Feasting At JJ’s Diner

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

It’s been a weird few weeks for Jake Junis. He had two great starts with his slider, went on paternity leave and returned looking out of his rhythm, then had a poor bottom line but pitched well last time out. With the Red Sox yesterday, while I expected him to pitch better than usual, it was a clear sit … or so I thought. He returned a 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks line against the strong Boston offense, and now you’re wondering what we do with JJ. I expected to see Junis excelling with his slider, and it oddly wasn’t the case with just 1/27 whiffs and 22% CSW on the pitch. Nope, he attacked with four-seamers at 92 mph, and it worked out. It’s weird: I thought I was going to be pushing Junis after this start, and now I find myself pulling back a little even with Detroit ahead. I guess against that matchup he should work and we’ll take it game by game, but without his slider on point, you’re leaving it up to the BABIP gods above, and you all know how we don’t want to do that. 

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Dinelson Lamet7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 12 Ks. I had ranked Lamet highly for yesterday’s start but didn’t realize he was owned in roughly 10% of leaguesabsurdand now he’ll easily get snatched up everywhere as he earned us a streaming win. Streaming Record: 72-50. You’re wondering if this changes his outlook at all, and to that I say 53% CSW ON 49 SLIDERS?! Ahem, sorry, he just went two-pitch in this one and flat-out OWNED with the slide piece, earning 41/104 CSW overall as the Mariners were patient and allowed 26 called strikes here. But right, does it change anything? Sadly, no. It’s hard not to love the slider and we’re still starting him and all, but his heater is still suspect and there wasn’t a changeup in sight. 

Zack Wheeler8.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Impressive to see 30/101 CSW from Wheeler in a start where the Marlins were aggressive and put a ton of his heaters in play for quick outs. His slider was a good strike generator, split-changeups went 5/10 on whiffs, and I’m a happy man. It’s not he’s developed and super awesome Wheeler, but he’s earning strikes and coasting at this point. Against a team not named the Marlins, this would likely have been 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 Ks. And that’s cool too.

Wade LeBlanc – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He was opened for once again, and his expected step back came in full force. The Padres seem like a decent stream as well and save for EXTREEEEEME matchups, avoid LeBlanc like we did with Joey.

Clayton Kershaw7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. All 20 starts this year have been at least six frames now. Ridiculous. 35/101 CSW with a Gallows Pole at 18 whiffs with fantastic sliders per usual as we continue to take him for granted.

Anibal Sanchez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Cutters earned strikes, splitters generated outs, surprisingly, and 21/87 CSW is blegh, but BABIP is a finicky thing. Let’s be happy this worked and keep rolling with Sanchez.

Drew VerHagen5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. We can be happy for Drew; the man needed something like this in his life. His slider is actually a solid offering with 93 mph heat; it’s just the whole execution thing that gets him. If it weren’t for those meddling mistakes.

Brett Anderson6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Are you chasing Brett? It’s a 3.45 ERA across his past seven starts, coming with a 4.66 K/9 and … wait. That’s his SIERA. Sorry. 4.47 K/9, .239 BABIP, and 80% LOB rate. Don’t you dare.

Chase Anderson5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I led with Chase last time he started, and while it was a bit doom and gloom, a start against the Pirates didn’t spell disaster. Now it’s the Twins, and we’re about to have the fun sucked out of our day like dropping your phone as you enter a subway car. I can’t even listen to the sad music playing as the train pulls away as my Bluetooth headphones lost connection. That’s what Chase’s next start will feel like. 

Jake Arrieta5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s almost like Arrieta enjoys pitching with a bum elbow. 30% CSW on the nose as his sinker surprised Arizona batters in the zone often, though none of his secondary pitches are taking shape. Still. I’d look elsewhere.

Steven Brault5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s cool Steven, but if you fall for this trap, it’s nobody’s Brault but mine yours.

Dylan Cease5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Our backup Call Boy is still available in a decent amount of leagues as he did a great job missing bats with all of his pitches15 whiffsand pounded the zone constantly, bringing down his walk total and earning a 31% CSW. I’m cautiously chasing this and think you’re OK against the A’s next time. It’s close, though.

Jonathan Holder2.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. This was a full-on bullpen game as Cortes Jr. just had to get another win, now sitting 5-0 because reasons. Let’s move on.

Mike Leake5.1 IP, 2 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Leave it to Leake to allow 12 baserunners in 16 outs and allow just two earned runs and one unearned run. It’s too bad that he’s here as it kicks Taylor Clarke out of the rotation for nowa fun desperate strikeout stream for deeper leaguesbut hey, maybe something falls apart in the next few weeks. Regarding Leake, you’re better off streaming.

Miles Mikolas6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. On the road. Against the Dodgers. With an 86 mph slider. THIS START DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. It came with 31/96 CSW as the Dodgers were patient at the plate, allowing him to spin curveballs and pump heaters in the zone endlessly. I think many are going to see this and get back on the 8-Miles train, and while I’m 100% cool with starting him against the Royals, I’m not buying that he’s coasting through the end of the year. Start by start, y’all.

Mike Foltynewicz5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Alright, we finally got Folty back. And what did we see? We saw 16 whiffs on 101 pitches against a strong Twins offense, showcasing the famous slider of 2018 in its final form with 14/47 CSW. The rest of his stuff was complete blegh, but all I really want is 95 mph and that excellent bender, and that’s what we saw yesterday. And now he goes from the Twins to the Marlins? Sign me up! 

Ryan Yarbrough – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. The Fratty Pirate allowed another pair of unearned runs on top of this but overall did a solid job. Just blame Andrew Kittredge, who allowed three earned runs in his opening two innings, preventing our boy from getting the win. How dare he.

Anthony DeSclafani5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. I like Tony Disco for the most part, and save for a horrible first frame, he did settle down to return 34/97 CSW and 4.1 strong frames after. Stupid home runs; they get you every time. I think you’re safe starting him against the Nats next.

Daniel Norris5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m disappointed here by Norris as he was served a decent matchup against the White Sox and didn’t capitalize. He’s one of those guys who can produce if all three factors are working91/92 velocity, sliders sharp, and a good feel for changeupsbut for the most part, that bet should only be considered in deeper leagues for now.

Hector Santiago4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. That’s a name I have not heard in a long time. The ChiSox needed a starter for their double-header, and Santiago was bought for the day after pitching eight games in relief for the Mets in the spring. And no one rejoiced. Yeah, I don’t know why I’m still going here. I just feel so weird and awkward, and when that happens, I ramble on for way too long because I don’t know what else to do. 

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Greinke made his first start for his team, and it was disappointing. We all said he’d be better for winshe did leave with a duband Greinke did mention he was bored watching his team give him so much run support between innings, so fine, I won’t judge him harshly for this, but come on buddy. At least give us more than two strikeouts when the ratios hurt, you know?

German Marquez5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. German got a start outside of Coors. Yay! It was in Houston. Oh no. Yeah. Good news is he’s on the road in San Diego, then hosting the Marlins, then heading to St. Louis. I’m down for all three.

Connor Menez6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember when we labeled him a Cup of Schmo? I wonder why.

Hector Noesi5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I’ll make this one simple. Hector? No ese. 

Asher Wojciechowski4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. We had no choice but to let Woj go last week as he faced the Yanks here and gets the … Yanks and Red Sox next. Blegh. Maybe we’ll be back when he gets the Rays, Nats, Rays, Rangers after. Maybe.

Andrew Cashner5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Can we forget that we in any way endorsed Cashner? Great, thanks.

Jose Suarez5.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Suarez? Nah, he doesn’t have Rico for a first name, which makes him totally not cool enough for your rotation. This is a stretch. I’m running out of ways to tell y’all to stay away, I’M TRYING. We all are. To endure the jokes. That’s fair. Just don’t chase Suarez, OK? Cool.

Trent Thornton3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. When do we start the Discount Hotel (Double Tee) ? Only against the weakest lineups. Is Tampa Bay weak? No. Very good.

Jose Berrios5.2 IP, 9 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Berrios, NO. You tallied more earned runs than your past five starts combined, getting smacked around when featured inside the zone. And I think that was the major problem here, despite the walks. Berrios didn’t earn a single whiff on his curveball, electing to throw it more in the zone. It meant that Atlanta batters were comfortable in the box, allowing them to be aggressive on heaters for strikes and spit on anything looking close to off the plate. It explains the 31/97 CSW not working in Berrios’ favor (just six whiffs!), and we need to wash our hands clean of this start. It wasn’t good; it doesn’t mean Berrios is done. Not at all. Expect a rebound against the Indians next.

Jon Lester4.0 IP, 10 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s three of his past four above four earned runs, and you’re wondering if you can drop. You can; I think he’s going to act like a Toby against the Reds next time out, but if there are decent streams to take advantage of, by all Johns, let Lester loose.


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.


Ivan Nova vs. Detroit Tigers – I obviously don’t think too highly of the Tigers offense if I’m willing to chase a Super Nova …


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Danny Duffy vs. Detroit Tigers – Pretty easy choice here with Duffy as an overall decent streaming option plus a great matchup vs. the Tigers. Elieser Hernandez vs. Atlanta Braves – Nope, Duffy hit the IL. And there are zero streams I’d recommend now, so I’ll go with the best pitcher available in Elieser. Don’t do this.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Devin Smeltzer vs. Cleveland Indians – I’m debating between this and Cal Quantrill against the Rockies in San Diego. I believe in Smeltzer’s stuff a little more, but Nicoderm CQ over here could take advantage of Rocky Road. Take your pick.


Game of the Day 


Jack Flaherty vs. Dustin May – I want to see if Flaherty can continue doing good things against the strong Dodgers, and I want May to impress me.

(Photo by John Cordes/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.

11 responses to “Feasting At JJ’s Diner”

  1. Karl says:

    Great write up as always! Quick correction – Norris faced the White Sox, not the Tigers.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ha! Of course he couldn’t have pitched against his own team…

      Thanks for that! ChiSox/Tigers sometimes meld in my head for whatever reason.

      • Karl says:

        Yeah you’re not alone there. I honestly had to look up to make sure because if I found out he was on the White Sox this whole time I wouldn’t have been that surprised.

  2. Joe says:

    I know isn’t a great indicator of individual pitcher performance but when to we take notice that ERA can be a quantified view of overall team performance. The pitcher, the park and the defense ultimately make the ERA. The reason i bring this up is the A’s starters for 2 years running now have been outperforming their FIPs by over an entire run consistently. Is it 3 gold glovers on the infield and a solid outfield plus the coliseum? Because i sure as hell know it isn’t Brett Anderson’s prodigious athleticism and talent

    • rainmaker says:

      That’s very interesting about the FIP overperformance. Certainly defense would have to play a huge role. I wonder if it would be able to quantify how much of it is just luck.

      • Joe says:

        At first I would think luck too but 97 wins last season and well on their way to 90 this season. Montas i think was legitimate but aside from him we’re talking Fiers, Bailey, Bassitt (who i do like), Anderson, Mengden, and now Roark… When you squint they all look like the same guy

    • TheKraken says:

      I sont think berrios really knows where the cb is going. I think he just throws it and the movement is good enough that something will happen. I think all he tries to do is spin it and locate it in the lower half of the zone.

      I also think that greinke got drilled for some damage in the 6th but was going well through 5. Not sure about that but I think I read it.

      Crazy to me how vested people are in folty. I guess its about 2020 now. I wouldnt want to pay what I am sure it will cost.

  3. Fletch.F.Fletch says:

    Mike Trout Homeruns should not count against a pitchers ERA.

  4. Jim says:

    Cease’s next start is against HOU. Bench or cut is the real dilemma this time of year.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Nothing like Ross Detwiler to push you back to the Astros.

      It all depends on your need now. A clear bench, I’d prefer to sit and start him against the Angels after.

  5. TheKraken says:

    I am skeptical that defense plays a huge role. Most balls are routine. Almost allmof them in a given game. The number of poorly rhought out shifts would be much higher… But even that doesnt matter most of the time. There is no way you can quantify luck. You will never be able to do it. I prefer the back of a baseball card stats to any advanced estimators. There is no truth in anything other than the real outcomes. Its all flawed.

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