How Is This Happening

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

(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)

I’ve been on the J. A. Happ train plenty this season, essentially as a floor guy that suddenly has the ability to earn consistent strikeouts, though there has been talk about his dwindling whiff rates over the past month and if that will translate to a poor second half. Now there’s a lot more talk suddenly after heading to the Bronx and leaving with a horrific line of 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, it was the Yankees and I expect not everyone started him here, but there was a decent chance Happ pulled away with some production and this may have killed your week. The aftermath is a 4.44 ERA on the year, though his supporting numbers – 26.3% K rate, 1.18 WHIP, and 3.64 SIERA – are easily digestible. I’ll make this quick. Yes, I’m concerned that he’s eclipsed a 10% whiff rate just once in his last eight games, and that will forced me to move him down the ranks to the mid-to-late 30s tomorrow. I’m not counting out a return to form, but he’s trending in the wrong direction and that deserves docked points.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Corey Kluber – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Aces gonna ace, even if it’s with just eight whiffs. Some days, you just don’t need a breeze.

Deck McGuire – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. If you put your faith in McGuire, expect to get Decked.

Blake Snell – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. This wasn’t even precise Snell as his command was a bit more questionable than we’ve seen this season. And it didn’t matter. I really wish I believed in your transformation more in the pre-season, at least we fell in love early when you showed up to the ball, right? Please tell me it’s okay.

Mike Fiers – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Our backup Call Boy continued his hot streak as he took down the Rangers, completing a solid discount two-start week. He gets the Astros next so it’s time to let this go.

Kyle Freeland – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. This went against the Rocky Mountain Way as Freeland went to Seattle, and that 1.80 WHIP definitely hurts. Good on him for allowing just 1 ER despite just about 2 baserunners per inning, don’t expect that to stick.

Carlos Martinez – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s not the strikeout explosion you want, but you’ll take it from CarMart. That’s three straight solid starts after his highly questionable four-start run to kick off his return from the DL and we should be feeling A-OK with him now. Sidenote: This is why the TIARA is a thing.

Steven Matz – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Not the best WHIP, but Matz squeezed out another decent start. I’m rolling my eyes as I just don’t buy it long term, but I can’t deny that there is zero reason to put him on the wire.

Anibal Sanchez – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Man, Anibal’s 2.72 ERA through 59.2 IP is one of the more shocking things I’ve seen this year. There’s also his 24% K rate to go with it – highest since 2013 – paired with a sparkling 1.04 WHIP. Baseball is weird. Go ahead, roll with it in a 12-teamer, and while his 232 BABIP and an 81.5% LOB rate are as suggestive and primed for disaster as a movie called “Sausage Party”, he’s still carrying both a FIP and SIERA under 4.00. That still plays, believe it or not. But seriously, that cutter is ridiculous good and hats off to Anibal. Streaming Record: 53-29.

Ross Stripling – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. After a little stumble, Stripling came roaring back against the Angels with a solid 31/90 CSW as his curveballs is still the king of the castle. I have him Top 30, but I’m heavily considering if he should be right outside the Top 20 of not. The dude is rocking a 2.19 ERA, 30.4% K rate, and 2.2% BB rate in his last 12 games after all. That’s ridiculous.

Jake Arrieta – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Arrieta, buddy, I didn’t know you still had it in you. He’s still super focused on his slide piece and 5/35 whiffs ain’t what it used to be – 11 fouls tell a better story, honestly – but the fact that he’s confident with it to get strikes is a major positive as it’s not “just sinkers and I hope something else works.” He’s the newest Spiderman in town as Tanner Roark has long lost the crown of best Toby in town and don’t you forget it.

Matt Harvey – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m impressed a bit that Harvey survived 5.2 IP of 2 ER ball against the Cubs, but 10 baserunners and four strikeouts just aren’t going to cut it. I won’t judge him harshly here as the question isn’t really if Harvey can excel against the cream of the crop offenses but rather about 75% of teams, and considering his velocity is still comfortably above 94mph, I like to think so.

Edwin Jackson – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Ayyyy there’s the EJax, which is having more walks than strikeouts. It’s more of a Chatty Patty these days, but I’m glad the OG was able to show up and show Chatwood how it’s done. What about his value in fantasy? Oh no, run far away children. Faaaaar away.

Aaron Wilkerson – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. With Brent Suter hitting the DL, Wilkerson came into to town to make an announcement. “I am the new Cup of Schmo.” He’s not one for speeches.

Kevin Gausman – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. On one hand, Gausman threw 31/90 splitters and that’s cool, earning 14 whiffs overall. On the other, he made some mistakes and got burned. He’s still a Toby to me, this one didn’t go great, but meh.

Kyle Gibson – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. On a day with Paxton, Severino, Ray, Morton, Scherzer, Kluber, and Snell, I’m a bit amazed Gibson is the man walking away with a Gallows Pole as he earned 23 whiffs (40/107 CSW!) against the Orioles. Yes, his slider was doing slider things, but he also earned 7/23 whiffs on his curveball, which surprised me a bit. Feel good starting him against the Rays next.

Cole Hamels – 0.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Hamels threw over 40 pitches in the first as errors and blegh pitches got him axed early. Some days just suck, you know?

Jeff Samardzija – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Samardzija is back – DLH y’all – and this was as middling as Jan. I’m not ready to endorse Loose Lips, though I can fathom him getting into a groove in the second half. Not the worst chase in a deep 12-teamer.

Luis Severino – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces going to take a day off because we all need some time to reflect. This start raised Severino’s ERA from 1.98 to 2.12 and yes we’re all upset about it.

Jameson Taillon – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m super happy with that WHIP and strikeout production. I just wish this wasn’t a Careful Icarus as all three runs came in the seventh frame. And with two outs. And started with an infield single. LIFE MAN, LIFE IS TOUGH.

Brad Keller – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. BK, it’s not what you crave.

James Paxton – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna give up one too many ER for us to be truly happy, as he allowed a three-run blast in the seventh. Not really a Careful Icarus as he threw under 100 pitches despite, but yes, I’m a little disappointed too.

David Price – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. What this line does tell you are the three HBP in four batters in the fifth inning that led to Price’s removal. He was all kinds of erratic with 102 pitches, but I can’t say I’m too sad staring at a 9 strikeout day. Toronto is next and I’m cool with that, I’m wondering if I need to pull him down a little after this.

Robbie Ray – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Man, this is so Ray. It was the Padres Robbie, you don’t need to walk them. Should we give him a little more of a leash to assume he’ll ramp it up over time recovering from the DL or push him to the 30s right now? I’m leaning the former, but I’ll be thinking about it.

Max Scherzer – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. Yes Scherzer, you’re giving me a blegh. In a blowout game. Against the Marlins. WHY.

Charlie Morton – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. A touch of Careful Icarus here as Morton was cruising until the sixth frame. But this was the ChiSox. It’s too bad, at least you go 8 Ks out of it. That’s what being Top 25 is all about – something to salvage when it goes poorly.

Tyler Chatwood – 5.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. How are you still a thing. We got Matt Moore removed, I wonder if the Cubs will heavily pursue someone like Jacob deGrom to get him removed ASAP.

Wei-Yin Chen – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. This is one of the classics off Wei-Yin’s signature vinyl, What Chen Music Means To Me. The answer is suffering. Spinning Chen is suffering.

Tyson Ross – 2.0 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. And the decline for Ross continues as he had no answers for the Diamondbacks. He’ll take another mini dive tomorrow.

James Shields – 5.2 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Jimmy Bucklers faced the Astros, didn’t look so bad at first – 9 Ks! – then ran into some serious trouble as the Coppers found him out. If you had the brass to start Jimmy here, at least you got some strikeouts…?

Today’s Streamer

Nick Kingham vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I feel like Aladdin the way I’m saying “Do you trust me?” about Kingham and I totally get it. That’s cool if you disagree, I’m going for this and we can talk later.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Zack Wheeler vs. Philadelphia Phillies – He’s still owned in under 20% of leagues and that’s simply not just.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jeremy Hellickson vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I have about four choices that fit my threshold of 20% or under and Hellickson has the best matchup, so it looks like I’m putting my faith in The Devil. Shudders.

Game of the Day

Nick Kingham vs. Philadelphia Phillies – We all know he’s better than that outing against the Dodgers. It’s time for him to show it.

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.

10 responses to “How Is This Happening”

  1. Scott says:

    Is it time to cut ross in a 14 team league? He’s been bad lately and his numbers have been deteriorating for the last month. Fly balls up, grounders down and the K’s have disappeared. I thought he was back to his old self, but he looks like the same guy who was in Texas last year now. Thx

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think he can recover and it’s a decision based on what’s available on the wire. I’d like to hold if possible but if something is out that there that can help, go for it.

  2. Matt Nielsen says:

    Are you at all concerned with Kluber’s K production of late (19.1% since June 15th)?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Not really, I see that as a product of three meh games and I don’t think those define him moving forward.

  3. Dgm says:

    Nick would u trade berrios and price for degrom?

    Alternatively I might be able to swing Daniel Murphy and berrios for degrom as well

    C J Realmuto
    1 A Rizzo
    2 D Murphy
    3 A Rendón
    SS E Andrus
    OF S Marte
    OF A Eaton
    OF M Betts
    UTIL J Profar
    UTIL C Santana
    BN K Tucker
    BN m trumbo

    SP Verlander, Berrios, Carrasco, Price, Pivetta, M Gonzales, Kingham the pork king,

    RP kela, Vazquez, Rondon

  4. J says:

    I don’t think the Cubs’ entire farm system would be enough to land deGrom.

  5. Dan says:

    How does Maeda look ROS?
    Good pitcher to target?

  6. Barry says:

    I have an open roster spot. A. Sanchez, Kingham, Stroman, Samardzija or Suarez?

    Thank you

  7. Sean says:

    Honestly, I feel like Price is the highest-quality Cherry Bomb you can buy at the fireworks stand. Generally get what you pay for, but when he blows up he takes half your hand with him.

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