Civale Pardon

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

I didn’t expect myself to so quickly turn into an Aaron Civale fan, but what he did in the first of the CLE/CWS double-header was remarkable. I’m not talking about the line exactly – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – I’m talking more about his approach. The mad man threw 20% fastballs, instead favoring a heavy dosage of cutters, curveballs, and sliders instead. The results? Oh, just a 39% CSW and 16 whiffs, earning him a Gallows PoleYeah, THIS IS AWESOME.

We’ve noticed for a while how wOBA for secondary pitches are way lower than fastballs and wondering if someone who has the brass to turn their heater into a surprise secondary offering, using breaking pitches and changeups as their primary attack. Civale did that yesterday. The White Sox couldn’t handle it. He earned a 16% SwStr after holding a sub 9% clip through all of last season. This is legit. 

His command was also very much on point, saving that heater for situations like an 0-2 back-door two-seamer for a backward K or a shocking heater on the inside corner for 0-0 after establishing an entirely different game-plan prior. Now, this could have been worse in a few innings where he escaped some jams, but Tim Anderson’s longball was on a solid curveball off the plate away. It evens out in my book.

I’m not sure where I’m placing Civale on The List next Monday quite yet, but it’s easily inside the Top 50 at this point. I love this.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Kyle Gibson vs ARI (L) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a bit iffy with that WHIP from Gibson (three unearned runs here), but I’ll take it. I’m not overly impressed, but certainly, enough to consider going after him now for the Giants start next week. I mean, just 8 whiffs and 26% CSW on 93 pitches is a bit underwhelming, but he’s getting pushed and he can take advantage of San Francisco lineup.

Yonny Chirinos vs ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Great to see Yonny back on the hill, which came with the expected short outing, but nevertheless, he started and did well. I’ll take 10/26 CSW on his splitter, with fastballs at 94 mph, and a few decent sliders as well. Still a few bad misses along the way, but I can see Chirinos being a decent 12-teamer arm for next week against the Orioles.

Kyle Zimmer @ DET (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Kyle earned a start, but Zimmer down, children. There’s nothing of interest here for fantasy.

Merrill Kelly @ TEX (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Whoaaa, a pitcher who can go into the seventh eighth inning?! Kelly had a 32% CSW with 12 whiffs here, doing an excellent job spotting cutters and fastballs glove-side all night. A remarkable outing, though I have my long-term skepticism. 92mph isn’t the Kelly we saw when he dominated last year, and his cutter & curveball weren’t nearly as effective as we’ve seen in the past. Shocked to see an improved changeup here with many falling right under the zone, though I’m not sure that will stick. It was a great night against the Rangers, but I think those that grab him now will be disappointed when he faces the Dodgers next week.

Tanner Roark @ WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Roark is hoping to be a Toby and so far, so good. I’m a little surprised he wasn’t able to go into the sixth with just 73 pitches and I don’t think he was particularly sharp here, so be careful based on this line. He could easily have trouble with the Phillies and Sawx next.

Patrick Sandoval vs SEA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. There’s still a good amount of work to be done here for The Irish Panda. Solid line across 62 pitches, but he’s still a bit sporadic with his slider and changeup (despite 10/28 whiffs between them! The stuff is there), and he pumped way too many heaters down the pipe. Something to monitor through the year as this could take a step forward late and hint more for a 2021 breakout.

Adam Plutko vs CWS (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m stunned to tell you that Plutko had a 34% CSW here earning – get this – 11/45 SwStr on his fastball. That’s a 24% SwStr on a 91 mph heater. WHAT. He did a great job of spotting the pitch up and arm-side, while mixing sliders and curveballs lower in and out of the zone. It’s the best I’ve seen Plutko and the result was…well, good but not unreal. That’s the nature of a Toby and it makes me have caution endorsing him for the long haul. But hey, he was able to go deep and if the Indians need a 6th starter again (or maybe if Zac Plesac strongly disappoints?), Plutko could steal you another Win.

Alec Mills @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. So Alec made it work again. It’s Toby-esque, but 30% CSW as he flung some curveballs for changeups with some good changeups and hammered the zone with fastballs, often getting away with pitches down the middle. I think his command is a bit above-average, though, and I’m in for his next start against the Pirates, especially as he’ll likely get to go more than 77 pitches now. Don’t expect the world, though.

Derek Holland vs MIL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Man, remember when I was really excited for Holland? He still has whiffability (11/90 whiffs!) as his knuckle curve consistently fell down-and-away from left-handers, while he peppered the top of the zone with sinkers effectively. This is as good as we’ll see from the Derek as he brought the Dutch Invasion with him. I’m a little cautious he’ll do it again and there’s no reason to make an add now with the Twins up next.

David Peterson @ BOS (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehh, he did a good job with sinkers arm-side, but I didn’t see enough here for me to get excited at all. Sorry Mets fans. Fastball was 92/93, he had a few really good breakers, but the rest was just fine. I wouldn’t make any moves here.

Homer Bailey vs STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Homer Bale was fine. I feel like I can just end it there. He wasn’t super locked in with his splitter (4/18 CSW), his slider was decent, and his heaters avoided the heart of the plate for the most part. But hey, he’s on the winning Twins team and you’ll get some Wins along the way, especially when he’s throwing more than 80 pitches. That’ll be cool. Cleveland + Kansas City await so I’m holding on.

Austin Voth vs TOR (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Talk about what I didn’t expect. Well, the line was in line, but just 91.4 mph on his heater, which he featured 66% of the time, and he earned just one whiff on 33% secondary pitches. This is from a guy that we were hyped on because he had three secondary pitches above a 15% SwStr. This ain’t it.

Antonio Senzatela @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Even with only a 3.60 ERA, that WHIP brings it all down so far. So very far. 

Tyler Mahle vs CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I liked his separation of fastballs around the edges & up mixed with glove-side and low sliders + changeups along the arm-side edge. It led to 36% CSW across 69 pitches and I think Mahle is in a good place at the moment. I’m 100% in for his next start against the Tigers as the pitch count will be higher + hopefully some of their bats return to the lineup to help secure a win.

Josh Lindblom @ PIT (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Lindblom’s heater was coming in around 90/91 and I wasn’t too thrilled about it, but his stuff was breaking well and it looked like he was capable of going at least five here for a solid stream…until he had a rough fourth and was pulled with back cramps. I’d monitor if he’s okay moving forward, but you’re safe dropping now with the White Sox and Reds next. Streaming Record: 0-5. Maybe one day I’ll pick a good streamer again. Maybe one day. Nick, you had a 104-67 record last year. You gots this. Do I though? DO I?! I’m embracing the chaos of the season, I knew I’d be wrong a lot. So whatever, let’s go 0-66!

Walker Buehler @ HOU (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Aces gonna go just 56 pitches and earn just 1 whiff on secondary pitches. That’s not what you want, but he was sitting 96 mph and he’ll be fine. Likely up to about 70 pitches next time, then ~80, then we’re golden. Really frustrating you have to wait that long, but you’ll be so thrilled at the end of August. So thrilled.

Rony Garcia vs KC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. I expected worse, to be honest, but he held a 36% CSW with 5 whiffs on 42 pitches. Decent slider with a low arm slot that makes it look a bit like a frisbee, but that’s really it as he threw 93 mph with some run and nothing excited me. Sadly, he gets the Cup of Schmo label.

Zach Davies @ SF (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. It feels weird to type, but I think we’re legit undervaluing Davies as a legit Toby to stream. I kinda hate that I overlooked this stream myself as he faced a weak Giants team while going 9/28 CSW on changeups and having a ball at the bottom of the zone. He has a good offense behind him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes advantage of solid matchups in the future. Don’t overextend (ala Coors next week, no thanks), but keep him in mind at the very least.

Framber Valdez vs LAD (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. The Astros needed some help in their rotation and got 13 decent outs from Valdez. Houston was forced to make this choice, fortunately you don’t. Framber is not the answer.

Justus Sheffield @ LAA (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Awwwww, I really wanted Sheffield to take his 30%+ CSW from the end of 2019 and keep it going. This is keepin’ it not going. It’s way worse. Sinkers were favored exclusively over four-seamers and they were decently located, but not with enough control inside the zone, while his slider went just 3/23 on whiffs. We’re going to have to wait a little longer for this one.

Matt Hall vs NYM (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. If you started Matt, you knew it was likely a one-way ticket to Hall and backI could have gone so many ways with this and that’s what I settled on. Yep.

Daniel Mengden vs COL (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Do I expect anything from Mengden? Not really, save for an option later on in the year as a streamer. Not in the near future as he isn’t stretched out enough, but maybe in a month or so.

Dylan Cease @ CLE (L) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Yikes. Cease was a dart throw where we were hoping he had fixed his command issues. Cease did not. His changeup floated up a ton, heaters weren’t hitting their spots, and his curveball did whatever it wanted. You can move on.

Carlos Rodon @ CLE (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. It’s what we remember about Rodon and I was really hoping to create some new, fresh, and fun memories. His slider has the movement, but I think he’s too inconsistent with his arm-circle at the moment, often lagging behind and struggling to get consistent timing at his release point. I know it sounds weird coming from me where I’m sitting, but I think a Lucas Giolitoesque arm-circle change would do wonders for Rodon. Until I see a major change that creates consistency, we’re just going to keep flipping the coin, hoping on a given day he’s in rhythm. That’s not how I like to do things.

Kyle Wright @ TB (L) – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Wright had some hype last year when he had a shot early and we were saddened when his pitches were all over the place. It’s like seeing two black cats twice in the row but it’s actually not a glitch. This is real life. I wonder if the Braves will try a few other arms out next, maybe even expedite Ian Anderson to the fray. I’d love to see that, even if it means I have to etch out time for my fourth GIF Breakdown in a week (Pearson and Howard coming tonight and Friday!). Ian’s worth it.

Jeff Samardzija vs SD (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Well well well. If it ain’t Loose Lips hoping to avoid regression on your fastball and cutter. And what’s this? A HAISTFMFWT?! Things aren’t looking your way, sonny. You called? Gray, get out of here, go be an ace n stuff. This is for guys I used to like back in the day. Oh, cool. 

Carlos Martinez @ MIN (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Oh no. CarMart had a very difficult second inning against the Twins and sported just a 93 mph heater sinkers were coming in at 91 mph and while his overall command wasn’t actually terrible, his repertoire didn’t look incredibly sharp. He’s not ready. He gets the Tigers next and I think I’d stick around for that one, but if that goes poorly…yeah we’re done here.


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.


Danny Duffy vs. Detroit TigersIt’s ace day and I’d consider Zac Plesac against the ChiSox as well, but I’ll go with Duffy in the better matchup. Here’s to hoping we get a Quality Start out of it.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Marco Gonzales vs. Los Angeles AngelsPlease don’t. Brady Singer is the obvious one, but he’s too highly owned, and it’s between Marco, Ivan NovaTyler AndersonJohn Means (vs. NYY with his recent arm issues) and Martin Perez. Blegh.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tyler Chatwood vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – He increased his cutter usage with its higher velocity and had himself a day against the Brewers. Now he gets the Pirates, let’s do it.


Game of the Day


Nate Pearson vs. Washington Nationals – I’ll be writing a GIF Breakdown of this start that should come out right around 8:30 pm EST, so be on the lookout for that. There’s also Cristian Javier making his debut for the Astros that I’m excited to watch as well, oh and it’s ace day with so many studs going. Today rocks.


(Photo by Will Powers/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.

8 responses to “Civale Pardon”

  1. Tom says:

    Who would you rather own Civale or Houser?

  2. Perfect Game says:

    Looking at Civale and Maeda. For better ratios and QS who would you grab?

  3. wizardbeef says:

    Not pleased at starting Boyd today, so am thinking of grabbing one of Plesac, Eovaldi or Duffy to try to counteract the probable WHIP spike I’ll take in the heart today. Who do you go for?

  4. Daniel M Johnson says:

    It was second inning that was rough for C-Mart. He didn’t even make it to the fifth…sadly for my fantasy team.

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