Eflin On The Shelf

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

At a time when we really need our pitchers to be consistent, Zach Eflin has let us down. After yesterday’s 6.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks line, Eflin has allowed 6+ ER in three of his last four games. Hey, that’s consistent! NOT WHAT I MEANT. He’s always been a strike-thrower with his hard fastball and solid slide piece, but there really isn’t much else there, allowing aggressive teams to batter him if they head to the plate expecting to swing. The Dodgers had a field day here, forcing Eflin to introduce 20 curveballs along the way, which actually weren’t bad, but it wasn’t enough to nullify 1/22 whiffs on sliders and getting laced left and right. So what do we do? We can drop if there’s something good out there. He’s not a strikeout arm in the first place and if we can’t depend on him for ratios, then what’s the point? I’m sure he’ll have some good starts in the second half, but the Pirates are next with a good offense and I’m sitting that one out. Sidenote: I completely understand my slight dyslexia is making the headline work and doesn’t truly work in real life. Whatever, it stays.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Max Fried5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Sooooo just 18% CSW here against the Brewers. Yeah. I’ve been saying Fried is a decent buy-low for the second half and those expecting me to be thrilled about this one are going to be mistaken. Oh and then there’s this whole Left game due to a blister thing. Like, who does that? Nick, everyone with the new baseball. Fiiiiine. It may explain why his curveball and slider combined for 6/29 CSW and we’ll see if he makes his next start.

Joshua James1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. As much as I love seeing JJ’s name in the roundup, he was just an opener for Framber Valdez who still disappointed with a 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks line. Sure, there were also three unearned runs that didn’t do him any favors, but he’s far away from being a guy you want to roster right now. Even if the fours were with him today. Will James get his chance this year to replace Framber? I wouldn’t expect that as this was supposed to be Brad Peacock who had a setback and should be back at some point. The Astros will also get a starter at the deadline and there just isn’t enough room. Next year, hopefully.

Miles Mikolas9.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. He needed exactly 100 pitches to get through this one with an 87 mph slider. I hate how much he plays into the Home/Road splits, but this one was at home and I can’t run away from it. I guess that’s what we do now – start him at home, have caution on the road. Just how it is.

Jake Junis7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Prime Junis is a wonderful thing and when I say prime Junis, I mean prime Junis sliders – 15/35 whiffs on the pitch (crazy 45% Swinging Strike Rate!!) – helping him collect 36/107 CSW here. It’s really too bad we can’t bank on it showing up like this, not to mention there is nothing else in his repertoire to help him when it’s not this stupid good. So let’s enjoy this Birthday Party and move on to the next one. Streaming Record: 57-41.

Clayton Kershaw6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. This is prime Kersh. We like prime Kersh.

Dereck Rodriguez5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Kinda wild to see Dereck return and get just 66 pitches, but here we are and he cruised through five frames. This isn’t the start of something special, don’t get hooked. Please. Don’t.

Blake Snell5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s weird seeing Snell really move away from his breakers – sub 15% usage here is stupid low – and it’s costing him. Just 24/93 CSW as he went super fastball heavy and we’re still in a bit of purgatory. I expect him to get his confidence back with curveballs and sliders soon as he continues to feature heat up in the zone. He’ll get there and along the way, starts like these aren’t bad. 

Chi Chi Gonzalez5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Chi Chi, this is surprisingly not terrible given the circumstance. I guess I’m proud? Maybe? 

Kyle Hendricks6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Solid stuff from Hendricks, it’s too bad he couldn’t secure a Win to go with it. Regardless, he’s a solid play in the second half. You already knew that, though.

James Paxton6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Stupid Travis D’Arnaud ruining everything – that was just dumb. DUMB! – as Paxton earned 17 whiffs and cruised with heaters once again. I wonder if there’s another gear to hit with curveball and cutter becoming a bigger part of his approach, but I’ll take a Pax sitting 95/96 all night and going 16/63 CSW on four-seamers.

Jeff Samardzija6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Shocking stuff here from Samardzija in Coors. Seriously. It’s not three starts of 4 ER and 17 Ks across 21.2 IP and that’s all kinds of impressive. I don’t see anything underlying it all that suggests legitimacy for your rosters, but hey, we can appreciate a nice run, right? Just don’t trust it for long, he’s called Loose Lips for a reason, after all.

Griffin Canning1.1 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 2 Ks. This was something else. I’ve been hyping Canning as a possible 2nd half breakout pick and he was breaking out alright. Breaking out the acne on all of our lineups with wild pitches, six walks, and looking absolutely lost on the bump. I wonder if there is something else under the hood here – he was really emotional last time out and there may be things at play we’re not aware of. I’m still holding as I trust the skillset underneath and there really isn’t anything good to chase otherwise.

Luis Castillo6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. It’s weird to label a ten strikeout game as a Very Very Poor Quality Start but that’s what we have today from Castillo. Is this regression hitting? I hope this is all we have to deal with. I think it’s just a day where it didn’t go right outside of…26 whiffs?! Yes, that’s a Gallows Pole. Jeez man. Jeez.

Lucas Giolito6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, okay. Not a great outing from Giolito, but the single walk is great to see after his recent control issues. Here’s to hoping his second half is filled with months like May.

Adrian Houser6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This just isn’t working out Adrian. I kicking you out of my Houser and bringing in Corey. He’s already in the Houser. Noted.

Joe Musgrove4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Awwww I was really hoping this one was going to be a strong game from Musgrove as he’s made a rise on my List for a few weeks. 92.5 mph on his four-seamer is fine, but we’ve seen 93/94 in the past and this is a slight step back. The walks are unusual as well and even with the strikeouts, it’s lacking the polish we’re expecting to see from Musgrove as he grows. I still think he’s a hold given the landscape, but that may change in a week or two.

Rick Porcello6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. Porcello has been far from stellar lately – 17 ER in his previous three starts! – and even a date with the Jays didn’t get him recalibrated. Stream elsewhere and don’t hold on.

Daniel Norris5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Cool to see the Ks, not so cool to see more of the same ratio-wise (that 6th burned him). 34% CSW is strong as his changeup and slider were working, and his velocity is above 91 mph now. These are all good things. Keep tracking it as we see fluctuations from Norris all the time – this could easily fade by next time.

Adam Plutko5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yeaaaaah, you don’t want to deal with the off-brand Plinko. Clink clink clink. YOU WON A CAN OF PEAS! A can of peas? HAISTFMFWT?!

Trent Thornton1.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. This wasn’t meant to be a fun night for the misspelled hotel (Double-Tee) as he had a date with the Red Sox and his command hasn’t been consistent. There could be something down the line, but right now there’s zero reason to chase it.

German Marquez2.2 IP, 11 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Hooooo boy. I’ve led with Marquez enough this year, but there’s a lot to say here. Or is there? I mean, it’s a 5.00+ ERA now, though it was sub 4.50 entering this…experience. I say this often, it’s not about what they’ve done, it’s about what they could do. This start is behind us. I think we can all bet it won’t happen again this year. He’s going to get dropped and I’m picking him up there. The upside is too high to neglect among the sea of poor floors and low ceilings. There’s still talent here and unless there is an injury at play, I’d still consider owning him. Heck, even against the Yankees on the road next week (probably not though). It’s Marquez. The guy who has gone crazy good for months as recently as last year’s second half. Obviously don’t expect that, but when you have nothing else to chase, why not this?

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.


Daniel Mengden vs. Seattle Mariners – I could see Mengden cruising for a QS here. Michael Pineda vs. New York Mets – I thought Pineda was above the 20% threshold AND I WAS WRONG. I’d favor his strikeout upside and solid velocity against the Mets.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Spencer Turnbull vs. Cleveland Indians – There are some interesting options here, and I’m taking a bit of a chance that Turnbull’s last outing was DLH based.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tanner Roark vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Roark is fresh off Coors and a date with the Cardinals should be a good transition into production.


Game of the Day 


Andrew Heaney vs. Houston Astros – I have Heaney ranked inside the Top 40 despite his recent struggles and I can imagine a strong start against a good Houston team would help explain a lot of it.


(Photo by Gavin Baker/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.

12 responses to “Eflin On The Shelf”

  1. Philip Sperling says:

    Maybe i’m just an optimist, but I think this is Castillo taking the next step, transitioning into the strike zone a bit more. Perhaps less walks and more hits is part of this process….We’ll see.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Could be interesting, as long as he’s pumping 97 mph a ton of whiffs via changeups and sliders, he’ll be just fine.

  2. David says:

    So Pineda is your #1 choice for the stream, do you like Plesac or L.Allen?

  3. TheKraken says:

    What is HOU doing? Remeber when everyone was disappointed that he wasnt opening the year in the rotation? Its mind boggling that when he is in the rotation they are committed to pulling him for an inferior arm. That game game plan yesterday was the pinnacle of stupidity in a game plan. I guess they feel that signaling their progressive nature is more important than winning at times. It tells you a lot about the state of the game. It is smart to have a quick hook with your starter but planning to remove a better arm for a worse one is just plain stupid.

  4. TheKraken says:

    I didn’t watch Canning but that kind of soinds like a potential injury.

  5. Jack says:

    re: Marquez, it was funny to look down and see a 37.13 ERA on Monday. And now it’ll be fun to watch my team try and come back.

    I have Canning also; oof. I’m hoping he’s just still emotional about Skaggs and not hurt like TheKraken surmises.

  6. Mark Reynolds says:

    In a 10 Team Daily Points League where strikeouts are worth a lot (YTD Max Scherzer & Mookie both have 700 points – Ranked 9th overall), and most teams carry only 1 bench hitter, I was offered a trade of Max Scherzer for Mookie Betts. Normally i’d think Mookie is more valuable, but with my line up the way it is i’m having to sit either Voit, Kepler or Semien each day, is it worth moving Mookie for Max and adding someone off the wire as my bench player?

  7. Andy says:

    Musgrove suffered from some really poor defense during the game, as well as a lot of rain. I think on a more typical day he would have gone 6IP 2ER.

  8. Drew says:

    Are we expecting limitations on Kershaw down the stretch (specifically, in the fantasy playoffs)? Have a reasonable offer on the table for him that I’m inclined to take, but if there’s real doubt about his ability to help when it matters most for fantasy purposes, I’m not sure he’s worth an acquisition? My playoff spot is locked up, just trying to help my squad for the 6-team dance come September.

  9. AnswersToQuestions says:

    Youd start heaney today?

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