Going Super Nova

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

This is a weird roundup as I’m going to be talking about Ivan Nova, who unexpectedly performed poorly against the Indians via 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?! Instead of doing a breakdown of this start or what to expect from Nova or ramble incoherently (well, maybe some of that), I wanted to highlight one thing: Nova is now slated to get the Royals, Mariners, and back-to-back starts against the Tigers to close out the year. There isn’t an easier schedule out there, and someone like Nova, even with this horrid start against the Indians last night, could be a very sneaky play to put you over the edge down the final weeks. He may have been dropped, he may have never been picked up in the first place. Take a chance he goes Super Nova a few more times before this season is done.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Zac Gallen7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Fast and I made too many “bets” during our latest podcast breaking down the week’s sit/start matchups, here each taking a side of Paddack vs. Gallen. We both won, but he was a giant and won-won as Gallen flirted with a no-hitter. 35/103 CSW is lovely, four-seamers were up, curveballs for strikes and down, and he’s starting to put it together. Now just harness that cutter and changeup as true whiff pitches (2/20 whiffs here) and we’re golden like a magical goose. Donald? Sure. Donald, even though that’s a duck. Are you sure? HIS NAME IS DONALD DUCK. Right … right … Now Gallen gets the Mets, Reds, and two more dates with the Padres (if he’s not shut down, that is), and I’m excited. Just let him pitch, Arizona, please.

Chris Paddack5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. This wasn’t at the level of Gallen, but hot dang, it was nice to see his Vulcan-changeup so well commanded at the bottom of the zone, earning 16/24 strikes. Where are you drafting him for 2020? I’ll have him hovering No. 30 or so as he’ll get more innings and possibly develop that curveball more, but I wouldn’t go crazy – that changeup will go in-and-out. Start Paddack for whatever starts he has left, save for possible dates in Coors and against the Dodgers. That would be annoying.

Tanner Roark6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Roark cruised through the Angels lineup with 25 called strikes alone, sneaking corners with two-seamers like it was his J-O-B. Too bad he gets the Astros next, but it should be a solid schedule thereafter. The A’s are six-man, but not, but are, but it doesn’t matter as he’s destined for the Astros and a start against all the future A’s opponents.

Eduardo Rodriguez7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. I was encouraging a sit here against the Twins, but that’s the nature of Edu, isn’t it? Absolute purgatory where he’s stuck in binary Cherry Bomb land regardless of the opponent. He either has it or he doesn’t. Here, he had his changeup as much as any start, fading it away from right-handers all day, good for 12/29 whiffs. Part of his 22 swings and misses for the day, earning a Gallows Pole and our amazement. What about the cutter? That pitch? Just four called strikes in 13 thrown. Yeah, it was his changeup/fastball that dominated, and when that does, it doesn’t matter. Good stuff bud, please have that feel against the Jays next week.

Michael Wacha2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Wacha helped out the bullpen by pitching two frames on his scheduled “mound work” day, so don’t judge him for just two frames, OK? Cool.

Chad Green2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It was a bullpen game for the Yanks, and Green did good work. Good work.

Patrick Sandoval3.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. The Irish Panda was doing well until the Angels decided to pull the plug in an effort to limit his pitches through the month. Blegh. At least it does mean he’s supposed to be part of their plan for 2020, so maybe we have a sneaky AL-only play to consider? We’ll talk.

Zack Wheeler5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I was terrified watching this one and Wheeler sure wasn’t featuring great heaters, but good sliders for 10/29 CSW, eventually earning 27/101 CSW overall. I’m still so worried about him, but I think if you own him, you start him against the Diamondbacks.

Shane Bieber7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. This was the White Sox and now his meh schedule comes to fruition, but who cares, just start Bieber. For 2020, would you rather have Mike Clevinger or Bieber? I’m personally leaning Clevinger, but it’s a conversation that I can’t say I expected to be having.

Robert Dugger6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Dugger was a desperate stream for NL-only leagues, and it worked out against the Pirates, 1.50 WHIP and just two strikeouts be damned. The name of the game is normally two-seamers jamming RHB and staying away from lefties, but instead this was … a lot of four-seamers down the middle. It worked, somehow, and I’d hold back against the Brew Crew next time.

Trevor Williams6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ll take all of this, even the 1.33 WHIP because sure, it was a solid ERA and six strikeouts from T-Ells. Streaming Record: 91-57. I really should give him his T-Dubs nickname back as we have one more start left before we’re done for the year – a date in Oracle Park on Monday. Let’s dance.

Lance Lynn5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. We were a bit worried about starting Lynn here, and overall, I’d say this was a blegh. Sure, you got your strikeouts and this was decent for a points league, but those ratios hurt. A little. It’s six outs away from being great. So alright, everything’s OK. He gets the Rays and A’s twice across his next three, and we’re still starting Lynn here.

Hyun-Jin Ryu4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Man, this is getting out of hand. He needed 93 pitches to get himself pulled in the fifth frame, earning just 25% CSW. Changeups returned only 4/22 CSW on their own, and his who approach is just … off now. Ouch. We all knew he wasn’t going to keep it up, but not like this. Not like this. I have to believe the Dodgers give him a break for a start now. Please, just do it, and give us more hope that he can capitalize in the final starts of the season. Let Dustin May fly, or Ross Stripling, or Julio Urias, or Kenta Maeda, or ANY OF THEM. Just let us have this.

Trevor Bauer5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Some of you rolled the dice. Some of you didn’t. Points leagues? Yeah, we start Bauer. H2H? It’s really hard to justify it right now unless you’re behind and need a big start for him to win it. It’s sad, it’s stupid, and just the reality of it. For those who believe his former report of pitching through injury is the issue, it could be, though essentially “everyone is hurt.” Unless a pitcher distinctly misses time, I don’t have a choice but to ignore the conjecture about injuries.

Edwin Jackson5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Well, yeah. It’s EJax.

Jake Junis7.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Even against the Tigers, if Junis doesn’t have his breaking ball working, you’re not going to have the start you dreamed of. Sure, eight baserunners over seven ain’t bad, but 11/39 CSW on his slider is heavily lacking and held back the dominance + strikeouts. It’s the ChiSox next and you could take a chance there, but I think I’m passing.

Aaron Nola4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. It was Nola v Bauer and nein one won. WHAT’S THE EMERGENCY?! How Nola’s curveball was actually solid and his 34% CSW is actually great, but it was moments of bliss and sudden at-bats making poor pitches. It’s a week of your “aces” coming up short, and if you survive this week, it should correct itself for next week.

Antonio Senzatela3.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. No one is studying under Senz-A these days. I’m also having an internal debate if it’s a good or bad thing if his middle name is Suarez. I’m leaning bad. Yeah, let’s hope it’s not, sorry for bringing that up.

Jose Berrios5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Facing the mighty Red Sox offense is no joke, and Berrios with his questionable deuce had a rough go of it here. Seriously, he threw more changeups because of his lack of confidence in his curveball, which is essentially unheard of from Berrios. It could be a bit tough down the stretch against the Nationals and Indians next, but I think you can start him in both of those, especially if you need to in order to get his Royals + Tigers to conclude the season. You definitely want those.

Madison Bumgarner5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Come on Bumgarner, not you too! It’s been an odd year for Bummy. On one hand, his strikeout rate rose nearly 5 points, his swinging-strike rate rose 2 full points, and his WHIP fell from 1.24 to 1.12 … yet it’s his worst ERA of his career at 3.81. Maybe that’s the juice talking, but are you happy with drafting Bumgarner inside the top 25 SP? I think so? Maybe? We are going to get 200 innings once again, and there is something to that.

Anibal Sanchez5.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I leaned starting Anibal here, and I’m just as disappointed as you are. His cutter was awful, earning 2/15 CSW and floating up in the zone way too often and not in the “stealing a strike at the top of the zone like I’m 2014 Colin McHugh” variety. If you’re wrestling with what to do now, don’t. That’s silly. It’s the Twins and Braves next, just let him go back to the wire, there are plenty of streams to choose from.


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.


Logan Webb vs. St. Louis Cardinals – I’d also consider Kolby Allard against the Orioles, though Webb has a little more depth in his repertoire. Elieser Hernandez against the Pirates ain’t so bad either.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Framber Valdez vs. Seattle Mariners – I’m dipping in for another shot here. There are plenty of other options, including Joe Musgrove and his 94 mph velocity, Tyler Mahle against the Diamondbacks, and even Dillon Peters against the White Sox. Why not, let’s throw Brett Anderson against the Tigers in there as well.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Danny Duffy vs. Miami Marlins The Royals had a six-man rotation. They may still have it, but Duffy is acting like it’s a five-man. Cool cool cool no doubt no doubt no doubt, now we can do both Duffy and Alcantara on separate days if we wanted!


Game of the Day


Stephen Strasburg vs. Max Fried – I wonder if Fried can endure the Nationals + Strasburg build upon his start against the Marlins.


(Photo by Keith Gillett/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.

15 responses to “Going Super Nova”

  1. Manny DGM says:

    Hey Nick – just FYI but the A’s moving aroudn their pitchers and Homer Bailey is now pitching on Friday against the Tigers – would you take him over your other options?

  2. Orange WHIPs says:

    How would you rank Gallen and Soroka as keepers with an emphasis on the next year or so? I’ll have to choose between them.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think I’d favor Gallen over Soroka. His ceiling is certainly higher.

      • Orange WHIPs says:

        Thanks Nick. What about RoS? Heading into the finals in a H2H league.

        Soroka gets @ WSH and PHI (19-Sep)
        Gallen gets @ NYM, CIN (15-Sep), SD (21-Sep)

        I’d probably bench Soroka @ WAS. The remaining two games would be streamers.

  3. Alex says:

    Would you start Logan Webb if you are almost certain to lose QS and Ks but likely to win ratios? I’m inclined to play it safe and use fewer pitchers in this situation. Especially after yesterday’s high scoring game.

  4. Steve Balls says:

    In a 2-Week Playoff ending 9/15. Would you drop Tanaka, knowing that I’m not starting him @BOS this weekend, to stream in Webb or Allard and keep a streamer spot available going forward?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      If you’re going the streaming route, I would prefer to take shots at different options through the weekend and next over just one Tanaka start vs. the Jays next week (and maybe you get him back!).

      I wouldn’t say that Webb and Allard are my favorite choices, though. A little risky there.

  5. Kyle says:

    Hi Nick, Yahoo is saying E-Rod has the Yankees next on the 9th. Do you know if they are planning on resting him an extra day so he would get the Jays on the 10th? On The List, his schedule looks REALLY nice moving forward @TOR, SF, @TB, BAL. But, if he is bumped back a day on all those dates, he will be taking on NYY, @PHI, @TB, @TEX, and that would be sad :-(

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Huh. Looks like I somehow missed that September 9th game for the Red Sox. Not sure how that happened.

      This is very sad now as I’d be scared being an Erod owner, even with last night’s performance.

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