, but I’d be starting him in decent matchups and still cautious in games like this one.

Aaron Nola7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You scared me last week, Nola. Not this time with 39/105 CSW, featuring a ton of glove-side heaters, curveballs for strikes, and changeups down-and-away to lefties. Atta boy, Nola.

Robbie Ray2.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Ray left this one with lower-back spasms. Here’s the hoping he can return for his next start. I imagine he’ll likely miss one start to not push him.

Shane Bieber6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Red Sox, Schmed Schmox, Bieber earned 38/107 CSW with a Gallows Pole at 20 whiffs with fantastic sliders, curveballs with the intent for whiffs, and fastballs that weren’t pummeled into oblivion. I’m astounded at how quickly Bieber has become a consistent producer and nullified the hitability of his heater.

J. A. Happ5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. It’s almost like Happ is a Toby if he produces this line against the Orioles. Wonder why that is.

Edwin Jackson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. EJax? Seriously?! Sure, the Mariners are far from the strongest team out there, but 21/93 CSW and…ugh. You know this ain’t real.

Dillon Peters6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. OK, I’m beginning to get a little more impressed with Peters, and he’ll be on The List on Monday. Plenty of good changeups in this one with fastballs around the edge and low curveballs. I don’t think there’s enough in the tank to think starts like these are sustainable, but given a decent schedule, can he be a Top 60 arm the rest of the way? Sure, that isn’t out of the question. With the Rangers next, I’m OK dancing with him; just be fine losing him for the Astros and a possible gauntlet of opponents after.

Cal Quantrill5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. And Nicoderm (CQ!) continues to cruise with his sixth straight game of two earned runs or fewer. That’s a 1.31 ERA in that time, averaging just over four strikeouts per. Yikes. His HOTEL looks rugged with an 84% LOB rate, .206 BABIP, and 5.4% HR/FB, and while I don’t think his slider and changeup are in any way bad, I’m not buying a legit breakout arm here. It’s all fine and could speak to being a Toby, or possibly more, and I’m fine starting him against the Reds, but even that could fall apart and we’ll suddenly want nothing to do with So-So Cal. How many nicknames do you have for this guy. The UnQuantrillfiable. We’re all getting CalQ-Lust. Please stop. Don’t mind if I do.

Kolby Allard5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Allard was above 92 mph again after sitting 90 mph in every MLB appearance prior—woot!—but I’m not liking his secondary stuff a whole lot. His cutter is decent but not exceptional, and he struggled to make his changeup work against the Jays. I’m still a bit out on this one for now…maybe a desperate stream against the Angels next time.

Chris Archer5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. That’s 19 strikeouts across his last two games with just six earned runs across his last three. A few more changeups in this one at ~16% usage, though his slider going 11/37 whiffs is all he needed. The Angels aren’t the strongest offense at the moment, though, and those ratios kinda hurt. He could run into trouble against the Nats next time out. 

Kyle Gibson5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. Gibson has fully turned into a Toby, and that ain’t fun. If you need that upside play or stream off the wire, you’re OK to let Gibson go.

Marco Gonzales6.0 IP, 3 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Nothing like a good ole VVVVPQS to get the faith back in the troops, amiright? Seriously, that’s an average of two baserunners per inning, and Marco somehow allowed just three of them to score. I hope you in QS leagues feel good about yourself. Your WHIP is giving you the stank face.

Brad Keller6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. The velocity was back down to sub-94 mph levels, and I’m sad. Sure, it’s a PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and five Ks. That’s cool, if that’s your thing. I wanted that 95+ mph with better sliders. I WANTED MORE.

Wade Miley3.1 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yikes. Four unearned runs in the second added on to this nightmare of a game—HAISTFMFWT?!—and the floor of Miley rears its ugly head. I don’t think we’ll see it much down the stretch, but it’s why he’s not slotted as a Top 30 guy.

Sean Reid-Foley3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I debated labelling SRF as my Call Boy yesterday, but we haven’t seen him truly lock in just yet, and even hosting the Rangers, he couldn’t get into his rhythm. The decent upside is still there, but let’s wait to see it first.

Tyler Beede4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeaaaah, Beede still hasn’t found the feel again of his breakers and it’s just not working out. Wait until we see new life in them again.

Ross Detwiler4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. A rolling team carries no Ross.

Stephen Strasburg5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Come on, Stras, this was the Reds. OK fine, he actually pitched decently in this one, but a few poorly handled at-bats did him in. I don’t see an innate problem here, just one of those middling starts that could have gone either way. It tipped the to the wrong side yesterday.

Jalen Beeks5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Welcome to the rotation, Beeks. It’s not for everyone and maybe one day you’ll get truly comfortable. For what it’s worth, his changeup and curveball did sit low in the zone, but just 4/40 whiffs between them ain’t gonna cut it.

Kyle Freeland6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. We’re still waiting for the time to jump on Freeland again. I’m not sure that time will come.

Gio Gonzalez3.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Womp womp. At the very least, a matchup with the Twins likely pushed people away from this start, and now with the Cardinals ahead, many can likely scoop up Gio for the stream. That ain’t bad.

Dylan Bundy5.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Maybe one day, Bundy. Maybe one day.

Elieser Hernandez6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Elie got the Dodgers, and we didn’t have high hopes for this one…yet he did give us seven strikeouts. We’ve seen better games with his changeup and slider, though, and I’d hold off throwing him out there against the Braves next time out.

Cole Hamels2.0 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Cole. No. He looked great in five frames during his DLH start and has allowed 12 earned runs in the same amount of innings across his last two. Bleeegggghhh. His velocity was down to a season-low 90.6 mph, changeups were bad—everything was bad. There may be something larger at play here (is Hamels actually healed?), and I’m super cautious, especially with that velocity drop.


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.


Devin Smeltzer vs. Texas Rangers – Yeah, he disappointed us last Friday. The Rangers, even in Arlington, are not as scary as the Indians, and Smeltzer should bounce back. Adam Wainwright against the Reds could work as well, with Spencer Turnbull vs Seattle Mariners – Pineda is pitching over Smeltzer and Waino is going tomorrow. Here’s to hoping Turnbull makes it happen against a poor offense.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Adrian Houser vs. Washington Nationals – Houser’s heaters were soooo good last time out, and it could be more of the same against the Nats. Patrick Sandoval against the White Sox is a very sneaky play for those in deep leagues but too low of a floor in 12-teamers. Mike Montgomery vs. New York Mets – I’m rolling with Monty instead as his variety of pitches should work vs. Houser’s tougher matchup against the hot Nationals offense.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jake Junis vs. New York Mets – His slider wasn’t quite back last time, but the upside is there to take advantage of the Mets. Jordan Lyles is another decent option against the Nats, though I wonder if he has a slightly lower floor. Trent Thornton is a huge sleeper play here against the Mariners, with a terrible floor but enough stuff to make that work.


Game of the Day


Walker Buehler vs. Caleb Smith – I would love Smith to still succeed regardless of the tough matchup + Buehler is set for a field day.


(Photo by Frank Jansky/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.

10 responses to “Bauer’s Midnight Hours”

  1. K Aloe says:

    Pineda today instead of Smeltzer, womp womp.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I started Nola and sat Bauer last week. This week I started Bauer and sat Nola. I also own Matt Boyd. This year is incredibly frustrating.

  3. Gus says:

    Hey I feel like bauer needs to pitch inside more. I feel like I have seen to many hits happen this year on pitches 6 to 8 inches off

  4. Justin says:

    Where would you put Sean Manaea once he returns? Currently working with Verlander, Clev, Berrios, Hendricks and Caleb Smith, so Manaea would be my 6th starter.

  5. Stan says:

    I see the ranks (same tier) but when needing wins for H2H playoffs, who do you drop Houser, Lyles or Quantrill?

  6. Swfcdan says:

    Kudos to the title name yesterday, very good one.

    Got 3 top 30 rank pitchers (Zak, McKay, Soroka) I have down on my farm ready to unleash next year for $0. And the Gingergaard who’s in consideration too. Hot diggity! May decide to deal one in offseason though for help elsewhere, do you see all future potential as similar so just take the best offer for one? Does Gallen being less of a prospect make him the wiser choice to try and ship?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d ship Soroka as he likely will give you the biggest return.

      Pretty even, I’d rank them – very closely – as Soroka, McKay, Gallen.

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