Blake Two (Pitch)

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Blake Snell vs ARI (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 13 Ks – 25 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 108 pitches.

They say insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see Blake Snell do something new against the Diamondbacks, featuring a near-even fastball/slider split as his curveball and changeup were put on the bench. The result? Only a Golden Goal via 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 13 Ks – 25 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 108 pitches and the attention of everyone. We need to talk about this.

First of all, those of you kicking yourself for dropping Snell, don’t. This is one start, and we don’t know if it’s going to stick + if you held onto him through all the poor outings, it would have hurt your team dramatically. You used that roster spot on taking a flier on Patrick Sandoval or Jameson Taillon, and that production you earned in the past is locked in for good.

Now onto this start. We saw Snell focus heavily on four-seamers for strikes last time, but it didn’t come with this good of a slider — 19/53 whiffs is downright disgusting — and it makes me skeptical of this start’s legitimacy. He was able to earn 15 called strikes on heaters, though, and I’ll take that all day from Snell as it means he’s retaining some control and putting his success in the hands of his stuff, not his command. That’s the trade he should be making, and I really hope today is the start of something new. It could be — Huascar Ynoa, Dinelson Lamet, Jacob deGromand many others have had success going just four-seamer + slider 90% of the time — and Snell may have unleashed a new BSB for the future.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:


Zack Wheeler vs NYM (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It’s odd to see 22 whiffs and not earn a Gallows Pole, but what may be more odd is 15 of those whiffs coming from heaters. Wheeler, you’re my hero.

Luis Gil vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 92 pitches.

We didn’t know if he’d get another start and what do ya know, he made the Seattle start after all, here looking even better. Sure, he got super lucky in a bases-loaded jam to return zero earned runs (including a poor strike three call), but he still slung 96 mph heaters for 35% CSW with a slider he effectively tossed for strikes. I imagine Cole + The Bear will return by the end of this week (or early next), while the Yankees have an off-day on Friday, meaning they can push Gil out of the rotation. For now. You didn’t want that next start against the ChiSox anyway. Streaming Record: 70-49.

Yusei Kikuchi @ NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 97 pitches.

Yay! He survived the Yanks. 95/96 mph heaters works for me and cutters earned some outs, though the slider was pretty iffy. I still feel weird about Kikuchi and it’ll get weirder as he faces the Jays next. I’d sit that one out.

Walker Buehler vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I really hope he doesn’t get shut down in the slightest. He really is acting like the #1 SP in the land, especially on nights where his slider (GASP, a secondary pitch?!) earned 11/28 whiffs. That’s just not his style and I love it.

Brett Anderson vs SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 63 pitches.

What a dude. I don’t enjoy starting Anderson, but on a desperate Sunday, I don’t blame you if you had to start Brett. Just don’t get in the habit of starting him and leaving your fate in the hands of BABIP – you won’t win that battle, they’ve got dudes with super long range. I don’t stretch out enough for that.

Kris Bubic @ STL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

Nah. His pitches were a bit all over the place and I’m still waiting for that one start where Bubic is fully in command of what he’s doing. Maybe we’ll get it soon, I’m inclined to this he’s a Young Gun and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Max Fried vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 105 pitches.

Atta boy Fried. Nothing all too spectacular, just some good ole’ pitching to get through the day.

Jorge López vs TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 100 pitches.

Hey now, that’s two of his last three being productive! And he gets Boston next! Oh, lol. Sorry Jorge.

Tyler Mahle vs PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 110 pitches.

It’s so lovely when a start truly comes together. Mahle had his fantastic heater and paired it more often with his splitter in this one, having a ton of success with it in the bottom third of the zone. While I don’t believe in that splitter much in the final eight weeks, seeing that heater come alive is a great sign.

Madison Bumgarner @ SD (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 80 pitches.

I’ve been terrified of the ~90 mph heater (89.9 mph here), yet Bumgarner plods along successfully once again. He’s set to face the Padres again next weekend, and it’s up to you if you want to Vargas Rule this. I’m personally avoiding it — his cutter isn’t so amazing and the curveball doesn’t seem sustainable.

James Kaprielian vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 84 pitches.

I’m not only glad to see JK return, but also to see him toss 84 pitches without a hitch, against a Texas team that has forced him to be mediocre this year. And guess what, a la Daft Punk, he’ll get them One More Time next weekend. He should be safe there, despite the middling games against the Rangers thus far.

Wily Peralta @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 88 pitches.

Y’all know he’s a TEEs, but he’s somehow reclaimed his Vargas Rule status for some. Not for this guy, though. Who, Peralta? No, this guy. I can’t see where you’re pointing. IT’S ME. Oh.

Dylan Cease @ CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 92 pitches.

There’s a lovely Dusty Donut as ten strikeouts and a Win are tugged down by some poor ratios. Overall, he did great with sliders and curveballs + a solid fastball around the zone, and I’d feel okay starting him against the Yankees next time. There is a wobbly floor there, though.

Kenta Maeda @ HOU (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 100 pitches.

Blegh. It was Houston and we were awfully tense entering this one, so these results are okay to endure. It’s even better when you realize how stupid good his slider was — 12 whiffs, 40% CSW across 48% usage — and that should make him startable against the Rays next. Stud Maeda is still in there, I can feel it.

Garrett Richards @ TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

It was the Jays and it was Richards. Y’all knew how this story was going to end before the game started. I imagine Richards will get ousted once Chris Sale and Tanner Houck claim their rightful spots in the rotation in the next week (Sale on Saturday) or two.

Bryse Wilson @ CIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.

I’m glad to see Wilson get his needed experience as a starter and here was a small peek at that promise with 35% CSW across 23 curveballs, leading him to go six strong for a PQS. This isn’t the time to pick up Bryse – he’s still a Young Gun – but let’s golf clap as a small sign of encouragement. We all need that as we grow.

Taijuan Walker @ PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 89 pitches.

Ehhhh, a PQS with just one strikeout (HAISTBMBWT?!is not the start I wanted to see to pull Walker out of the trenches. The man is struggling right now, and while I understand he’s likely better than what’s on the wire for you, he deserves a tumble tomorrow. The regression is arriving.

Lance McCullers Jr. vs MIN (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 89 pitches.

Nooooo. Lance got a bit unlucky here and didn’t have the whifftastic stuff he’s known for. Whatever he should be fine hosting the Angels next week. I’m not worried.

Kyle Freeland vs MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 84 pitches.

This start looked alright until a three-run fifth frame and I won’t overlook that Freeland can be serviceable at times, especially if he can earn 38% CSW on each of his hook and sweeper like today. I wouldn’t say a date in Oracle Park next would be what you’re looking for, though.

Johnny Cueto @ MIL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.

Awww. Cueto is a Toby, which means he’s obligated to allow no more than three ER in a start. He does host Rockie Road next time out and I imagine that’ll be good enough — his changeup still earns a ton of outs despite the low 21% CSW on the pitch here.

Zach Plesac vs DET (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 84 pitches.

Blegh. Plesac can’t even handle the Tigers as his changeup went just 13% CSW, his four-seamer was poor, and the slider was decent but not game-changing. He’s falling further on The List tomorrow, and I hope he figures it out soon. There’s a chance he can do much better in another shot against Detroit next time, but you’re likely better off chasing something else.

Reid Detmers @ LAD (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

I mean, this was the Dodgers and we’re waiting for Detmers to get in touch with his command before we roster him proper. Maybe next week or five. Just give it time — his curveball and slider are solid + the heater approach could work.

Michael Wacha @ BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 97 pitches.

Womp womp. Velocity was back to normal and the changeup returned 15% CSW. Sigh.

Patrick Corbin @ ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 68 pitches.

He’s still at 93 mph and 9/38 slider whiffs and he can’t do it. It’s hilarious and I’m not laughing. The long ball is the cause for the true problem here and if there’s a way he overcomes it soon, he’s ready to make a legit run down the stretch. That’s a big if, sadly, so let’s not run to the wire for Corbin.

Jon Lester vs KC (ND) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 92 pitches.

Ah, I imagine St. Louis has been thrilled with their new innings eater. Meanwhile, we’ve all been thrilled watching him pitch far away from our fantasy teams. He’s just not the same as his 2016 self.

Jordan Lyles @ OAK (L) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 114 pitches.

Yikes. The fastball was decent, the rest was not. Don’t get stuck rostering Lyles these days.

Zach Davies vs CWS (L) – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 53 pitches.

Okay, that’s pretty dang poor. Thing is, though, this was the elite side of the offensive spectrum and next weekend he gets the other side in Miami. I think you’re okay starting Davies there, if you have the stomach for it.

Hyun Jin Ryu vs BOS (ND) – 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 76 pitches.

Ouch. Ryu looked better in his last start with his slow ball and cutter and the two pitches got beat up in this one, leading to a crooked ERA and WHIP. At least he gets Seattle next and despite this atrocity, I’d start Ryu there. He’s not this bad.

David Hess @ COL (L) – 1.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 29 pitches.

Oh no. I haven’t seen Hess’ name in a bit, and it’s sadly apparent as to why. Sorry bud.


Game of the Day 


Luis Castillo vs Sam HentgesCastillo just got his AGA label and I want him to show it with pride. Meanwhile, it’s Hentges and maybe he’s kinda good now? Probably not, but a man can dream.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

Photo by Ric Tapia/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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