Buy The Gallen

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Zac Gallen vs CHC (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 77 pitches.

It hasn’t been the season we envisioned for Zac GallenHe went on the IL before the season started, then after a surprise return before the All-Star Break, he was sidelined once again with a hamstring injury. However, he shocked us – again – by returning yesterday against the Cubs and he was excellent via 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks (9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 77 pitches), and we have to wonder if this is the Gallen we should expect moving forward.

We’re not quite at the point of Gallen looking like the ace of legend – 2/18 whiffs on changeups is not ideal, for example – but he located the slow ball well and had a good feel for his slider and curveball. He was able to fire four-seamers over the plate effectively…albeit a tick slower than we saw pre-injury and his overall command was plenty better than the erratic moments we’ve seen through his career. In short, he wasn’t excellent, but for a Still ILL performance, he was plenty better than expected. Now let’s hope the changeup whiffs and velocity return as he continues to build the feel for his breakers.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Tylor Megill @ PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 93 pitches.

Ayyyy the man can go six frames! All it takes is a sub 25% CSW and just two strikeouts. Oh. Yeah, his changeup went 0/15 whiffs and he relied on BABIP to make this one work – not a bad plan when it’s the Pirates, but when it’s the Jays next, that plan ain’t gonna fly. If you held him for this, I’d search for something else the rest of the week.

Kwang Hyun Kim vs SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

It’s wild how good Kim has been in his contention for Spider-Manhere earning just one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!yet providing fantastic ratios and a Win. His changeup is still missing bats, too, so there’s no reason to pull him back now.

Luis Castillo vs MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 101 pitches.

I think it’s time for us to recognize that Castillo has become more of a fastball/slider guy than a fastball/changeup guy as of late. For example, his changeup hasn’t returned double-digit whiffs in ages, but here’s his slider going 11/21 whiffs in this one as he’s burning 98 mph heaters past batters. His slider has earned a 40% CSW in four of his last six starts, during which the changeup has failed to do so once. And honestly, this should excite you. Castillo’s slider has been the weakest link for a long time and I’d wager the slow ball will come back at some point for Castillo. Now there’s a chance he has all three pitches working together and that would be absolutely brilliant.

Vince Velasquez vs MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 84 pitches.

Velasquez knows how to take advantage of the Marlins and I’m so proud of him. Streaming Record: 58-43. Sadly, he doesn’t face them every time, so back to the wire you go.

José Ureña vs MIN (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 42 pitches.

Ureña left this one early with groin tightness. Poor guy.

Zach Thompson @ PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 60 pitches.

A surprisingly short start for Thompson, though he was coming back from an illness. His cutter wasn’t nearly as good as we’ve seen in the past – 0/17 whiffs – but he churned outs and he could have gone six strong in normal circumstances. Sadly he gets the Padres next and I’d be fine throwing him back to the wire and try to pick him back up for the Orioles after. Up to you if you want to hold through it.

Max Fried vs TB (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 96 pitches.

Phew. I’m stoked to see Fried back in the rotation and looking fantastic once again. His curveball was unreal in this one, earning 16/21 strikes and 71% CSW, helping mask a slider that wasn’t at its best. His fastball was good enough at a solid 94 mph and that’s the game. This could pave the way for a glorious two-month close to the season.

Alex Cobb vs SEA (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 109 pitches.

The Thing returned 11/41 whiffs (yes, 41 splitters!) and he was able to land curveballs for strikes. That’s the ticket to success for Cobb and I’m happy he was able to make it work. He gets the Twins next and I’d pass on that one – the floor is too low.

Cal Quantrill @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

He’s the UnQuantrillfiable, plowing through five innings without an electric sinker or slider. Seriously, his sinker was all over the place and I’m not seeing anything that suggests Nicoderm CQ has figured it out. I think the man formerly known as So-So Cal has more nicknames than any other starter. Don’t ask why, I have no idea.

Lucas Giolito vs HOU (W) – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 107 pitches.

Aces gonna ace as Giolito earned himself a King ColeI think we can put all the worries to rest now, yeah? Cool.

Nathan Eovaldi @ NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 94 pitches.

I really have to hand it to Eovaldi. This was in the rain and he still managed to have a good enough set of secondaries to keep the Yankees on their toes – all four returned a CSW above 35%! – and while the Yanks aren’t at their strongest now, I am turning around on Eovaldi. His slider, curveball, cutter, and splitter have been there more often than not and I’ll raise him a good amount on The List tomorrow.

Gerrit Cole vs BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That’s a King Colehis fourth of the year, and if you’re not buying that Cole is completely fine post-Spider Tack after two straight dominant outings against the Astros and Red Sox, I’m not sure what else you need. Sure, the previous one didn’t come with the whiffs you want, but the results were there & it was more dominance here. Slider returned 47% CSW, curveball at 55% CSW, fastball at 98 mph with eight whiffs, and his command was elite. He’s back.

Charlie Barnes @ DET (L) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 68 pitches.

The stuff is far from what you want from a rookie – sub 90 mph heat + a changeup that relies on BABIP – and if he finds regular time in the majors in the future, he’ll be aiming to be a Toby at best. So yeah, let’s ignore this.

Walker Buehler @ COL (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Coors? Never heard of it. All the secondaries are clicking and we’re in the middle of prime Buehler season. Awwww yeah.

Tyler Alexander vs MIN (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 48 pitches.

T-Lex was never supposed to last in this one and did the best he could. Remember when he fanned nine consecutive Reds batters? How?!

Frankie Montas vs CLE (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 94 pitches.

His splitter and slider were fantastic once again and his fastballs found the edges…once again. Montas is in a groove and we could be in for a fantastic second-half.

Brandon Woodruff @ CIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Sure, it’s a Phillybut everything helps here. It’s a 2.12 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP and 30% K rate across 119 frames thus far and that’s just glorious. I wonder how many frames the Brewers will let him tally this season.

Adbert Alzolay @ ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 69 pitches.

It didn’t hurt you all too much, but it sure didn’t do a whole lot. The slider was far from its elite form – 2/19 whiffs?! Was is this, a Happ slider?! – and he displayed a cutter that allowed both RBI hits. It’s a step back of an outing and let’s hope he can follow “The Cardinal Rule” next time out.

Kyle Freeland vs LAD (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 76 pitches.

I’m impressed Freeland was able to pump out a PQS and 1.00 WHIP against the Dodgers in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean I have to pick him up now. Y’all don’t want to do that.

Anthony DeSclafani @ STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 81 pitches.

We all wanted more than a PQS from Tony Disco as he faced the dismal St. Louis offense, but whatever, we’ll take it and the 0.87 WHIP. He gets another major test next against the Dodgers and I think I’m out for that one – it’s the one clear opponent DeSclafani simply hasn’t been able to handle all year.

Kenta Maeda @ DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.

Maeda got some bad luck to allow three of his four baserunners to score as he had solid – not elite – splitters and sliders. I’m leaning Go go go but I think his next start against the Angels is the proper test. It is time Maeda, show me what you got.

Jake Odorizzi @ CWS (L) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 73 pitches.

Womp womp. The White Sox are a strong squad and Odorizzi didn’t have his A-Game (One strikeout!? HAISTFMFWT?!). Fastballs missed a bit too much, his splitter and slider were blegh and…yeah, you don’t roster Odorizzi for matchups like these. You roster him for the Rangers next time out.

Wil Crowe vs NYM (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 88 pitches.

I’ll forever be searching for another day when Crowe earns at least seven whiffs on both his slider and changeup again. The two combined for eight total as rain slides down the window sill of my study. I guess I should close the curtains. 

Blake Snell @ WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 74 pitches.

Yikes. We’re not where we need to be with Snell. I was happy to see him pound the zone with four-seamers, but they were the heart of the plate and were promptly mashed. Meanwhile, the slider and curveball are not getting enough strikes and voila, there’s your poor outing. The stuff is there, we’re just waiting for the tweak that sticks as he’s a PEAS for now.

Jorge Lopez @ KC (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 80 pitches.

JorLo is the forever PEASthe frozen bag in your freezer you never intend to open.

Patrick Corbin vs SD (ND) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

I’m absolutely shocked to see Corbin at 93 mph on his heater yet return 1/46 whiffs between four-seamers and sinkers. It may sound weird, but I actually think he pitched a little better than the line looks and he’s kinda startable against the Orioles next. Fine, fine, they hit lefties well, but still. The skills were better than the line. Weird.

Josh Fleming @ ATL (L) – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 11% CSW, 72 pitches.

Ouch. Fleming could appear out of nowhere and make a bid for a streaming pick in the second half, but yeah, let’s avoid that for now.

Yusei Kikuchi @ LAA (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.

Nooooooo. I’m a bit worried about Kikuchi as his fastball was sub 95 mph for the second straight start, forcing him to go heavy on sliders at a 40% clip and turn away from four-seamers and cutters. It might just be a rough moment he’s in, it could also spell a fall from grace. Monitor this.

Brady Singer vs BAL (L) – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 60 pitches.

You’ve put us through so many emotions all season Singer and here’s a good display of why you’ve been off The List in previous weeks. The sinker/slider approach just isn’t enough.


Game of the Day 


Logan Gilbert vs. Patrick Sandoval – Sure, there are a ton of great matchups, but here are two young arms trying to make it happen. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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 from Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong 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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