Jack’s in the Box

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

Jack Flaherty vs MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.

I don’t want to get too bogged down talking about Jack Flaherty, who will be essentially auto-started the rest of the way, but let’s at least acknowledge that we’re thrilled to see him act like an ace again as he went 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches against the Brewers. Aces gonna ace. The slider still isn’t where we want it to be (3/15 whiffs, 0 called strikes), but the four-seamer is dominating as he stayed inside the box with 15 called strikes. Give the sweeper a little more time, it’ll come around and as long as that fastball keeps pumping effectively in the zone, things will be just fine. And hey, he’s up to 92 pitches now after tossing 81 last time out. Right on, right on, right on.


Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:


Anthony DeSclafani vs NYM (ND) – 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 29 pitches.

Tony Disco rolled his ankle covering first and was pulled from the game in the second inning. Ugh. It’s unclear how long he’ll be out for or if he even misses a start. It puts you in a bind and I’d wait a day or two before doing anything. We’ll likely have a good idea of his status soon as he’s getting a scan on Thursday.

Marco Gonzales @ TEX (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 92 pitches.

Yesssss. I’m not expecting Marco to be all kinds of amazing ‘n’ whatnot, but I dang well expect him to produce against the Rangers, even if that WHIP is a little higher than we like. Oakland is ahead and I think you’re safe there.

Justin Bruihl vs PIT (ND) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 20 pitches.

Step aside Justin, we have to talk about my streaming pick of the day Mitch Whitewho absolutely cruised against the Pirates — 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW 91 pitches. Yeah, that’s some sneaky production including a cheap win across seven remarkable innings. Streaming Record: 75-53. He did it with a dominant four-seamer that earned outs and tons of strikes around the zone + a curveball that fell in for free real estate constantly. It’s a solid two-pitch mix, but not one I’d bank on against a strong opponent. Sadly he’s destined to face the Padres next, and I don’t think I’d take the risk there, but keep your eye out for that Dodgers series hosting Rockie Road after — I think I’m down for another stream then.

Adrian Sampson @ CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 69 pitches.

If you’re wondering what Sampson brings to the table, it’s a 91 mph sinker, a decent changeup…Oh, that’s it? It seemed like you were going to say more. Nope, that’s it. Okay. Is it though? Now imagine how mediocre he’d be if he didn’t have that head of hair.

Andrew Heaney vs BOS (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 108 pitches.

Hey, awesome job Heaney. I’m amazed you were able to keep the ball in the yard save for a Xander Bogaerts blast in the first, doing your version of the BSB with fastballs up and changeups/curveballs down. That heater really did some work in the upper edge of the zone and if he can keep that command, he should be alright moving forward. I wouldn’t bank on it, though, Heaney has had this volatility in him for his full career.

Zack Greinke @ KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 85 pitches.

This is madness. Greinke didn’t earn a single strikeout in six frames. NOT ONE. HAISTBMBWT?! And yet, those ratios are glorious and we don’t really care…? You sly devil, Zack.

Shohei Ohtani @ DET (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.

How dang cool is it that Ohtani is performing this well this season? He hit his 40th HR in this game as well, while allowing just one ER in eight frames. THE MAN IS RIDICULOUS. He should get the Orioles next and I’m obviously — in my best Raymond Holt voice — Down. To clown.

Tylor Megill @ SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

Ayyyy, he’s good again! Really?! Maybe! I’m shocked he was able to earn a Gallows Pole without a good changeup, relying heavily on his four-seamer to get the job done. We’re talking 64% usage and nine whiffs on the pitch, as the slider was okay, but not great. Seriously, this was the heater show with Billy Mays as we watched all the different ways the pitch could get results. He’ll get the Giants another time and I’m sadly still cautious. This was great, but it’s unlike Megill to excel with just the four-seamer and I’d wager it won’t be at this level next start. Does the changeup return to compensate? I’m not sure.

Lance Lynn vs OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 88 pitches.

Aces gonna…get ejected after four frames. It’s the only way he’d leave a start at just 88 pitches, after all. It’s not like he was his best self, though, and let’s hope he can step up to the challenge next time against the Jays.

Humberto Castellanos vs PHI (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 74 pitches.

You’re wondering who this fella is, and honestly, you really need not focus on it. What you see above you is a TEEs of the highest degree, with just three whiffs and one strikeout to his name (HAISTBMBWT?!due to a middling sub-91 mph pair of heaters and no strong secondary in sight. Do yourself a favor and don’t play on HC mode. Also, I should note Caleb Smith pitching in relief and getting ejected for sticky stuff on his glove. Yikes.

Mike Foltynewicz vs SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 91 pitches.

I heavily debated if Folty would be worthwhile or not here and I’m glad to see his slider and curveball do enough to work through a mediocre Mariners lineup. I don’t think it sways me to start him against Cleveland, but hey, good on ya Folty. I initially typed out his initials instead and quickly NOPED that off my screen.

Charlie Morton @ MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 89 pitches.

Atta boy Morton, look at that King Cole. It’s the Marlins so I won’t get too amped, but 35% CSW with a 50% clip on his curveball is always a welcome sight. He’s about to get a barrage of steely grins & cleats digging into boxes with a grotesque spit as hands grind the bottom of the bat with the schedule ahead: NYY, @LAD, @COL. Not great, Bob. I can’t sit here and tell you Morton can keep up this production with just his curveball and heater in these matchups but hey, let’s at least give him a chance first.

Louis Head vs BAL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 34 pitches.

Step aside Louis, Ryan Yarbrough followed you for 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW 70 pitches and admit it, he had you going in the first half. Just five whiffs and a 21% CSW induces cat-like inhales you didn’t even know you were capable of. I see the value for those in SP/RP leagues, but in your standard 12-teamer, I don’t think he can replicate these outings with his cutter and changeup.

Tarik Skubal vs LAA (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 97 pitches.

Skubal allowed an early two-run shot to Justin Upton, then settled down awfully well for the next six frames. Pretty dang cool to do that and a great reason why we all gotta resist reacting to a start after the first frame or two. Anyway, his changeup earned a few more whiffs this time and his slider earned strikes. It’s cool, just not overwhelming, but cool. Sadly, now he gets the Jays twice + Cincinnati and if there’s something out there on the wire, I’d likely make the swap. The matchups are just too poor.

Josiah Gray vs TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

Hot dang! I’m so impressed by you, Josiah. This was the Jays — the Jays! — and your slider was so gosh darn good. We’re talking 10/30 whiffs + a 50% CSW on the curveball. We’re seen starts where the four-seamer has dominated, now here’s one where the breakers fully took over. The fact Gray has multiple paths to success on a given night is lovely. Let it ride, let it ride.

José Berríos @ WSH (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.

Ehhhh? It’s a 3.60 ERA, which is so on point for The Flag (he’s the biggest undulator there is) and that WHIP hurts your squad. The curveball was great, everything else was not, and this is honestly just frustrating. I feel like the best course of action is to just lock Berríos in your lineup regardless of opponent for the rest of the year, and it should work out for you.

Lewis Thorpe vs CLE (ND) – 1.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 38 pitches.

Thorpe isn’t stretched out and this was a bullpen game. Huzzah. Update: Thorpe left this early with a shoulder strain. Bummer.

Brady Singer vs HOU (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 92 pitches.

Singer tallied 19 called strikes, pushing for 47% CSW on his sinker. Nick, I can feel your eyes roll. Well, you know this ain’t for real. The dude had three whiffs — THREE! — and y’all know sinker called strikes are not the metric to lean on start-to-start. Can I call it a Birthday Party? I’m gonna call it a Birthday Party.

Chi Chi González vs SD (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 42 pitches.

Chi Chi subbed in for Austin Gomberwho is on paternity leave. He didn’t do a whole lot, and y’all have already stopped reading. I can tell, I can say anything right now, and ya’ll wouldn’t know. BARBRA STREISAND. I have no idea why, don’t ask. Stop looking at me like that.

Paul Blackburn @ CWS (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 75 pitches.

Whoa, it’s Blackburn?! Oakland served us some PB & Ks tonight…okay notreallyasitwasjustthreestrikeoutsBUTANYWAY I guess he’s a thing now and I’m here for it not here for it. His sinker/cutter approach is too mediocre to chase. Maybe he can be a Toby but I don’t a legit impact starter here.

Freddy Peralta @ STL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 43 pitches.

Because all of y’all insist on preventing the DH in the National League, Peralta was removed after hurting himself swinging a bat. Yep. I know you’re not actually the reason for the lack of DH (that’s a whole thing) but it’s stuff like this that boils my butter. You know what keeps my butter nice and cool? The idea that this could at least bring Aaron Ashby back into the rotation. So at least we have that silver lining — GET HIM NOW.

Ranger Suárez @ ARI (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 86 pitches.

Ouch. I’m glad he was able to go 86 pitches, but this should pour some cold water on those jumping for Suárez. I regret sticking him in the “Questionable” tier given the Arizona matchup and the issue here is, well, everything. It’s a 94/95 sinker/four-seamer mix with some changeups that were poor tonight + a slider that was thrown just three times. Like eating just a single Oreo, it isn’t enough. Stop chasing this, this Ranger doesn’t have the power.

Spenser Watkins @ TB (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 74 pitches.

Do you know this isn’t working, Spenser? No, I don’t actually. Why, it’s elementary my dear Watkins! Your stuff isn’t great and the command needs to be pristine to work. Was it tonight? Heavens, no. Oh.

Jesús Luzardo vs ATL (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Nah. So we wait another start, patiently. The safe bet is to call him a Young Gun and wait for next year, but maybe, just maybe, it clicks before September ends.

Nick Pivetta @ NYY (L) – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 57 pitches.

Yikes. Pivetta tossed too many pitches in the heart of the plate, while missing the zone entirely with the majority of everything else. This was post-classic Pivetta, which is the point in Pivetta’s career after the time he was fantastic initially. That’s the worst era. Yes, and ERA, too. He could rebound against the Twins, don’t rule it out.

Jake Arrieta @ COL (L) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 64 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Arrieta, the Padre, failing in Coors. More like making me Sadre, am I right? No? Nothing? Man, that flopped almost as hard as this start. Please stop. Already moving on.

Zach Plesac @ MIN (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 73 pitches.

Noooooooo. I was hoping that Plesac could figure out his slider and changeup by now, but we’re not even close. Just 4/33 CSW between the two here and he’s likely back to the wire now. Suit man whispers in my earHe gets the Rangers? And then the Royals?! Uggggh, I guess I’d take the chance on his next start. Just one more, Plesac, ONE MORE.

Tyler Mahle vs CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

A lot of people have expressed how Mahle is much better on the road than at home. It’s a pretty ridiculous difference — 5.74 ERA at home and 1.86 ERA on the road — and here’s Mahle, getting a poor offense and still crumbling in Great American Ballpark. I normally don’t go for home/road splits (it’s often just random distribution noise), but this seems pretty real given he’s a fly-ball-heavy guy who calls homer-haven GABP his home. I guess we just start him half the time now…? That doesn’t sound great. I think he’s falling on The List on Monday because of it.

JT Brubaker @ LAD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 82 pitches.

We’ve been out on Coffee Cakes for a hot moment + this was the Dodgers. No harm, no foul. Because there were a lot of balls that landed fare. For hits. Ayyyyyy. Nice.


Game of the Day 


Zack Wheeler vs Madison Bumgarner Wheeler should coast while Bumgarner could continue following the Vargas Rule despite sitting just 90 mph.

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.

2 responses to “Jack’s in the Box”

  1. ben says:

    Man, you seem like the biggest Freddy Peralta hater lol

  2. BB says:

    Nice to finally see the Mahle reality check. (Home, 63 IP, 17 HRA; road, 73 IP, 3 HRA.)

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