Boyds Will Be Boyds

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

I’m feeling pain this morning. One of the ramifications of talking about pitchers every day of the season is that when a hefty chunk of them do poorly on a given night, I feel a pit in my stomach. Pitchers are always supposed to do well. Seriously, there’s a part of me that feels that way. So when I see a guy such as Matt Boyd go 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks among a sea of other names I enjoyed watching crumble before, I get a little sad. Especially when said performance isn’t an anomaly but rather a continuation of our skepticism of sustainable success.

Boyd had a horrid month, concluding on July 13 (six games of 4+ ER!), but had seemingly righted the ship with 5 ER in three games … and now the HRs have come back with seven – SEVEN! – in two games. Against the Royals and Mariners. You’re wondering how he’s allowing so many dingers, and it’s pretty simple. His fastball is so poorly commanded. He’s throwing harder than last year – 92/93 is great! – but the pitch is sitting middle-middle all the time. I’m not kidding, here it is from yesterday. Yeah. I’m OK with it being up but not middle like this. We’re at an impasse here. Do we believe that Boyd’s heater will improve in the final weeks and hold tight, or is the floor too low that we need to let him go? Well, he has a tough schedule ahead – Rays, Twins, Indians – though September greets him with Kansas City, Oakland, and Baltimore. It’s up to you if you want to see this through as clearly he has the upside to be a huge factor for your playoffs. We’re not quite at the moment to drop an asset such as Boyd for the ultimate short term, so I’d hold for as long as you can to at least see if he hints at a strong September, even with the tough opponents.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Jack Flaherty7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. The ride continues as Flaherty’s slider was good but not as good as we’ve seen. His curveball was effective with 8/15 CSW, and his heater did plenty of work on its own. Not as dominating at the pitch level as other outings, but hey, the Royals. 

Thomas Pannone – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Wilmer Font opened this one and was sans runs, helping the Jays combine for the shutout as a staff. Pannone ain’t this good and really doesn’t deserve any more focus. Don’t TP your lineup.

Ivan Nova9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Yes Johnny, put on the goggles. *Johnny puts on his goggles and stares into the night sky*. IT’S A SUPPPPPER NOOOOOVA! And everyone rejoiced. He’s been doing that a lot lately, holding a 0.49 ERA across his past five starts with 37 IP, and that’s all kinds of remarkable. What’s the SIERA on that? You don’t want to know. What, 4.14? Nah, that’s his K per nine. 4.90? xFIP. … 5.13? Yeah. A good old 4.64-point differential from his ERA. This is totally going to last.

Martin Perez6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Much better cutters and 95 mph velocity here from Perez, but just 22/88 CSW and nothing else working in his repertoire added up to 10 baserunners. I’m amazed he kept runs off the board, and I’m still hesitant to run with him once again.

Madison Bumgarner7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Bummy had 38% CSW. His curveball was back in a big way – 12/26 CSW – and it’s great to see him cruising after a brief stumble to start August.

Chris Devenski2.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Devo started this one as Gerrit Cole left the bullpen with hamstring discomfort while warming up. Obviously not good news but not terrible news because it’s a leg injury, not an arm injury. It could mean a few starts are lost now in August, but I’d imagine he’s back in time for your fantasy playoffs.

Max Fried6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I know this start is ultimately fine (save for the 1.50 WHIP), but man I’m getting impatient waiting for Fried to get his act together with his curveball. It was better last time, his heater was up to 98 mph at times then (capped at about 96 mph here), and I have my fingers crossed his next game or two showcases the true talent of Max.

Lance Lynn5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Just five innings and six Ks this time around? You’re slacking, Lynn.

Dustin May5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. May got the Marlins and turned into April with the way he showered outs upon them. Then he turned back into May, blossoming in front of us. OK, this really doesn’t work and I’m moving on. Really good cutters here as he nailed the glove-side edge constantly, but I’m still not seeing enough from his deuce (1/17) to suggest a massive climb through the ranks. Obviously hold and start save for the terrible matchups, but I’d be shocked if he averages over a strikeout per inning. Oh, and stop serving us Phillies. That would be cool.

Jose Quintana6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 14 Ks. Wait, what? Quintana held 34% CSW here as he dominated with heaters up in the zone, breakers down, and WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I can’t be the only one weirded out that a guy such as Quintana embraced the Blake Snell Blueprint and killed with it, right? I need to see another start before truly buying his new approach, but consider me impressed and intrigued. Slot him in with the rest of the upside plays now, for sure, if not above them.

Joe Ross6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m waiting for Ross’ slider to truly kick into gear, and while it wasn’t poor here, it wasn’t the overpowering pitch we want it to be. He’s essentially back to the old two-pitch ways of sinkers/sliders, and it doesn’t breed confidence in me the way his past two starts would suggest. It’s too bad, maybe it’s because I didn’t choose him as the true streamer? It could work one more time against the Pirates, though there is a floor that I’d like to avoid like lava.

Glenn Sparkman6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Come off it Sparkman, we know you have a good day like once a month. Enjoy it.

Brett Anderson6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I really should have stuck with my original streaming choices. Canning, why you gotta be you? It’s a 3.40 ERA across his past eight starts with a 4.65 SIERA. Wait, no, that’s his K per nine. Sorry! 4.49 SIERA. Ouch Nick, that really hit me hard. You mean like batters against Anderson via a 36% hard-hit rate? A stat I rarely mention since it doesn’t do a great job of painting a picture? What is this blurb. I don’t know man, I don’t know.

Dylan Cease6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Cease got the Astros and after a leadoff SHOT by George Springer, it’s just one earned run in six frames … still with five walks. He’s not pitching to his ability in the slightest, and I wonder if this is a PEAS for the time being, ultimately becoming a Young Gun for next season. Sliders and curveballs are getting there, but weren’t quite right and you have to be right, quite, to succeed against the Astros. Next are the Angels, and I’m OK but not in love with that start.

Zac Gallen4.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Gallen had a date in Coors and … yeah. Velocity was still a bit up – nice – but the rest is what you expect given that he isn’t an ace (yet … 2020/21?). Now the Giants are going to ease the blow next time out, so let’s just move on.

Domingo German7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. A Gallows Pole here for German with 21 whiffs – 34/93 CSW as well – as he absolutely owned the O’s with his curveball. We’re talking 21/37 CSW on the pitch alone. THAT’S DUMB.

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. You may be like Fast and upset that A) he had a 1.50 WHIP and B) didn’t cruuuush the White Sox, but don’t be like Fast. Be positive and smile that you got a Win, a 3.00 ERA, and a strikeout per inning. It’s the little things.

Jason Vargas6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. No this isn’t the start of a Vargas Rule. It’s the start of your memory fading away like a Polaroid in McFly’s hand. Let’s be real, just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Chase Anderson5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember, it’s the Ill of the Chase. He’s calling you from Mediocri City and you don’t know why you answered the phone. EVERYONE JUST TEXTS THESE DAYS. Well don’t be rude by screaming at him. Sorry.

Griffin Canning4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I watched this one, and Canning’s overall command just wasn’t there … which is often the case with injuries and why DLH is a thing and I hate that I didn’t listen to myself. Streaming Record: 77-52. Stupid Anderson and Ross being such questionable plays I SHOULD HAVE STUCK TO MY GUT. Anyway, there’s a major problem and I feel bad that I didn’t notice it before. While I’m down to start him over the weekend against the White Sox, you should be dropping Canning after. Why? Because he has the worst anticipated ROS schedule of any pitcher in the bigs. It’s really too bad as I love his innate stuff, but this is simply too much of a gauntlet to endure. It’s a little better for Andrew Heaneywith Tampa Bay, an extra OAK start, Texas, and another White Sox game sprinkled in, but daaaaang. Canning will likely be one of my sleepers for 2020 now as the numbers are sure to dislike him, but yeah, you can drop now if you don’t need that Sunday start.

Eric Lauer5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh, it’s El. O. L. We were all hoping to not run into you again for a while. So you’re saying you had faith in me? What? No, we just want you not to be bad, you know?

Chris Sale6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna Ace. This had the air of signature excellence from Sale until a two-run shot in the sixth inning, but 12 Ks and a near 1.00 WHIP is still mighty pretty. Y’all are over the “Sale is bad” thing, right?

Alex Wood5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. I guess it’s OK, just nothing in his repertoire was any good. 90 mph heaters, 3 whiffs across 36 curveballs + changeups, and I’m not seeing what I want to see to get excited about Wood and suggest that he doesn’t hold the Toby label. That adhesive is melding with his polo right now. My name is Toby.

Mike Clevinger4.2 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Ugggggh. I thoroughly enjoy watching Clevinger pitch and seeing him allow hits on 0-2 counts frustrates me a bit, just like this line kinda kills your week. It’s too bad he got the Sawx yesterday and Yankees this weekend, sometimes life ain’t fair. Enjoy the weeks after, though and honestly, I’m still starting him against the Yanks. He’s just too good.

Brendan McKay4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 6 BBs, 7 Ks. McKay faced a right-handed heavy Padres lineup, used his cutter a ton and did a good job of getting it inside but didn’t generate as many quick outs with the pitch as you’d expect. Curveballs didn’t find the bottom of the zone often and he couldn’t quite get the Padres to chase when he wanted to. It’s weird, I still kinda liked McKay watching this, but often things just didn’t go right and at-bats fell apart. I’m still a big fan here and think there’s legit upside to hold onto.

Jordan Yamamoto5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yamamoto was dealt a hand filled with Dodgers and did his best to get through it. 21/98 CSW as he earned two whiffs on non-heaters is just … yeah. It was likely a sit for your squad and now it’s Coors. Oh. Maybe hold for after?

Yusei Kikuchi3.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Looks like he was Y3K today. So close from perfect disappointment. 

Zack Wheeler5.0 IP, 5 ER, 12 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Boy was Wheeler hittable in this one, just look at his strike zone plot. It’s pretty wild to see so many pitches in the direct middle of the strike zone. That’s not what you want. Like, at all. His curveball and changeup were non-factors and sliders were middling, forcing him to rely on fastballs that clearly weren’t hitting the edges – especially not north and south. Ugh. Alright, he gets the Royals next and that should be plenty better.

Trevor Williams5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s pretty easy to see the injury as the clear divider of good vs. bad T-Dub, but I can’t help but think this is the man he was all along. I actually wrote about why it all seemed like smoke and mirrors in my worst-titled article, and there’s really no reason to read that now. He’s just so clearly not worth your time, so I don’t know why I linked that. Carry on.

John Means 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. You know what a start against the Yankees means. It Johns that he allows a HR on the first pitch and doesn’t look back like it’s an explosion. He’s too cool to watch his failures.

Jeff Hoffman2.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. The Hoff Sorry, Jeff, because some famous person is trying to trademark that name or something, is so far removed from the former hotness of years past. Y’all probably didn’t know he was starting this game and that’s for the best.


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.


Homer Bailey vs. San Francisco Giants – I’m tempted to pick a side in the Allard vs. Reid-Foley game, but I’m leaning Bailey against the lowly Giants in spacious Oracle Park. Dillon Peters against the Pirates could work as well.


Tomorrow’s Streamer



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 against the Mariners as a decent option too.


Day After 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.


Game of the Day


Trevor Bauer vs. Stephen Strasburg – Mmmmm this is way too fun. And is going on at 4 p.m. because I guess today is camp day or something? So many afternoon games.

(Photo by Matthew Pearce/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 “Boyds Will Be Boyds”

  1. Sam Yost says:

    Matt Boyd is the new Chris Archer

  2. Former Boyd Boy says:

    Where are you on Boyd for next year?
    He can be one of my 3 keepers for $7. Should I still treat him as a keeper?

  3. theKraken says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but all advanced ERA estimators are primarily based on K rate. I think they also generally worship the questionable skill of HR aversion. For a pitcher that doesn’t K guys ERA estimators wont like him – there isn’t a lot of insight in them.

  4. theKraken says:

    I don’t see how McKay profiles as anything more than a back-end arm. His hype was always based on the whole two-way thing – as a pitcher I think he is currently overvalued.

  5. Andrew Jadwin says:

    You say Joe Ross is back to sinker/slider, but it looks like he’s dropped slider usage (28 to 18%) and added a curveball (0 to 10%) over last 5 starts, including yesterday.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Hey there!

      Interesting, Savant is showing 27% sliders and 50% sinkers from yesterday’s game. Six curveballs and four changeups are pretty negligible to me.

      It’s a bit frustrating since he did look a little different in his earlier starts, but he’s now pitching like his old self…without as good of a slider.

  6. AJ says:

    H/t Jeff Zimmerman


    Fangraphs has them as curves but maybe sliders after all

  7. Ryan says:

    Great call after Wheeler’s last start and 15 scoreless innings when you said something to the effect of; “don’t be fooled, this isn’t last years Wheeler, he’s just cruising”.

    There were a lot of “experts” out there singing praises and saying trade rumors messed with him. Then he does this. That’s why you’re the man.

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