If I Had One Vish, It Would Be Yu

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

I know y’all want me to talk a bit about Yu Darvish after his 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks performance against the Pirates yesterday. There’s a lot to like here – 25% breakers of curveballs and sliders, sub 30% cutters, and just one walk without a longball. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. I’ve been hollering about my shock that Darvish has abandoned his breakers and to see him not only showcase them frequently but excel with the pitch is marvelous. A Redditor mentioned that Contreras sat on the bench in favor of Caratini behind the plate and maybe that has something to do with it (I can’t stand the way Contreras prepares his glove for pitches). I wouldn’t put stock in that as much as Darvish really trusting his slider and curveball here. It’s a great sign, not one that defines a second-half breakout, but among a sea of questionable options, you don’t have the option to say no.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Taylor Cole2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. This was a special evening as Felix Pena followed for seven no-hit innings of his own, sealing a team no-hitter on the evening the Angels team honored the passing of Tyler SkaggsIf you missed this game, watch clips of it. I was speechless and truly touched watching its conclusion. Anyway, I don’t think we can really change our view of Pena based on this game. A lovely, remarkable evening, but not one that can be replicated.

Mike Fiers7.2 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The man just keeps going. It’s ridiculous. Vargas Rule it and we’ll talk later.

Domingo German6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Domingo is going to surge up The List on Monday, sitting in the Minor/Woodruff/Lynn tier as he’s back from the IL and DOMINATING with his curveball. Six of his seven strikeouts came on the pitch, most located perfectly between the bottom of the zone and the dirt. Don’t you dare stop starting him.

Caleb Smith6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. Those walks are a whack attack but cut him some slack. It’s just his second start back. We cool, Smith. We cool.

Stephen Strasburg6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Man, Stras could go 30+ starts for the first time since 2013 this year. That’s lovely.

Mike Clevinger5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. It wasn’t the overwhelming start we wanted it to be, needing 92 pitches for 15 outs, but I’ll certainly take it. His ceiling is monstrous and even the idea that I’m a little disappointed here should say a lot.

Kyle Gibson3.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay so the line isn’t bad…until you see that he tossed just 3.2 frames. What is this? He’s said his mechanics are a little off and 80 pitches to get pulled in the fourth isn’t right. Maybe I should lower him a little to the mid-to-late 40s, but honestly, you just have to cross your fingers that he figures this out next week.

Sonny Gray7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Hot DANG Gray! We were fawning over his curveball usage on our On The Corner podcast and he turned to it nearly 30% of the time in this one, while his slider did damage as well with its 18 thrown. The combination was 16/48 CSW, which is certainly welcome and turned a scary Coors outing into some gold. Yep, you’re moving up on Monday. If there’s any way to sign up now, I’d go ahead and do that. Think late 30s.

Dallas Keuchel7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. That WHIP stings a bit but I’ll take the rest. He’s a true Toby, though I can’t label him Spider-Man without April and May. It wouldn’t be fair.

Daniel Poncedeleon6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. The Great Leon had a spot start as the Cardinals pushed back Adam Wainwright and was fantastic out there. It’s not something to chase on the wire as Waino should return next week, and even if he stuck around we likely wouldn’t see anything like this again all year. But hey, it was a wonderful time and let’s be happy about that.

Robbie Ray6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. That’s two straight games with 1 ER and 8 Ks. Sure, the Cardinals are a poor lineup at the moment, but I’m a little excited. Please clap get excited.

Eduardo Rodriguez7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Ayyyy, solid stuff Edu! Especially against the Dodgers! His fastball has been commanded well and that’s great. But y’all know how inconsistent Erod is and while you obviously start him moving forward, I can’t buy that he’ll have a breakout second half now. But hey, this is cool, even if his heater dropped a little in velocity here.

Chase Anderson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. That four starts of 7 ER total…where he hasn’t survived six frames in any. Yeah, there just isn’t enough here to chase.

Yonny Chirinos7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Chirinos had a matchup against the O’s and did not pass on the opportunity for production. While I don’t see a climb to the Top 25, I see a solid arm for your 12-teamers that we can all be happy with. Thanks for being you, Yonny.

Jon Gray7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. With Jon vs. Sonny, it was the battle of the neutrals and Jonny lowered his ERA to a satisfying 3.83 mark with this outing. I still can’t truly believe that he’s turned a corner and deserves your trust consistently (even if this was Coors!), but I guess it’s a headache that you have to endure.

Chris Archer6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Archer’s seventh frame ruined this one – Careful Icarus – but hot dang this is lovely. Is there a massive change? Well, not throwing sinkers is a positive. It’s not a huge change that makes me thing we’re bound for classic Archer (what is “classic” Archer? The 4.00+ ERA for three years when he threw four-seamers and not sinkers?), but there may be something here to suggest that he won’t kill you when you roll with him. And honestly, that’s all we can ask for. Thanks, Chris.

Kenta Maeda5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. A pair of HRs were the difference between a strong six frames and a Philly. It’s hard not to like where Maeda is at these days, firmly in the Dodgers rotation. Roll with it, though don’t expect a Top 25 return.

Nick Pivetta5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s not terrible and surprisingly bland for a Pivetta start, but at least it’s not a horrible evening? It’s getting harder to remember his upside, but it’s still in there if you need to take the chance.

Shaun Anderson5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. I’m shocked to see eight strikeouts from Shaun-A as he’s D-Rod 2.0, though the ratios are kinda in line. This does not warrant a pickup. Sorry.

Gerrit Cole6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 13 Ks. Cole wanted his buddy Justin to feel better so allowed a trio of HRs on his own. Oh great, now BOTH of them are going to complain about juiced balls. AS THEY SHOULD. Don’t look at the people complaining, contest the point (don’t bring Ad Hominem up in this) and I imagine all of you agree that the balls are so obviously juiced. It’s silly. I won’t say that it’s the basis for why it’s been a more tumultuous year ranking pitchers than usual, but it really needs to stop. Seriously. There are other ways to spark offense and make it harder for pitchers. This was is the ultimate extreme that makes it feel more like chance than deserved run scoring. Just saying. Anyway, another Gallows Pole with 22 whiffs for Cole because duh.

Danny Duffy2.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Looks like it was a good thing I switched off Duffy to Vargas…or not…or there was no way to win unless I picked Poncedeleon, who wasn’t even listed as the starter. I WAS DOOMED FROM THE START. Anyway, Duffy took another liner and suffered another contusion as he was lifted early. He’s only a deep AL-Only option and while still relevant there, should be ignored elsewhere.

Dinelson Lamet5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. This is Lamet summed up in one game. Lots of Ks, questionable ratios. You know what you’re getting here.

Mike Leake0.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Leake, it wasn’t your night. It was the Angels’. You didn’t have a chance from the very first pitch.

Ivan Nova6.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. No Super Nova tonight, kids, put away the goggles. But DAAAAAD. Fine, you can wear them to sleep, just don’t tell your mother.

Aaron Sanchez5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Well, yeah. Sanchez hasn’t been good since Aaron Harang was still a thing.

Spencer Turnbull3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. It was a clear DLH as Turnbull was surprisingly activated for this start against the Royals.

Jesse Chavez5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Remember when he had that great first start? Now you can look from afar and spot the trap with ease.

Jason Vargas5.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Welp, looks like we can put a legit end to the Vargas Rule for Jason as he couldn’t handle the Marlins. And not even two strikeouts? HAISTFMFWT?!

Dylan Bundy1.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Sporer and I just talked about Bundy during our weekly Fireside Chat podcast and of course he hits the poor side of his extreme ability in this one. Still nuts that his four-seamer is 5th in RPM among all four-seamer spin rates. Makes you wonder if he can pull a Giolito at some point.


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


Kyle Freeland vs. Cincinnati Reds – This is crazy and stupid and don’t do it. I KNOW. But look at the options I have, I can’t even take Chris Bassitt against the White Sox as he’s owned at 22%. So maybe Freeland figured something out in that last minor league start and can run away with this one. The legit only other option I have is Brad Keller against the Tigers and come on man, that’s not fun.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jhoulys Chacin vs. San Francisco GiantsAt least here I have a decent matchup with Chacin and who knows? After all, Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jakob Junis vs. Chicago White SoxThis one may change as we get six more starters confirmed for Monday’s game, but it’s Junis or Norris and I’ll go Junis’s strikeout upside.


Game of the Day 


Patrick Corbin vs. Aaron Nola – It’s Nola day AND we get to see Corbin do his thing. That’s what’s up.


(Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire)

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.

3 responses to “If I Had One Vish, It Would Be Yu”

  1. dwb25 says:

    Contreras caught Darvish’s first five starts of the year. Since April 27th he has only caught four of Darvish’s 14 starts, so not sure there is a direct correlation there.

  2. Brandy McFadden says:

    Daniel PoncedeLeon….looking at his age/progression/stats in minors/etc…..do you see a Clevinger-like/light comparison or is it just me???

  3. Brad R says:

    I asked the on weekly rankings but will ask it again after this performance by Chirinos: why is he still listed as a cherry Bomb?

    I know he hasn’t been getting lots of wind lately, but this is the 7th straight QS. He hasn’t been bombing much at all this year. He feels like a Toby bordering on Spiderman level

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