Finding Gray Hairs

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

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

Once again, we need to talk about Jon Gray after an atrocious 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks start against the Dodgers. First of all, HAISTFMFWT?! That is the heart of this talk as Gray’s whiff rates have dramatically fallen over his past five starts, with last week’s game against Arizona being the sole exception. We’re talking one last night, two sub 5% marks and an 8.2%. This is after holding 13%+ in 12/14 of his previous starts. So what happened? His slider has been nothing like it normally is. It’s a 20% whiff pitch, 47.5% zone rate, 40% O-Swing pitch (MOOOOONEY!) and just 2/19 whiffs against the Padres, 1/18 against the Angels, and 1/16 last night. This is horrible. What makes his fastball plenty better is this pitch acting as the nullifier, keeping batters honest from gearing up for heat each time. Without it? Well, you allow two HRs and 7 total hits with just one strikeout. So the question becomes if his slider will return over the weekend against Arizona. Probably not…? I think I’d try to go with something else instead of gambling here as that floor is oh-so terrible.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Ryan Borucki8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Blame it on the Orioles. It’s a lovely start worthy of a Birthday Party and if you ran with him, awesome. Good for you. Now let him bob his head in the sea of waivers until the end of time the season.

Tyler Glasnow6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Glasnow had one hiccup and is cruising otherwise. Don’t let that one start against the Jays ruin everything. Start him.

Wade Miley5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. And Miley keeps on riding BABIP til it dies. Good for him, I guess. He gets the Pirates next and that could go well. Not my favorite, but it could work and I understand if you go for it.

Gabriel Moya1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. FALSE START.

Hyun-Jin Ryu7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. When Ryu is pitching against non-elite offenses, you start him. Bada bing, bada boom.

Framber Valdez5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. Five walks sticks out like a tore shum. A tore shum? You know, a tore shum. Are you ok– IT’S BEEN A LONG MORNING. Valdez has been a popular add over the last month and with this possible two-start week, he’s been scooped up a decent amount. Y’all know I don’t love the guy’s schtick with an okay fastball and good curveball. It’s just not enough. Still, he might get the Angels on Sunday and that may be the play for those in need of one more start to close out the ship.

Kyle Hendricks8.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. He just had to allow a solo shot to Pollock and a single with two outs to Goldy in the ninth to hold back from the complete game. Either way, Hendricks has certainly stepped it up in the second half and makes me suddenly think if there’s value to be had for 2019 if people penalize him harshly for his first half numbers. I’m not saying he equates to a 3.00 ERA pitcher, but a 3.50 with a decent amount of strikeouts and good WHIP? That’s worth a pick outside the Top 30 starters, right?

Wade LeBlanc5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s super boring but it worked and that’s cool. Next are the Rangers in Arlington and I have my concerns. Is this middling production worth risking his floor? I’m leaning no.

Erick Fedde4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. I don’t trust the Feddes, and this WHIP/ERA certainly hurt, though there is something to be said about 22 Ks in three games. His slider has been working well, helping him 13 whiffs overall in the last one and 12 whiffs here, but there isn’t enough for me to believe he’s suddenly a strikeout machine and worth the gamble on ratios.

Miles Mikolas5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Solid stuff from Mikolas with 13 Ks in two games – that’s three more than the previous three starts combined. Keep on keeping on with Mikolas.

Adrian Sampson5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. If only he didn’t cut his hair, he would have more than two strikeouts. Yes, this is a Cup of Schmo.

Andrew Suarez7.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I don’t like Suarez at all…except for when he faces the Padres. Streaming Record: 97-45. Don’t overthink this, let him go now.

Patrick Corbin6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Yes, I’m going to say that despite a 4.50 ERA given the 1.00 WHIP, (P)QS, and 7 Ks.

Evan Phillips2.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The Orioles had a False Start. It went as expected.

Jake Arrieta5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Ugh, this is what you deal with when it’s a Toby, even if he is Spiderman. At least you got six Ks? Keep starting him n all.

Anthony DeSclafani5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeeeeah. Tony Disco just isn’t all too sharp anymore. He had a moment when his slider was doing it all, not anymore. So it goes.

Brad Keller6.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. That 1.83 WHIP kills even if you’re happy with 7 Ks. Oh and a 6.00 ERA? This is why we’ve stayed away from Old Keller.

Bryan Mitchell5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Well yeah, like an email claiming you won a free cruise trip, Mitchell can’t be trusted.

Trevor Richards5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m kinda off the Richards train these days as he hasn’t flashed that upside for a bit. It’s possible he can keep that K rate up with 2 ER or so, but I think you’re better off chasing other things.

Zach Wheeler7.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. This isn’t prime Wheeler in any way – at least the WHIP is cool! – and the bigger news is that the Mets might shut down Wheeler as he’s above 185 frames for the year. I didn’t expect this, but I also didn’t imagine him going 7 frames so consistently to rack em up this much by now. I’d wait a little longer for confirmation if possible, though if I had to guess, I’d say that he is indeed done for the year. There’s zero reason to keep throwing him out there now.

Joe Musgrove6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Noooooo, I liked this start heading into the day, but he got Singled Out in the fifth and it ruined everything. I still think you’re okay starting him over the weekend.

Jordan Zimmermann3.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Jay-Z hasn’t dropped straight fire in a while.

Mike Foltynewicz4.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Folty no. Please, don’t do this. I’m going to cough this up to “one of those days” and not do anything rash.

Today’s Streamer

Aaron Sanchez vs. Baltimore Orioles – A bit of a gamble here, but he looked good last time and it’s the Orioles. I’d also consider Sandy Alcantara against the Nationals.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Chris Stratton vs. San Diego Padres – He’s on a roll and gets the Padres. What else do you want from a streamer?

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Edwin Jackson vs. Los Angeles Angels – I hate him, but this slate is terrible. Here’s to hoping we can Survive A Night With EJax.

Game of the Day

Steven Matz vs. Aaron Nola – Happy Nola Day y’all! And let’s hope Matz keeps it up.

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.

5 responses to “Finding Gray Hairs”

  1. Frankie says:

    Musgrove bummed me out. Dropped him for Urena this weekend. Right move I think?
    Wheeler was a great ride, dropped him on the news of a shutdown — can’t wait for a Friday confirmation. Added Miley in his place. Not feeling great about it but only 6 days left in my fantasy season. It’s go time!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I still lean Musgrove vs. Mil slightly more than Urena vs. CIN, but it’s pretty close.

      Miley isn’t a bad option, good luck!

  2. Vinny says:

    Not being a big fan of Valdez or fedde, which do you like better as a Sunday desperation start for the ship?

    Also as someone who has been rooting for you to pull it off… 3 streaming wins to go to hit 100! Considering how often guys are jumping 20% owned, this is super impressive sir.

  3. Tim says:

    Hey Nick, bit of a random question but I hope you can answer. Do you think there’s any chance Strasburg gets a second start at the end of the week or am I safe dropping him to stream pitchers for Ks and QS? Seems like it would only happen in case of injury, but September baseball is just wacky enough to make me nervous.

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