Hamming It Up

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

(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

If you told me at the beginning of the year that I’d have Cole Hamels in the Top 40 this season, I’d have said “okay.” On the real, after his 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks brilliance against the Reds, Hamels has been all kinds of dominant as a Cub, recording a stupid low 0.79 ERA that’s lower than his 0.94 WHIP, with a 24% K rate and 6.5% BB rate in five starts. HOTEL returns a .282 BABIP, 88.5% LOB rate, and…0% HR/FB rate. There it is, the biggest difference from Hamels as a Ranger and as a Cub, as the southpaw was sporting a 20.7% HR/FB through the end of July. Yes, moving from Arlington to Wrigley will lower your HR total, but not this much. Nevertheless, the 4.11 SIERA in that time is still plenty higher than the 3.38 mark he has here, and it’s on the back of a wildly improved cutter/fastball combination, while not making mistakes with his whiff-heavy changeup. I can see a 3.50 ERA with a 25% K rate and 1.15 WHIP the rest of the way on winning ballclub and that’s a wonderful thing. Can’t tell you where he’ll be on Monday since it’s moving to a ROS schedule format, but I imagine I’ll be a fan of his schtick. Now for next year…

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Matt Boyd6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Great to see Boyd continue rolling with his increased velocity, especially as our Call Boy against the ChiSox. Not expecting a whole lot save for a good streaming option. Streaming Record: 79-40. With 37 days left of games to go, I’m officially over .500 for the year. It’s a bit weird, I’m hoping I can hit the triple-digit mark, but I get the feeling this was a fortunate year, not that there is a super deep underlying skill that should be used by everyone. I’m not sure. I think someone actually made a spreadsheet of stats based on my streamer picks, I’m super curious how that actually looks given the losses are sure to be detrimental to a decent degree. Anyway here’s to hoping my good luck lasts a little longer.

Sean Newcomb6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Is this the resurgence of Newcomb? Ehhhh I don’t think so. His fastball was super good here, but there are still too many questions with his secondary stuff that makes he hesitant to believe he can do this against a team that doesn’t rhyme with Schmarlins. Just 9/38 CSW on sliders/curveballs/changeups, should be enough to understand this.

Aaron Nola8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Man he looks good. I love Nola day.

David Price8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. This was against the Indians. The Indians! It might be time to give Price the AGA label given his fantastic stretch lately, acting like the Top 20 guy I was expecting out of spring training. I considered leading with Price here, but you guys already know everything – he moved toward the first-base side of the rubber and has been as dope as it gets. Here’s to a strong final month to make us wonder his 2019 ADP.

Madison Bumgarner8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. This is the start I’ve been waiting for from Bumgarner, though I’d be remiss not to give it a Blame it on the Mets. Just 25/109 CSW here with 26 fouls and 20 balls in play. That’s not a whole lot of “dominance” despite what the line looks. A decent amount of soft contact, but really, just 4/27 CSW on your cutter? That’s not proper Bumgarner. Nick, come on. The dude clearly killed it. I’m not upset here at all, just wondering if this line really is the sign of an excellent five weeks ahead. I’m leaning…no.

Jacob deGrom6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. DeGrom got incredibly squeezed here, leading to his sole ER and knocking him out a little early + pumping his WHIP slightly. He deserved better. He always deserves better.

Danny Duffy5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. This is the only start all year that Duffy has allowed exactly 2 ER. He’s been as Cherry Bomb as it gets and after allowing 7, 0, 6, 6 ER in his last four, it’s nice to see this. You know what you’re getting into it’s up to you if you want to risk it.

Kyle Freeland6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Guess what. Freeland used over 30% cutters again and it returned yet another double-digit whiff rate. I feel like it’s 2015 Keuchel all over again as I was hesitant given the low strikeouts but now that they’ve shown up and are believable, I’m so in. Sooooo in. 

Joey Lucchesi6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Lucchesi’s hand injury made us give this an easy bench considering Coors and BAM! He hits us with this gem. Churve was a bit better than we’ve seen lately, though it was mostly heaters doing the good work here. A little fortunate BABIP wise, but overall enough encouragement to still endorse him for 12-teamers.

Max Scherzer7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sorry Scherzer, next time don’t hang a slider in the 7th for a 2-run shot and maybe you’ll get a Win.

Tyler Glasnow5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. We gave Glasnow the Sawx excuse for his 3 walks last time, but now against the aggressive Royals, I don’t have the excuse for you. Great to see the strikeouts are still in style, though, and I think he’s going to still carry this risk, but it’s worth it given the high K production.

Elieser Hernandez3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. This is a Cup of Schmo like the mug I’m drinking out of right now. It makes all coffee taste better, I swear. That’s because it’s made out of candy. Shhhh that’s supposed to be a surprise!

Kohl Stewart4.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. There’s a reason why they call it a Kohl yard. Yes, he’s also a Cup of Schmo. Siiiiiiip.

Anthony DeSclafani6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Tony Disco had his slider cooking like some legit tomato sauce for the past few starts and while it had its moments – 10/34 whiffs! – it got hit pretty hard when in play. Still, 27/34 for strikes is still solid, he just needed a third option to match with his heater as well and…he doesn’t have that anymore.

Trevor Cahill5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Easily the most disappointing start of the night came from Cahill, who couldn’t handle the Twins. Just four whiffs on 88 pitches is staggering, leading to 18/88 CSW. Yeah, that’s terrible. He just didn’t have his curveball – only 9 thrown! – while his cutter didn’t do much either. I think this was just one of those days and I’d keep the faith.

Adam Plutko4.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. This started out well through four frames, then fell apart when Plutko remembered he is just Josh Tomlin 2.0. And let’s say he somehow pulled this one off, I still wouldn’t believe it. He’s simply not that good.

James Shields6.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Say Copper, ain’t it about time that ole Jimmy Bucklers got what he deserved? Yes it is. Yes it is.

Today’s Streamer

Touki Toussaint vs. Miami Marlins – It looks like he’s getting another start in the rotation against the Marlins, and count me in. This might not be sub 20% the day of, but it’s under 10% now in ESPN so jump on it. Reynaldo Lopez vs. Detroit TigersThere’s zero confirmation on Touki so I’m axing that and sticking ReyLo here instead as there is nothing else. Seriously.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Lucas Giolito vs. Detroit Tigers – I know it sounds crazy, though there aren’t any other good options and Giolito hasn’t been so bad lately with better breaking ball command, and improved changeup, and increased velocity. I’m looking for a QS here and we might get it.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Derek Holland vs. Texas Rangers – He’s right at the 20% mark, allowing me to take this one. The only other play I see is Sam Gaviglio against the Phils, but they are a little more dangerous than I’d like. Maybe Chase Anderson against the Pirates as well if he’s around.

Game of the Day

Michael Fulmer vs. Reynaldo Lopez – GUYS HE’S BACK. I know y’all don’t care like I do, but I really want him to do well down the stretch. Fulmer will be limited pitch count wise, so it’s a DLH for the most part, save for leagues that can risk the ratios. Awwww man, I’m excited just to see him out there again.

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.

24 responses to “Hamming It Up”

  1. larry says:

    How do you feel about streaming VV @Tor. Sunday?

  2. Frankie says:

    As Cahill owners we are all painfully aware of his splits: a 0.85 ERA, 0.76 WHIP in 8 home starts. He has a 6.92 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 8 road starts.

    With Bieber on the wire and better matchups coming for fantasy playoffs, would ya eject on Cahill and snag Biebs? It’s Cahill or Pivetta as my drop to get Biebs. I’m struggling to decide.

    • Ro says:

      Based on the schedule im going for Bieber

    • Frankie says:

      Upcoming schedules based on 5 man rotations and no skipped starts:
      Cahill: @HOU, vSEA, vTex, @TB, vLAA
      Biebs: @KC, vTB, @TOR, @TB, vCHW, vBOS
      Pivetta: @TOR, vChC, @MIA, vWAS, vNYM, @Atl

      Guys, it’s pretty close. Cahill for those 3 home starts sounds tempting, but can only own one unfort.

      • Nick Pollack says:

        I take Bieber and Pivetta there.

        • Frankie says:

          Yet Cahill is higher on the SP List. I get it. Cahill has had a nice 2018. Bieber has no MLB track record. And Pivetta has shown us his floor — aka basement — time and time again. I guess Cahill has the highest floor, and Pivetta has the highest ceiling. Whereas, Biebs in kinda in the middle, but flexes his Win probability.

          Tough 3 to choose between no doubt.

  3. Ro says:

    The away starts of Trevor Cahill has been very bad. What could be the cause of this?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      FWIW I generally think Road/Home splits are more coincidence than direct correlation.

      However, it is possible Cahill has a specific routine at home that gets disrupted when travelling. I personally would focus more on the opponents themselves moving forward and less on the location.

  4. Derek says:

    All the talk on the podcast and now in the roundup about Gausman and Price moving on the rubber has got me thinking about watching Ted Lilly growing up. He would scuff dirt on to the mound and line up so far to one side that he would be off the rubber (and often in front of it too). Not sure exactly what to make of it, but if you’re going to be doing some research on that stuff, he is an extreme example that would make for an interesting case study.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ted Lilly! Man, what a dude.

      It happens a decent amount of the time, but mostly it’s just more noise without any sort of correlation. There are benefits to different placements and hopefully both of them have found their comfort zone.

  5. Vinny says:

    Hey Nick,
    I kept refreshing pitcher list all morning – I was anxious to see your round-up since I’m considering luchessi, Tony disco, or stashing stripling for the back of my rotation. If Im locked into playoffs until September, who would you want to own there?

    Have a great weekend!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think Lucchesi at the moment as we don’t know the status of Stripling.

      I’d sit on my hands until the last minute if possible.

  6. Top Shelf says:

    I need to drop one heading into the playoffs.

    Mikolas, Heaney, D. Rodriguez, Musgrove, Verlander, Manaea, Velasquez, Bieber, Godley.



  7. DFR says:

    Starting Mikolas tonight at Coors?

  8. Sully says:

    Just wanted to give a shout out to you Nick for how awesome this site is. I just discovered it this week. Been playing fantasy baseball since I was about 12 on Smallworld. Does anyone here remember it where every player had a price kind of like DFS? Loved it.

    Anyway, SP Roundup and SP GIFs articles are my favorites. Love the glossary and writeups also it brings much more fun into baseball than many other sites. Toby, Cup of Schmo, and Gallows Pole all are awesome and gave me a good laugh. Keep it up you’ve got a new regular reader.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks a lot Sully!

      I remember that via Sports Illustrated for Kids back in the mid 90s…That was amazing.

      Looking forward to seeing you around :)

  9. Chris says:

    I did the Streamer spreadsheet on Reddit last year and would be glad to do it again this season! I’d already expect more favorable results.
    Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/fantasybaseball/comments/741kja/streaming_and_you_a_breakdown_of_streaming/

  10. Morgan Cross says:

    DeGrom gets super squeezed and still only gives up 1 ER and strikes out 10, what a beast.

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