Gray Matters

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Jon Gray @ MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 83 pitches.

I didn’t expect much from Jon Gray tonight. He was coming off just 62 pitches in his rehab start, he’s constantly been volatile regardless of Coors or away, and we constantly wonder if his stuff really is that good for us to withstand the implosions that come as they please. Well, he made all of us take serious note after going 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 83 pitches against the Brewers. Oh my.

It was lovely to see his slider work so beautifully. He tossed it just under 30% of the time for 48% CSW, allowing him to blaze 96 mph heaters past bats for eight whiffs of their own. It makes you wonder if Gray can truly succeed with consistency if he were to only pitch like this every night. But Coors! It’s terrifying! It is, I know, but he does host the Pirates next, and then head to Arizona for the Sneks. Maybe it can work out in both? Look, if Gray can sit 96 mph (he sat roughly 94 mph before the injury!) with quality sliders, there’s hope still, especially if Colorado elects to deal him. It may finally be time to consider Jonny G for real. Maybe.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Johnny Cueto vs OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 102 pitches.

Hot dang! Cueto’s fastball was effective once again, his slider earned called strikes, and the changeup got outs. It all came together for Cueto here and I can’t but wonder if it means he’s worth our attention for Arizona next time. He’s clearly in a rhythm, after all. Don’t rule him out as a deep option.

Matt Moore @ NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 73 pitches.

Yes, it is I! Matty Moore! Wow, we’re so thrilled you’ve returned Mr. Matty Moore. We just didn’t know what to do with ourselves in the time you were gone. You sound sarcastic, but I bring gifts! 0 ER! A 0.80 WHIP! What other riches do you want? Trust, Moore. We need trust. This stuff you’re offering us? Moore, it’s Candy – fleeting, quickly pleasing, and far from sustainable.

Alek Manoah vs BAL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

Okay, so Manoah was able to handle the Orioles, but his changeup is still nothing like it was in his debut. Sigh. It’s like friends telling me how awesome their slider is and I should really consider them, but all I can do is just focus on that changeup instead. If only it would return…Ah, who cares. It’s Seattle + Baltimore next. This should be good with or without the slow ball.

Martin Perez vs NYY (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 67 pitches.

Perez faced the Yankees and this was a clear bench. He’s only to be considered against the bottom tier of offenses, nothing more.

Aaron Nola @ NYM (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 99 pitches.

The mad man did it. He earned a Golden Goal the start after I removed his AGA label and I love it. Do I take any joy in pushing Nola past #35 on The List? Absolutely not. It’s the hardest part of these rankings – grasping which guys are struggling and will continue to disappoint, and who I have to give the ole “give them time, trust me” that can get incredibly difficult a month into their troubles. And here we are, Nola cruising through the Mets lineup with all three of his pitches and…I can’t make the same mistake twice. I’m excited and I’m also cautious. He’s not 100% back until he pitches like this across multiple starts. Please do it Nola, the world is better when you’re this dope. Eight whiffs each for his curve and changeup make me swoon.

Danny Coulombe vs CLE (ND) – 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 32 pitches.

This was just to open for Griffin Jaxwho underwhelmed for 3 ER across 4.1 frames. There’s nothing to see here, sadly, as the other Jax is clearly more interesting.

Sean Manaea @ SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 93 pitches.

This just in, Manaea is really good. Oh my god. What? What is it? That news report…was sent a month ago. GASP Manaea has been good for a while and he’s kept up his success as the fastball velocity stays 92/93 mph with changeups and a backup breaker that don’t quit. Keep sticking with him – this could last all year.

Corbin Burnes vs COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. His spin rates have fallen a stupid amount (277 rpm drop on his cutter!) and yet, he still had success…against Rockie RoadI’m curious how he’ll look next time and hopefully put to rest any worry we have post-gloopgate.

David Peterson vs PHI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.

This is cool, but it’s not enough for me to go “I need to reconsider Peterson as a possible streamer moving forward.” I mean, props to him n all, but there wasn’t enough here for me to latch onto.

Taijuan Walker vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 68 pitches.

He was pulled early in this doubleheader start as the Mets needed to take the chance with a pinch-hitter during his spot in the lineup in the bottom of the fifth. No injury here, just silly non-DH rules ruining everything. Cool to see sliders for called strikes here, but it was essentially fastball/slider here and I’m glad it worked.

Drew Smyly @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 84 pitches.

Smyly isn’t doing anything new and that’s a problem to me. I know, the ratios are great, but it’s just three strikeouts and this could fall flat as soon as next start. He’s essentially a Toby and if you want to trust him for the Mets + Pirates, by all means. I wonder if it’ll actually be worth it or not.

Tony Gonsolin vs CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 69 pitches.

I wish I could be more excited about this start from Gonsolin, but sadly his slider just isn’t there yet. His splitter certainly was (12/21 CSW!), but without the slider, I’m not interested in Gonsolin. It seems like a trap at the moment.

Yusei Kikuchi @ CWS (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.

It wasn’t the prettiest of Kikuchi starts, but we’ll take it as he survived against a strong ChiSox offense. Now he has another test against the Jays and I guess we have to start him there, too, don’t we.

Jake Arrieta @ LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

Ehhhh, I guess that’s solid against the Dodgers (they were no-hit on Thursday, though) and it does nothing to inspire me into considering Arrieta in the future.

Griffin Canning @ TB (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

Canning succeeded (kinda, 1.60 WHIP = blegh) without his breakers and instead on the back of his changeup. This isn’t the way. Proceed with caution – Canning is the man we dream of when his slider is the premier secondary offering, not the slow ball.

Pablo Lopez vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 101 pitches.

Pablo continues to dominate with fastballs/changeup and it’s a lovely thing to watch. 37% CSW on changeups is everything you want, and while I’m still hoping his cutter and/or curveball become legit #3 offerings, as long as his heater and slow ball work, then things are just fine.

Dane Dunning vs KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches.

If you ran with Dunning tonight, I guess this works – that is a decent ERA with a Win after all – but man, does it really solidiy Dunning as a Toby at best. That’s not what you want in life, or for your fantasy squads.

Andrew Kittredge vs LAA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 24 pitches.

After Kittredge was Josh Fleming for 3.2 innings of 0 ER ball. Yep, that’s not enough for your fantasy teams, let alone the headache of figuring out when he’ll actually get those innings.

Matt Harvey @ TOR (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

While this start doesn’t help anyone, a Philly against the Jays from Harvey is certainly better than expected. So…yay?

Domingo German @ BOS (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 72 pitches.

Ouch. Germán didn’t have his best stuff and the Red Sox made him pay. I think it’ll click back at some point, but I would be considering other options as he gets the Angels next. Can’t say I’m a fan of that one.

Carlos Rodon vs SEA (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.

Whoa, it’s the first major misstep for Rodón as he failed to take advantage of the Mariners. He sat 2 ticks lower in this one at 95.3 mph (still good! Just not unreal) and he wasn’t as overwhelming as before. It feels like a One Night Bland and let’s just brush this off and move forward.

Vladimir Gutierrez vs ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ayyy this ain’t so bad! That’s a PQS as Gutierrez had a solid slider working for him against a good Atlanta team. Sadly, he gets the Padres next and I’d rather not chance it.

Corbin Martin @ SD (ND) – 0.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 25 pitches.

Poor kid. I remember his hype when he first showed up for the Astros and I wonder if he can get back to that eventually. Let’s call him a Young Gun for now.

Kwang Hyun Kim vs PIT (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 70 pitches.

We didn’t know how much we’d see of Kim and in the end, 70 pitches was more than what we wanted. You gained nothing from this outing, returning just one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!) and giving us sadness as he couldn’t handle Pittsburgh. Now he gets Coors + Oracle Park and I’m out for both. Here’s to better days beyond the All-Star break.

Wil Crowe @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 89 pitches.

Yeaaaah, Crowe throws kinda hard, but that’s about it. He’s more like a raven than a Crowe as we’ll start him never more.

Chris Paddack vs ARI (ND) – 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 72 pitches.

Nooooooo. Ugh, I’m so sad to see Paddack take such a poor step back after his two most promising starts since 2019. The fastball is down to 95 mph and his changeup was plenty worse this time around. The curveball wasn’t much of anything either as Paddack was struggling. Blegh. Let’s hope it was a one-night thing and he picks up his rebound tour next time out.

Cal Quantrill @ MIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 63 pitches.

Ah yes, the UnQuantrifiable. There is a world where Quantrill takes advantage of his time in the rotation to blossom and refine each of his pitches. I can’t say that I believe we’ll see that world.

Jon Lester @ MIA (L) – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 64 pitches.

And here I thought I had a chance to have a perfect streaming week. Streaming Record: 48-35. This isn’t to say I liked this at all, but it was the Marlins and Lester hadn’t been so bad lately. Womp womp. Let’s not do this again.

Mike Minor @ TEX (L) – 5.0 IP, 9 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 79 pitches.

You’d think Minor would be able to handle the Rangers, right? THINK AGAIN. Okay, I thought about it again, and Minor should be able to handle the Rangers. THINK AGAIN AGAIN. He’s still sub 91 mph and his stuff is pretty dang mediocre, save for when his changeup is on. It was…not in this one. Minor has struggled against weak teams before and don’t forget it when you consider streaming Minor in the future.


Game of the Day 


Jacob deGrom vs. Philadelphia PhilliesIt’s deGrom and we need to treasure every start he gets.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Photo by Jennifer Linnea Photography (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenzbie/) | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

One response to “Gray Matters”

  1. Jayson says:

    Nola had a nice outing but I think we shouldn’t forget that the Mets also helped him a lot lol. The doubleheader clearly demonstrated to everybody that the Mets are far away from a consistent and dangerous team offensively speaking.

    Paddack, another game another disaster! He’s a trap! Each time he will play well, people will keep believing it’s safe to start him for his next game and then we all know the story… Paddack does hold a high ceiling but is his floor really high? I’m not really sure. He’s a cherrybomb!

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