GraNola Barred

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

He’s been my boy for so many years, but this season, Aaron Nola days are not the days of joy. His 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks line tonight against the Mets was the third straight game of 4+ ER, the third of 5 ER which Nola never did in all 33 starts last year. So what’s wrong with him? His fastball is finding too much of the plate at under 92mph, while his changeup and curveball are landing thigh-high, not underneath the strikezone. It’s honestly that simple. Nola is a command pitcher first, whiff guy second, and I wonder if this is simply a feel thing. Maybe he’s not using his bottom half enough, raising his pitches just enough and not extending out to finish them low. Whatever the reason, it’s killing your team and the question is do we sell or hold tight? I’m going with the latter…which shouldn’t surprise many who have read plenty of these roundups during this horrid SP month of April. It’s still a small sample and while things aren’t going Nola’s way now, there’s so much time for him to make a tweak here, get some luck there, and return to form. Sure, it won’t be a 2.20 ERA year, but who cares about the year, we care about his games after this terrible start of the season. He’s not broken and he deserves the TIARA. Maybe a small dip next week if he still doesn’t figure it out next time against the lowly Marlins, but we really have to stay calm. There’s just so much baseball left.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Noah Syndergaard5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. On the other side of the hill was Thor, who I could say a lot of similar words about. Patience, it’s early, don’t be hasty, etc. On the plus side here, Syndergaard had a fantastic 36/102 CSW and that’s wonderful. He struggled in the same way, though, featuring too much in the middle of the zone instead of working the eye levels. So close yet so far…

Trevor Bauer6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. 200 frames of dominance here we come.

Martin Perez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. So the elevated spring velocity stuck around as Perez sat 95mph and it worked for the most part. 24/86 CSW isn’t all that – no pitch earned more than 3 whiffs – and I think he’s just a Toby at best here. And maybe that’s what you want. I don’t but that’s cool, you do you. Streaming Record: 10-8.

Antonio Senzatela6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Senz-A is far from the master this line implies he could be. More like an Anakin than a Kenobi, feel me?

Dan Straily5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Straily did this against the Sawx. I feel like we’ve seen some decent start against Boston thus far and it’s weird. Especially coming from Straily. DEFINITELY from Straily.

Hector Velazquez3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. Velasquez is lucky to have just one earned run to his name despite averaging two baserunners per inning. Hector is just like an ostrich – there’s no reason to own one and they always wanted to fly. How do you know that about Hector? Um, who doesn’t want to fly? Touché.

Luis Castillo5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. A Gallows Pole here from Castillo with 15 whiffs – 10/27 on his changeup alone. Great to see his two-seamer velocity above 96mph as well, though it was a bit over the place today. I worry about that fastball command over the full year, but not enough to keep raising him on The List. Just knock down those walks and maybe he’ll have an AGA label in May.

Yu Darvish5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. If it weren’t for Castillo, Darvish would be hoisting his first Gallows Pole of the year. 14 whiffs and 32/96 CSW ain’t too shabby, though the Marlins are a team to help get your confidence back. Small steps, y’all. Small steps.

Clayton Kershaw7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Kershaw, it’s so good to have you back. A meh slider to Puig was the only damage of the day and while I hate seeing a 90mph heater, your command was much better than what we saw in the fall last year. Here’s to few IL stints this season for TATIAGA.

Heath Fillmyer5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Heath is the perfect name for Fillmyer – the candy bar you forgot existed and you still don’t want even when you see it.

Yusei Kikuchi6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. A PQS with five Ks? Ehhhh I want a little better but alright Kikuchi. It’s been a rough SP year, after all. those wondering why Kikuchi is decently high on The List, well I expect a little better than this. Think 3.50-3.70 ERA with a 22% K rate and 1.20 WHIP across 150+ frames (roughly 25 starts at 6 IPS). It’s not sexy, but that’s a top 50 starter.

Freddy Peralta3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Peralta is a Cherry Bomb that makes you really question why they have the word cherry involved.

Ervin Santana5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Ohhhh right, Santana is back and doing his thang. Fortunately his thang is not your thing. And it’s definitely not your thong. I really hope not.

Matt Shoemaker6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. A PQS from Shoemaker with a horrid WHIP and just 4 Ks. I guess you’re okay with that as the floor is inherently lower for The Cobbler, but I think this is the beginning of the fade. We knew his hot start wouldn’t last

Trevor Cahill4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeah…Cahill just isn’t the man of brief intrigue like in previous seasons. I hope he pulls it together for a decent stretch this year, but this ain’t no Houdini act – I ain’t holding my breath.

Shelby Miller4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. All hopes of Miller returning value this year should be stripped by earning 13 outs without a single punchout. You see “cool” over there? Yeah, Shelby is so far away, it’s like he’s hanging by the punch bowl as the entire school dances. Poor guy. Wait, I thought we were talking about Shelby, not you during your prom. Ouch. True, but ouch.

Joey Lucchesi7.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s the second straight Fugghesi from Lucchesi, earning just 6 whiffs overall as his churve was smacked for a pair of longballs. He did a good job with his sinker, but that breaker was all over the place. Without another option to turn to on days like this, Lucchesi is going to run into trouble a decent amount. At least he went deep enough to not make it so terrible, I guess. Kinda. This is still terrible. He hosts the Reds next and I’m iffy on it.

Trevor Richards4.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Okay, we were due for Richards to take a step back, but did it have to happen the day I gave him a decent amount of love on The List? He’s doing a good job of keeping his heaters up and changeups low, but his slow ball wasn’t as effective as it normally is and that deuce is all kinds of bad. This is going to happen a decent amount, but here’s to hoping for a rebound and more good than bad.

Dakota Hudson3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Hudson is a sinkerballer without strikeout upside. This makes for Grave Mistakes like this and, well, you don’t want that on your hud, son. 

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.

Mike Minor vs. Los Angeles Angels – There are terrible options today, I’ll go with the hot hand against a hurt lineup. I prefer Max Fried against the Diamondbacks if that option is out there.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Spencer Turnbull vs. Pittsburgh PiratesYep, I’m back for another shot at Turnbull. The stuff is there, the approach is not. Fortunately, he gets a terrible offense and this could go incredibly well. I’d consider something else, but the matchups just aren’t there for me to easily defer. Turnbull it is.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Ivan Nova vs. Detroit Tigers – The man throws strikes and puts himself in a position for a QS against a bad offense. The Tigers are just that.


Game of the Day


Matt Boyd vs. Joe Musgrove – It’s the two lovely Spice Girls squaring off in one game. YES PLEASE. There’s also Chris Sale and James Paxtonwhich should be a ton of fun as well. And Pivetta, and Fried, and Flaherty…WHAT A GREAT DAY.


(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.

8 responses to “GraNola Barred”

  1. Jim says:

    A+ for the title. Did you see Darvish KO 3 in 1 pitch!?!?!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ha! Yep. I keep seeing a Darvish GIF hoping it’s filth I missed and…it’s just people getting hit.

      Glad you like the headline! This one took longer than most and I’m still iffy on it.

  2. Manley Ramirez says:

    I’ll push back on Kikuchi again here. He faced an awful lineup tonight and yet needed a couple lucky lineout double plays to keep his pitch count reasonable and avoid disaster.

    “Think 3.50-3.70 ERA with a 22% K rate and 1.20 WHIP across 150+ frames (roughly 25 starts at 6 IPS).”

    Given his performance so far, why do you think he can produce these numbers? 6IP is his max so far, not his average, and the Mariners have spoken about skipping his starts to get him extra rest. What makes him more likely to hit these numbers then say, Holland, who proved he could do it last year, or Matz, 30+ spots down?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      You might be right here. We’re still new to Kikuchi and I’m leaning that we haven’t seen him plateau just yet, but he could very well be just another Toby, making his rank plenty generous.

      I think the enigma of what we should expect is what’s generating the ranking. That and his repertoire does speak to those kind of numbers you quoted.

      But I’ll be thinking about this a lot. Thanks Manley! This is the kind of discussion I love – instead of just “you’re wrong about this guy” it’s “I disagree, here’s why.” Great example for other commenters :)

  3. Mike P says:

    I know you recommend Turnbull for tomorrow as a streamer. Wanted to know your thoughts on streaming Odorizzi instead? Blue Jays are bottom 5 in offense and top 2 in strikeouts. While the pirates are top 3 in least amount of strikeouts. I also think Odorizzi might have the better chance to pick up the W which matters in my league. Do you think it’s a decent stream? Thanks

  4. Ro says:

    Darvish touched 99mph!!! and that slider is so filthy

  5. Jim says:

    What is the deal with all the Walks for Darvish though? Is it because he is relying on the slider too much? Or is he still working on command due to shortened ST? I kind of want to Sell if his next outing is a gem.

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