Braggin’ Master Lance

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Lance McCullers Jr. @ CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.

I wanted to take a moment to sing some praise in the name of Lance McCullers, who dominated the strong White Sox lineup on Friday via 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks (11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches). It puts him under a 3.00 ERA with a 26% strikeout rate and just one outing of the season above three earned runs. Still, despite this, there is one element he can’t quite nail down – efficiency.

His WHIP sits above a 1.20 mark for a good reason – he has yet to get comfortable with his entire repertoire across a string of starts. In this one, he had both his slider and curveball worked (a rarity!) and his sinker found the zone with ease. It may be the start of something clicking for Lance, I’m inclined, given the track record, to believe it’s a moment of bliss that could fade in the coming weeks. I sure hope not, though, as McCullers with two excellent breakers and a sinker that finds the zone constantly equates to a force on the mound, instead of one Dragon dragging your team’s WHIP to the bottom of the ranks.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Chad Kuhl vs NYM (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 86 pitches.

Kuhl pulled a page from the EJax book here with five walks, but hey, he’s tossing 50% sliders and surviving because of it. Becoming fantasy relevant? Probably not, but it’s a start. Just get that fastball above 95 mph and we’ll be in touch.

Eduardo Rodriguez @ NYY (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.

It’s about dang time. Eduardo had his fastball command once again, but finally paired it with a strong changeup and he dominated a weakened Yankee lineup. He’ll get them a second time and while this is certainly exciting, it’s hard to tell if the slow ball will be back again. I’m leaning toward going for it, but it’s close.

Robbie Ray vs TEX (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna ace as Ray earned himself a Gallows Pole (which is now displayed on player pages!). His slider and curve combined for just 30% usage as they did what they needed to do (be thrown for strikes) and the heater did the rest. I’m still in absolute awe of Ray’s simple tweak – pitching coaches hate him! – changing his whole season in a blink of an eye. It also makes pre-season rankings of pitchers so dang hard and honestly, makes us look so silly comparing ERA/WHIP of previous seasons to suggest what a pitcher can or can’t do this year. We just don’t know who will make the adjustments and who won’t.

Ross Detwiler @ PHI (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 18 pitches.

He opened for Jordan Hollowaywho went 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, the fella pitched five no-hit innings across 72 pitches, tossing 95 mph heaters and a decent slider. I’m not signing up for this ES-335 Holloway, but I sure as h*ck respect it.

Madison Bumgarner vs CHC (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

This certainly looks like Bumgarner has returned and is here to stay, except that he sat 89.4 mph instead of the 91/92 mph we saw pre-injury. Yikes. I’d be cautious with this one, though the Pirates are awfully tempting next time out…that’s a tough call.

Danny Duffy vs BAL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 54 pitches.

Oh my. Not only did he go just 54 pitches, but his fastball velocity dropped again, this time down to 92 mph. If you’re just tuning in, Duffy had 94/95 mph heaters back in April/May, hit the IL, had 93 mph last time out and this is…bad. The Royals are going to try to get one good outing from Duffy this month as they look to trade him, but I wouldn’t touch him if I were any competitive club (what do I know). This is rough.

Logan Webb @ STL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 60 pitches.

I’m glad Webb returned to get the Cardinals and this ain’t so bad. He was limited to just 60 pitches and likely needs just one more to get back up to speed. His slider was solid, changeup was…fine, just barely touched, and Webb is a considerable add, just not one I have to make, especially with the Dodgers next.

Kyle Hendricks @ ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.

Yet another 6+ inning performance from Hendricks, who has done so every start since May 9th. Wild. It’s nice to be inside the full harvest of Hendricks’ season – there is one every year – and let’s hope it lasts for a while.

Chris Flexen @ LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 79 pitches.

This Vargas Rule keeps on chugging, here with just two strikeouts across 21 outs because sure, why not. I don’t think I need to do much more convincing here, just look at that full line and have yourself a sensible chuckle.

Matt Moore vs MIA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 79 pitches.

Wow. WOW. I hope Moore gave a wink to Velasquez after getting pulled here, as if to say “see, this is easy as pie.” No, this isn’t a renaissance, just a Birthday Party that had to get shut down at 10 pm because they went too dang hard.

Marcus Stroman @ PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

Stro had a chance to get his revenge against the Pirates and it was…fine. He had himself a wonderful stretch to kick off the year and about a month ago, it started to come apart. He hasn’t quite found that groove across the full repertoire and it means he’s becoming…a TobyGASP. I hope he proves me wrong next time out.

Sandy Alcántara @ PHI (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 80 pitches.

Sigh. It’s odd seeing three of his last four starts fail to reach six frames after doing so in ten of his previous eleven starts but here we are. I won’t back down from what I see in his repertoire and what we’re witnessing is a pitcher going through his development to become the arm he’s meant to be, though there are getting to be a few too many days of him failing to have command of his repertoire. Here, his changeup sat in the middle of the zone while fastballs sat a little too much along the edges and off the plate, while his slider couldn’t save him. Don’t do anything silly, he’ll figure this out.

Eli Morgan @ OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 84 pitches.

Six strikeouts are cool, the rest sure is not. I don’t Eli does quite enough in his approach to make him a fantasy asset and for those thinking of that glorious slow ball, it went just 2/21 whiffs yesterday. So yeah, let’s not get carried away.

Dylan Cease vs HOU (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 104 pitches.

Believe it or not, Cease had ten strikeouts against the Astros despite not getting the chases he normally gets on his slider (he was missing just a bit too much off the plate). Fortunately, his changeup, fastball, and curveball stepped up to help him survive and we’re in the same place we were before with Cease. He’s improved this season, though there is another tweak or two left for him to truly leap into our hearts. I wonder if he’ll get there in time.

Charlie Morton vs TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 107 pitches.

It ain’t the prettiest (a VPQS rarely is) but at least you got eight strikeouts along the way. Pity the bullpen didn’t let him keep the Win.

Jordan Montgomery vs BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

PQS from The Bear ain’t bad, especially with a sub 1.00 WHIP, but we want more from the southpaw. His changeup and curveball did wonders in the whiff department – 14/46 whiffs! – the heater just didn’t quite do enough to help him get there and put guys away for good. Seriously, he pitched pretty dang well save for a rough second frame. Not well enough to make him a clear start in a repeat matchup next week, but encouraging that he can take that step in the future.

Sean Manaea vs CLE (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 96 pitches.

Not the sexiest of Manaea starts, but hopefully a King Cole and 15 whiffs between his sinker and changeup ease the wound. He’s still at 92 mph on his heater as well and y’all should have no fear, Manaea is here.

Michael Wacha @ ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 78 pitches.

Welp, the changeup wasn’t nearly as good as last time and Atlanta, despite not having Ronald Acuña, punished Wacha. Pack it up y’all. Streaming Record: 57-43. Yeah, he was a “Do Not Start” but I had zero options in a higher tier. So it goes.

Adam Wainwright vs SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

So it’s a Dusty Donut with that poor ERA but hey, at least Waino is still providing value to your squads after we all collectively wrote him off in the winter. It’s pretty dang remarkable how well he’s doing and I’d expect his curveball to do better than an 18% CSW next time out as he gets the Cubs.

Julio Urías @ COL (W) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

Blegh. Sure, it was Coors, but Urías has the stuff to survive it regardless. His changeup was hung up plenty and his curveball wasn’t consistent enough to bear the burden. I still believe in the skills over time and this was just a Colorado blip.

Adrian Houser @ CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 71 pitches.

Houser served us a HAISTFMFWT?! and I didn’t really expect much else. He had a decent curveball in this one at least…?

Andrew Heaney vs SEA (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 79 pitches.

The man is becoming less of a Cherry Bomb and more of a Very Bomb as he couldn’t handle the Mariners. Sigh. There’s so much potential in that arm and he just can’t string it together. Hopefully AH will have his AH-HA! moment and we can laugh with him.

Chris Paddack @ WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 80 pitches.

Welp, if you haven’t dropped Paddack yet, it sure feels like time to do so. He’s down to 94.1 mph on his heater, his changeup returned 19% CSW and the man looks nothing like the 2019 self. You were so close four weeks ago. 

Zach Eflin vs MIA (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches.

Blegh. Eflin, you maddening man. BRETT FAVRE IS THE GREA—No, no, no, like he drives me up the wall. Ohhhhh. In the end, Eflin will likely be better than some average waiver wire add, but he’s awfully close to a Toby at the moment and take that into consideration when you need to get that one guy off the wire.

Tyler Mahle vs MIL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

Annnnnd this is why Mahle isn’t higher on The List and won’t get an AGA label. He’s a better version of José Berríos (read: more strikeouts) and that’s cool with us. It’s possible that Mahle somehow unlocks a true third pitch in the future and rises quickly up the ranks but don’t expect that. In the meantime, enjoy a solid #3/#4 starter and call it a day.

Keegan Akin @ KC (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Nope. Nope. Noooooope.

Erick Fedde vs SD (L) – 1.1 IP, 6 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 57 pitches.

Sure, it was the Padres, but remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes.

Jordan Lyles @ TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.

Toronto is legit, yo. Lyles…isn’t. Y’all knew not to go with this one, let’s move on.

Chi Chi González vs LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 75 pitches.

The location? Coors. The suspect? Los Angeles Dodgers. Victim? Not your fantasy teams.


Game of the Day 


Adbert Alzolay vs. Zac Gallen – I want to watch the ascension of Alzolay while Gallen returns and hopefully looks like the man he’s supposed to be.

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 Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (Twitter: graphical_ark)

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.

One response to “Braggin’ Master Lance”

  1. BB says:

    Pretty clear by now what to expect from Mahle at home: 8 GS, 41 IP, 6.37 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 11 HRA. (Road: 11 GS, 60 IP, 2.26 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 3 HR). He needs to be streamed like the typical Rockies SP, and we can only hope for a trade (however unlikely).

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