He’ll Be Mack

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Triston McKenzie vs KC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

What a wild ride it’s been experiencing Triston McKenzie this season, who did everything in his power to remove managers’ trust in the spring before disappearing into the void that is The Minors (coming, this summer). McKenzie made his return to the bigs on Friday as Cleveland is struggling to put together a rotation and he exploded for 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks (12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches). HOT DANG! The mad man actually did it. But is it real? Is this a must-add?

Absolutely not a must-add, but this was a better pitcher than who we saw in May. His fastball found the zone with much greater ease while his slider constantly fell down-and-glove-side. There’s still work to be done on curveballs (just 4/15 strikes, yikes) but this was the four-seamer show and seeing a 30% CSW across 54 is a very welcome sign. Sadly, Cleveland gets Oakland + Houston to kick off the second half and whoever Triston faces, I’d avoid. Still catch that start if you can and see if the fastball is chaotic or in control. If it’s the latter, we may see a lovely second half featuring the 2020 McKenzie we’ve missed.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Charlie Morton @ MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

Phew. I’m glad Morton could get back on the right track after failing to capitalize against the Marlins last time out and stumbling for two straight. His changeup made a surprise appearance for 5/10 whiffs here while the cutter took a backseat. Hey, whatever works on a given day. Keep on starting Morton because duh.

Wade Miley @ MIL (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

That’s a 2.80 ERA on the season for Miley now as he makes an excellent run for the Spider-Man award. He’s still riding that cutter for all its worth and why not? It’s dang good. Keep letting this one ride.

Logan Webb vs WSH (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 45 pitches.

He’s back and with a vengeance. It was just 45 pitches and I’m sad it means we’re going to have wait a good three weeks or so until we get Caught up in Webbbbbb but this was certainly a great start. Doubling those pitches to 90 means you double those whiffs to 14 as his slider and changeup hinted at their previous selves. I’m looking forward to streaming ya in August.

Nestor Cortes @ HOU (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 74 pitches.

Wow, he did it again, this time with just two whiffs to his name and a 15% CSW clip. I mean, really?! REALLY?! Don’t you dare fall for this one.

Alex Cobb @ SEA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 97 pitches.

Phew. He left the sixth with two on and wasn’t burned, allowing for a solid conclusion to Friday’s stream. Streaming Record: 57-40. Ummmm, is this a perfect week in the making? Dang, now I’ve butchered tomorrow’s Tylor Megill pick. Sorry everyone. Anyway, Cobb has been quietly killing it by xStats standards and while I’m not one to jump in on all of that, I will say that he’s constantly on my radar as a possible option. No, that doesn’t mean I’m holding onto Cobb after this one – the man had six whiffs and just 15% CSW on his splitter tonight – but he’s definitely deserved our attention.

David Price vs ARI (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 51 pitches.

So we’re at 51 pitches so far, yes, but Price sat 94 mph (SWEET!) and his changeup had hints of its former self. It’ll take some time for the Dodgers to stretch him out…if that’s actually what they do once they’re past the deadline – I anticipate at least one starter heading to Dodger blue – but if he has that velocity at 80+ pitches? I’m so down.

Kenta Maeda vs DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 84 pitches.

Whoaaaa a Golden Goal from Maeda?! YES. His slider was phenomenal at 45% CSW while his splitter was stellar as well + the Tigers were unable to make solid contact on his heater. It’s everything we wanted for the second straight start, though I should note that Maeda discussed having some overall fatigue during this one. He should be fine – the All-Star break is a welcome thing – but something to note. My rule is to buy in fully after three starts, not two, and especially not two against the Royals and Tigers. But boy is it tempting.

Brad Keller @ CLE (ND) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 114 pitches.

It’s kinda awesome seeing Keller show off some of that ceiling and taking advantage of a mediocre Cleveland squad. The man goes deep into games and is relying on nearly 50% sliders these days. In other words, he’s doing everything he can to give you production, you have to applaud him for it. He’s still a deep streamer against weak teams, but hey, that’s something. He’s our Keller Queen right now.

Anthony Bass vs ATL (L) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 55% CSW, 11 pitches.

At the last moment, Zach Thompson was placed on the IL and moved to post-ASB. Welp, hope you like bullpen games, because THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU GOT. Nay, Shawn Morimando showed up and tossed 90 pitches of shutout baseball. 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Sadly, his arsenal is pretty dang tame and resulted in just 6/90 whiffs and 24% CSW. But hey, props to him for coming through when they needed him.

Taylor Widener @ LAD (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 63 pitches.

There were whispers this would be Bumgarner but instead it was the return of Widener, who got it done with 93/94 heaters and a solid slider. The slow ball has some moments too across these 63 pitches and while I’m not jumping all over it, Widener is an interesting streaming option in a few weeks when he’s stretched out. Don’t forget about him.

Shane McClanahan vs TOR (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

In this battle of the rookies, at least Shane got to be the only one surviving four full frames. His stuff was a little worse here, sitting at little slower than usual – a near 2 mph drop on sliders and a 1.5 tick fall on four-seamers. Nothing that I’m terrified about and I’ll simply just watch it next time out to make sure all is cool. Please be cool, your stuff is just so good when it’s on.

Dallas Keuchel @ BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.

I expected the worst from Keuchel as recently Keuchel has been…the worst + the Orioles are strong against lefties. What we got was Keuchel featuring a much better changeup, fantastic cutters along the edge, and fastballs avoiding the heart of the plate. The man pitched his booty off. I’m proud of him for it and I’m back to at least acknowledging that the ceiling is still inside. Not necessarily something to hold onto, but it’s noted.

Eric Lauer vs CIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

Hey, I’ll take this all day from Lauer. Sure don’t buy what he’s selling right now, but if you had no choice, I’m happy for you. It’s cool when good things happen.

Taijuan Walker vs PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 86 pitches.

It’s not a proper stumble, but it sure wasn’t a reassuring outing from Walker. His four-seamer was far from the pitch it normally is and the rest…isn’t good. It’s the biggest concern I have for Walker in the second half, but that doesn’t mean you should take action. I mean, sure, if someone in your league is treating Walker like a Top 25ish starter, I’d cash that in to raise your floor. Otherwise, you’re better off taking the gamble yourself and hoping he holds on through September. Let’s just hope that injury history doesn’t show its ugly face. I feel dirty even mentioning it, but y’all should be aware. He’s not known for being a 180+ inning workhorse in the slightest.

Matt Manning @ MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 69 pitches.

Wow, Manning truly is a Toby at best, isn’t he. I imagine one day he’ll figure something out with his secondaries, but even his four-seamer is just 93 mph and not doing a whole lot. With so many varieties and flavors, who would have thought that an M&M could be so boring?

Reiss Knehr vs COL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 76 pitches.

Knehr got the call as Blake Snell was placed on the IL with fatigue and will return after the break. Reiss has a solid 94 mph heater but sadly nothing else in the arsenal for us to legitimately consider him. Let’s move on.

Jorge Lopez vs CWS (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.

I feel like I’m stuck inside Groundhog Day with these JorLo lines. It never changes from a pumpkin into something magical, does it?

Jordan Lyles vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

Hey, this ain’t so bad, but it ain’t so amazing either. Congrats, Nick, you just summarized Lyles on his best day. Oh. Oh no. That’s not a good thing. Sure isn’t. Just 2/39 whiffs on breaking balls tells enough of the story for us to move on.

Kyle Hendricks vs STL (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 93 pitches.

You started him and Hendricks performed well as it’s “The Cardinal Rule”. On the other hand, he did so in the most boring way, earning just one strikeout across 19 outs. Hendricks, it sparks no joy to give you a HAISTFMFWT?! I thought we were over this by now.

Alek Manoah @ TB (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 88 pitches.

Wow, 9 out of 11 outs via the way of the K, but he was terribly inefficient while doing so, forcing an early exit in the fourth. Sometimes life just ain’t fair. The changeup still isn’t a major presence and we’ve accepted that. Fastballs + sliders works just fine with me, just try to end at-bats a little sooner next time, okay Alek? Great, thanks.

Jake Odorizzi vs NYY (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 103 pitches.

That’s another productive start from Odorizzi, even if he couldn’t secure a Win. And failed to get whiffs. And had just a 18% CSW. Okay, okay, not his best, as he leaned a whole lot on sliders and splitters suddenly, though I did enjoy his pitch separation with four-seamers up, splitters down, and sliders up-and-away from right-handers. Not great secondaries, but this wasn’t chaos that happened to work out. I’m sticking with Odorizzi here.

Marco Gonzales vs LAA (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 103 pitches.

Hey, that’s a Philly against a strong Angels squad, nothing to hang your head about here. His changeup got whiffs again (8/25), so that’s cool, but I’m still avoiding Gonzo. There’s just not enough to chase to endure the hardships.

Garrett Richards vs PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 85 pitches.

Spin rates are still terrible and his slider is whack. He shouldn’t be anywhere close to your fantasy teams.

Cole Irvin @ TEX (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

You rostered Irvin to take advantage of weak teams like Texas and…this is so close. He allowed all three runs in the sixth after five perfect frames and that’s baseball. Nothing changes my outlook here.

Paolo Espino @ SF (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 73 pitches.

Fortunately for you, you’re out of middle school and don’t need P.E. in your life anymore.

Kyle Freeland @ SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 64 pitches.

Freeland left this one with what seemed to be a blister issue as he survived for a while against an elite offense. But just four whiffs! I know, random person, I know. This isn’t 2018 again, he’s not worth your time.

Wade LeBlanc @ CHC (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 65 pitches.

I mean, many of you still didn’t realize LeBlanc was still pitching until you read this. Of course he’s going to serve a HAISTFMFWT?!

JT Brubaker @ NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.

This was smooth sailing until the Mets exploded for a 10-run sixth frame (Careful, Icarus?) and turned Coffee Cakes stale. I still think he’s a solid arm for middling teams and worse and I imagine he could help in a possible repeat matchup next weekend.

Vince Velasquez @ BOS (L) – 2.1 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Hey son, come quick! What is it pop?! Look! There! Do you see it? I can’t, what are you pointing at? It’s right there in front of you, Velasquez’s horrific floor. Ohhhhhhhhhh. You must never go near it. Can we go home now? Yes son. Yes we can.


Game of the Day 


Gerrit Cole vs. Zack Greinke – Former teammates and veteran leaders squaring off with two teams hating each other. This should be fun.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire | 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 “He’ll Be Mack”

  1. David says:

    Irvin went 5 perfect innings, runs came in the 6th

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