Joe Hitter

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Joe Musgrove @ TEX (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 112 pitches.

The mad man did it. Joe Musgrove tossed the first no-hitter in Padres history going 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks across 112 pitches. The only blemish was hitting Joey Gallo en route to 15 whiffs and a strong 35% CSW. His slider was just as filthy as ever for 47% CSW, his cutter and curveball earned strikes, and he featured fastballs just 13% of the time. Musgrove, you figured it out. FINALLY. You went heavy on secondary pitches and it was so good that you DIDN’T ALLOW A HIT. I really hope this is a lesson for many others out there – you don’t need to throw fastballs all the time as long as you have a secondary pitch you can throw for a strike. In many cases, that’s a cutter (25% usage here!), but maybe that’s a curveball or a slider. Break the norms and do what works best for you.

As for the road ahead, it gets even easier as he faces his former club in Pittsburgh. Sometimes life isn’t fair, and sometimes life is just grand. Appreciate the good things.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Tyler Mahle @ ARI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 92 pitches.

Hey, look! Another no-hitter! Mahle’s fastball is still blazing at 95+ mph and he’s keeping it elevated with incredible precision. His slider…is getting decent results but he can’t quite throw it for a strike when he wants to quite yet and it’s making it a bit tougher for Mahle to be efficient – just look at that pitch count for just 12 outs. All that’s left is for his slider – or maybe even a curveball or cutter – to get strikes constantly for Mahle to truly take the leap we know he could make.

Taylor Widener vs CIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 83 pitches.

Yeaaaaah, I wanted this to work out, but A) The Reds are solid offense, B) Widener is simply too inconsistent, and C) the last two points. He gets the Nationals next and I’m probably out there. Ugh, that changeup can be so sexy though.

Joe Ross @ LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 67 pitches.

I’m absolutely stunned by this result but it’s pretty easy to see that it’s not gonna stick. Ross is throwing 1.5 ticks slower than last year, earned just 2/20 whiffs on his slider, and had a 15% CSW on his changeup. That’s a bad thing on all three of his pitches. Yep. That isn’t good. Nope. So the Joe from the headline…was not about Ross, seriously?

Walker Buehler vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Wow. One thing I praise Buehler about constantly is the depth of his repertoire. With a four-seamer foundation, he shuffles a curve, slider, and cutter to get strikes. Well…most of the time. He went two-thirds heaters in this one as just his curve was able to have any sort of effectiveness here, and it worked. That fastball held a remarkable 39% CSW and it’s just that good.

Zach Plesac vs DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 97 pitches.

See? He just needed one outing to get calibrated as Plesac earned a Gallows Pole with just three baserunners. So good to see him go a full seven like Cleveland allows and even better to see Plesac effective with both his slider and changeup, each holding at least a 37% CSW. Things are wonderful in Plesac town.

Andrew Heaney @ TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 93 pitches.

Whoaaaa look at this! Heaney’s fastball was still hawt at 92.5 mph, he kept it up in the zone, and leaned on it hard at 67% usage. Meanwhile, his changeup + curveball combined for 40% CSW and he was able to avoid the longball. Am I overrating the Jays’ offense or underrating Heaney’s ability? I’m not sure and I hate to say that I still can’t buy in with Minnesota + Houston next. I just want to write Andy on the bottom of all my shoes. I just can’t do it and I suggest you don’t fall for the lovely melodies this siren of a line sings.

David Phelps vs LAA (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 20 pitches.

Phelps opened for T.J. Zeuch who was…blegh. I really miss when Phelps was throwing hard cutters and was demolishing as a Marlins before he got hurt. Good times…good times…

Johnny Cueto vs COL (W) – 8.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 118 pitches.

Well hot dang! He was the lead before Musgrove did his thing – “Johnny Cash” for those wondering – and my streaming pick of the day came through. Streaming Record: 4-5. Sadly, this is more about how terrible Colorado is away from Coors – Rockie Road n all – while Cueto was able to spin the whole arsenal into the zone without punishment. Yes, that’s two lovely starts to kick things off, but he’s got the Reds and Phillies next and I expect plenty worse there. You can drop him after you picked him up just for this start.

Charlie Morton vs PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 83 pitches.

Ahhhhh, there he is. I wish the heater was 95 mph instead of 94+, but that curveball was as glorious as we’ve seen at 41% CSW and Morton was flat-out cruising against the Phillies. He could have gone another frame with just 83 pitches on the docket and I imagine we could see him climb over 90 as soon as his next start. Please keep this up Charlie. One last time.

Sean Manaea @ HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

Impressive stuff from Manaea, rebounding well in his second start against Houston to give production worthy of a TobyThat’s the goal with Manaea, sadly, as he’s just not getting the whiffs on his breaker and slowball that you want. 4/36 ain’t gonna cut it. The good news here is he should get the Tigers next and that should make you happy.

Lance McCullers Jr. vs OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 88 pitches.

I’m really falling for McCullers after his first two outings, showcasing a fantastic slider that he’s been missing all his life. Tossing the sweeper with the yacker at a combined 60% of the time is only returning success for Lance and it’s hard not to get excited. Here’s to Seattle next, which could be the first true Owen Wilson “wow” start of his season.

Austin Gomber @ SF (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 104 pitches.

One of the most surprising lines of the night…but not for me. Well, kinda. I’ve gotten the feeling that Gomber is a decent pitcher, but being trapped in Coors is going to make him get easily forgotten in the fantasy landscape. Don’t forget, the Giants do well against lefties and Gomber made it work with solid fastballs and that lovely curve in this one. Not a pickup at all, but don’t forget him if he has a solid road matchup in the future. It can work.

Kohei Arihara vs SD (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 73 pitches.

This isn’t the worst against the Padres and I can imagine a scenario where you roll with Arihara as a TobyBut just expect to struggle with the strikeouts as you’ll be shouting HAISTFMFWT?! often.

Corey Kluber @ TB (L) – 2.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 62 pitches.

Blegh. I’m not thrilled with this as Kluber sat a low 90 mph on his fastballs, while his breaker earned just 24% CSW. The man isn’t in rhythm yet and it’s hard not to be worried, though he is well known not to be ready to go in April. Now with Toronto and Atlanta next, it may be a bit more time until we get the Kluber we’re looking for, so sit tight. I’m in it for the long haul and I’d be interested to buy low in about a week or so. Give him time.

Derek Holland @ CLE (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 46 pitches.

Say what now. The Dutch Invasion has arrived. I totally forgot you were even in a boat in the first place. Yes, to me “The Dutch Invasion” has always been a naval siege. No idea why. Just like I have no idea why you would roll with Holland.

Zack Wheeler @ ATL (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

Nooooo. His slider wasn’t nearly as good this time around and while I generally love his heaters, he tossed way too many in the heart of the zone in this one. It’s the Hendricks Rule, alright, and hopefully this is the anomaly start, not the first game. Are the wheels comi– No. Please don’t even suggest that. Wheeler is still wonderful, just not tonight.

Rich Hill vs NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 83 pitches.

Despite earning himself a King Cole, Hill ran into trouble in the fourth and landed the most ER of the day. That’s baseball, Suzyn. It’s good to see his breaker earn seven whiffs in this one – Savant is calling his lower arm-angled curveball incorrectly as a slider in case you were wondering – and his fastball sat 88mph. This is the best Hill you could hope for and the good news here is that it’s TEX + KCR next. I think I’m game if it looks anything like this for five innings, let alone six.


Game of the Day 


Trevor Rogers vs. Jacob deGrom – I’m excited to see if Rogers can keep the skills from his first game and get the results here against the Mets. On the other side, it’s deGrom. That’s cool.


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


Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Design by Aaron Polcare & J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)


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 “Joe Hitter”

  1. Greg says:

    Hey just a quick note regarding Heaney for those that weren’t able to watch the game: they mentioned that he’s now setting up with his back foot on the first base side of the rubber. This seems like a significant mechanical change and may speak to some of the consistency he showed today.

  2. Mallex P. Keaton says:

    Nick, an important development later on for Detroit, after Derek Holland exited his last-minute spot start and Buck Farmer bridged to the middle innings… Michael Fulmer made his 3rd appearance of the season, and he actually looks pretty good????? His IP have steadily increased with each appearance, and it certainly looks like they’re building up his pitch count. Did you get any eyes on him to evaluate? Who knows what happens with Teheran’s injury and whether he goes on the IL… but dare I dream that the Michael Fulmer dynasty wild card I’ve been holding onto all this time is finally worth something again????

  3. Ray says:

    Hi Nick. Thanks for all your hard work. I know you are just looking at the Starters – but do you have any comments on AJ Puk and Triston McKenzie from Monday evening?

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