Here Comes The Sonny

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

(Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

We should be talking about Sonny Gray as he’s now allowed just 2 ER across his last three starts including a 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks against the Royals Wednesday night. You’re probably excited and running to wire to grab a guy that has been a solid asset in previous years. I wish I could suggest that myself, but I still have my concerns. His current approach of fastball/curveball just doesn’t seem right to me. His slider is the putaway pitch and he’s just abandoned it, even though it holds a .191 BAA and 19% whiff rate on the year. Meanwhile, his sinker is good and his curveball works, but this isn’t the two-pitch approach of someone like Jose Berrios or Patrick Corbin that speaks to sustainability without a third option. Until I see that slider back in the mix and having success, I think it’s just a matter of time before he disappoints and hits the floor hard.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Rich Hill7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Hill has been kinda fantastic since returning from his blister on June 19th – 2.47 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 29% K rate. I don’t see a reason to stop starting him as long as he’s on the bump, but I promise you this will not be an easy two months. Something will happen to make you frustrated.

Brian Johnson5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Johnson has started five straight for the Sawx, allowing just 5 ER in 24 frames. Hmmmmmm. He’s also faced the Angels, Nats, Jays, Tigers, and Twins. He’s also not very good. Prepare to endure a highway to hell if you keep trusting this.

Hunter Wood1.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. The community has come through (a.k.a. Steve Andrews) as we’re going to be calling these Openers a False Start. WELL DONE Y’ALL. I knew I could count on you.

Kyle Gibson8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Man oh man this is lovely. Gibson earned a Gallows Pole with 17 whiffs against the Sawx, albeit needing 120 pitches to get there. He did a fantastic job of keeping pitches down-and-away from right-handers, and got a bit fortunate with batted balls to make it through eight frames. It’s a 3.42 ERA now with a 1.21 WHIP and 23.6% K rate, which might be one of the most surprising performances of 2018. It’s amazing and you keep running with it until he gives us a good reason not to.

Wade Miley5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Miley, you know you’re just not supposed to do this well, right? You have imposter syndrome expect we actually will pick you up and tell you how we got the wrong guy. Also, just one strikeout? HAISTFMWT?!

Dereck Rodriguez6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Dereck just keeps on cruising. It’s not ultra sexy, but hot dang does this help your team.

Alex Cobb6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. A VPQS with 2 strikeouts is surprisingly fine from Cobb. That says so much about his season.

Jake Junis4.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He got the Yankees and he performed as expected. What else do you want from me.

Tyler Mahle1.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. He threw 53 pitches before even getting an out in the second frame, so they pulled Mahle. He got a bit Singled Out and I wouldn’t judge him too harshly for this, but at the same time, I didn’t love Mahle so much at the moment anyway. Leave him on the wire.

Tommy Milone5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Milone Shmilone. Man, I didn’t think I’d be able to say that dumb thing again.

Dan Straily5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Straily gave us the ole Philly against the Nats but at lest six Ks too? Yeah, I don’t want to chase this, even as a streamer. Way too volatile.

Tyler Chatwood4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 6 BBs, 4 Ks. What do you know, Chatwood walked more than he struck out. And he didn’t get away with it. All is right in the world. Save for Kingham and Cahill. :(

Zack Godley5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, just one walk! Glad to see him trust his sinker again, too bad it allowed plenty of hard contact. Curveball is still great though, which means there is a path to success if he can figure out his sinker/cutter mix. Yesterday it returned 11/47 CSW and y’all know that’s not good.

Steven Matz6.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Whoaaaaa nine strikeouts from Matz! And he did it with just 10 whiffs, which blows my mind. However, 28 called strikes add up to 38/106 and that’s lovely. Changeup did great work – 9/19 CSW – and he pumped the zone with sinkers. Keep rolling with Matz, even if I don’t really buy the ratios fully moving forward. Mini Vargas rule? Kinda?

Anibal Sanchez6.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Hmmmm is Sanchez finally hitting the wall? He abandoned his best pitch in this one, throwing just 7 cutters all game and went four-seamer/splitter happy against the Dodgers. It’s not the end, but if that cutter doesn’t return next time, I’ll be worried.

Ranger Suarez5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I expected a starter who throws strikes, gets grounders, and won’t be a strikeout guy. That’s exactly what we got and y’all already know that I’m giving him the Cup of Schmo label. I just don’t see enough to make me believe he can be a solid ratio guy constantly and he’s not carrying that overpowering pitch to make him a strong K option.

Trevor Cahill5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Bleeeegh. Seriously, it was just 20 CSW in 86 pitches – yuck – and he was plenty more hittable than he should be. I’m not ready to give up yet, though, and he gets the Jays next that should return better.

Nick Tropeano6.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Better than the DLH, still bad though. We need to see more before considering him again.

Bartolo Colon7.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. The Groan Ranger is exactly who we thought he was. HE WAS WHAT WE THOUGHT HE WAS. Wait, are you making a football joke? I thought you hated football! I do, I do, but we’re launching our sister site QB List for fantasy football on Monday and the terrible sport is on my mind. Sidenote: Send me an email if you think you’d be a perfect fit to join the writing team!

Dylan Covey4.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Don’t Covey Thy Dylan. Yeeeeeep.

Nick Kingham 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. This. This is a nightmare. While the opening two runs came on a blegh changeup to Conforto and actually a decent inside changeup to Wilmer Flores for the longball, Kingham unraveled quickly. Sliders weren’t as sharp as usual, fastball command was horrrrrendous, changeup found too much of the plate, curveball was hung, and life is terrible. It’s the worst I’ve seen Kingham all season and I just wish he didn’t have to do this against the Mets. It’s really frustrating, but it forces me to recalibrate my opinion of Kingham heavily as I didn’t think this kind of floor was really there. Sure, he’s had other bad starts, but this one was deservingly laborious. There’s a difference. Now he gets the Cubs and Coors and I don’t want anything to do it. I’d probably roll with him after that stretch, but I think you’re okay letting him ride the wire until then. Sorry y’all. Streaming Record: 59-35.

Today’s Streamer

Pablo Lopez vs. Washington Nationals – There’s some upside here and the Nationals are not scaring me.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Seattle Mariners – I don’t want to do this. Only other options are Brett Anderson vs. Coors, Lucas Giolito vs. Jays, Francisco Liriano vs. Indians, Trevor Williams vs. Mets and Trevor Richards vs. Nationals SO HERE I AM.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Joe Musgrove vs. New York Mets – I’m tempted to go Clay Buchholz against the Padres instead, but I can buy into Musgrove having a higher floor against the poor Mets offense (yes poor, even with what they did to Kingham).

Game of the Day

Clayton Kershaw vs. Mike Foltynewicz – I want Folty to have a bounce back game while Kershaw is due for one of his patented “oh right, he is the pitcher” days.

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.

7 responses to “Here Comes The Sonny”

  1. Jake says:

    How confident are you in Pablo Lopez today? A win seems unlikely as he’s facing Scherzer, and the Nats lineup looks fairly strong. Would any of the following be a better stream today or tomorrow?

    Mike Fiers vs CLE
    Wade LeBlanc @ LAA
    Jhoulys Chacin @ SF
    Gio Gonzalez @ MIA
    Matt Harvey vs PHI
    Felix Hernandez @ LAA

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ahhhh sorry I didn’t get to this!

      I think you were in the AMA though and I hope that made you not start Lopez over the other options :)

  2. Jim says:

    If the Pirates push back Kingham by 1 day, which is very possible after last night, and he gets the Cards instead of the Cubs would you be more willing to use him next start? Where do you draw the line with young arms in regards to a tough matchup vs going through a rough patch?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m not so against it, but I’m a little worried after seeing such a poor display yesterday. This was a seriously bad day and I can’t say that he’ll be able to make the adjustment for next time.

      That line…that’s such a hard line. You just don’t know how they’ll respond.

  3. J says:

    Such a disappointing start for Kingham. Would you drop him for Dereck Rodriguez at this point?

    • Frankie says:

      Nick said in the podcast he is okay with dropping Kingham at this point. His next two starts as it stands line up as ChC and at Coors.
      I’d rather have DRod at this point regardless if Kingham’s next start pushed back or not.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Yeah, I’m okay with that swap right now.

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