JT Bringing Sexy Back

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

Jameson Taillon vs BAL (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

It’s been a season watching Jameson Taillon make his return from TJS. It was a shaky few months as he gained his footing, but since the start of July, Taillon has allowed just six ER total across six starts, including tonight’s phenomenal 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches against the Orioles, earning a share of the Gallows Pole. This was just the third start Taillon fanned more than five since May 13th (fourteen starts!), and there’s a good reason why: his curveball.

I’ve been waiting for this. Taillon did a great job of jamming left-handers up-and-in with four-seamers (pretty much all he threw against them, save for a few changeups and breakers), but against right-handers, he attacked with sliders for strikes and curveballs down, returning 6/22 whiffs and 40% CSW on the pitch for the evening. It’s the piece of the puzzle we’ve been waiting for to pair with a four-seamer that still gets the job done.

I’d love for Taillon to take one final step forward with his slider to really seal the deal as the pitch isn’t as vicious a weapon as others in the league (4/19 CSW ain’t the ticket), but with this four-seamer and a curveball placed down with consistency creates a fantastic foundation moving forward. The previous starts seemed great but a little fragile, but with this curveball, the stability is there. Let’s just hope it stays that way and we can enjoy the start against the Royals next week.


Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:


Eduardo Rodríguez @ DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 99 pitches.

Atta boy Eduardo! You didn’t have your best changeup or cutter, but the heater was just that good once again — 12/54 whiffs and 46% CSW on four-seamers should convince anyone who didn’t watch this start. It’ll be a tougher time next week against the Rays, though, so don’t get too complacent. He’ll get burned if he only has that fastball.

Steven Matz vs CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 92 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Matz made a play for the King Cole and almost won it (stupid Scherzer had to make a good impression on his new team) as he did what a solid Toby does — he took advantage of a great matchup. He had a 33%+ CSW across all three of his offerings and impressed me by landing 9/27 hooks for called strikes. He gets the Angels next and yeah, that’s a decent start. I think I need to raise Matz a bit on The List. Nothing crazy, but he’s inside “The Cliff” for now.

Steven Brault @ MIL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 75 pitches.

Steve(n) Brault! He’s back! And just as underwhelming as before! He sat two ticks lower on the heater as well and sadly we’re avoiding this one completely until further notice.

Shohei Ohtani @ TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 86 pitches.

Yessssss. We’ve missed Ohtani, and while I had slight worry he wouldn’t be the same with the extra rest + a sore thumb, he was able to earn called strikes galore and carve up the Rangers. He may get the Jays next week and I’d still start him there. He sat 96 mph here and while his splitter wasn’t a major player, his slider & cutter made up for it well.

Carlos Hernández @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.

Look at that. Carlos was able to hit 100 mph and sit 97/98 mph while mixing in some excellent sliders and changeups. The whole package is still a little too fragile for me to buy in, but he’s a Young Gun and someone to watch in hopes his command is legit for 2022.

Joe Musgrove @ OAK (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.

He’s at 22% fastballs and I still think he’s gotta push that further up. It may surprise you that his curveball and slider each went sub 30% CSW, but his four-seamer? 44% CSW. Sure, he threw half as many, but there’s room for tweaking here. Anyway, who cares, the man threw six innings of one-run ball and he’s doing just fine right now. We move on.

Luis Castillo vs MIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 101 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It doesn’t have the CSW you want, but cruised through Minnesota and has certainly performed at a high enough level since the start of June to earn the title once again. Now go have yourself a wonderful second half, you beautiful, beautiful man.

Kevin Gausman @ ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’m so happy you’re back to normal, Gausman. Enjoy that share of the Gallows Pole, you earned it, even if you only earned six splitter whiffs. Yes, there’s even room for improvement here.

Max Scherzer vs HOU (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 109 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Welcome to L.A., Scherzer, and way to live up to your #1 SP title with a King Cole. It’s like he looked down at Cole and said I’m the captain now.

Alec Mills @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.

That WHIP hurts and three strikeouts are inconsequential, but he escaped Coors with a win and a 3.00 ERA. Props to you Alec, can’t say I expected that in the slightest. I wouldn’t be confident he can pull it off again versus the Brewers next time, but I guess you could do worse.

Zach Thompson vs NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 77 pitches.

Yeesh, this wasn’t the prettiest ZT outing as his cutter was far from the magical pitch we’ve seen in the past (1/17 CSW, but 7 foul balls and 12/17 strikes overall) + his four-seamer was a tick slower than usual. He gets the Padres next and I’d feel just fine letting Thomspon head back to the wire. I’m not starting him there & the overall ability isn’t worth the ten-day stash when we have under 60 days left.

Carlos Carrasco @ MIA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 62 pitches.

Cookie had his slider working (sweet!), but he’s still not allowed to go five full and hit 75 pitches yet. Ugh, fine. It was essentially a two-pitch mix here and keep an eye on the pitch count + that changeup returning next time out. Surely we’re going to get more volume against the Nationals next time, right? Please?!

J.A. Happ vs ATL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.

Happ did his thing against Atlanta with 9/51 four-seamer whiffs and a whole lot of nothing with the rest of his repertoire. Seriously, 1/25 CSW across sliders + changeups. I hope Happ is bowing somewhere as he hears this blurb in his head. J.A. Happ, at your service.

Matt Harvey @ NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 63 pitches.

Harvey returned to New York, no, not that New York, and managed to squeeze out one strikeout. One strikeout?! HAISTBMBWT?! Remember when he was on a scoreless inning streak? Wild times those were.

Freddy Peralta vs PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 98 pitches.

So he threw sub 60 pitches, then surprised me with 68, and now he threw…98 pitches?! Why do I even try to do what I do. Sure, whatever Peralta, I guess you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. Watch, now I’ll raise Peralta back up into the Top 25 and he’ll get four innings next time as he’ll be back on a limit. I’m just gonna plop him around 30/35 and call it day for the season unless he’s fully shut down. It’s such a headache to figure it out.

Josh Fleming vs SEA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 75 pitches.

Whoa, it worked! Streaming Record: 67-49. I labeled Fleming as a Do Not Start so I can’t get too excited, but hey, he was able to sit arm-side and down with sinkers and changeups as the Mariners obliged and turned them into outs. I’m happy it worked, it very likely won’t against the Sawx next.

Kolby Allard vs LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 86 pitches.

Nice job Dralla, I’m proud of you, but you’re not getting my Dub Light. Awwww. That’s right, you gotta pay for that promotion. Stares at a corporation

Frankie Montas vs SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

It’s one baserunner away from a VPQS and while that’s not exactly the start you wanted from Montas given the roll he’s on, it also came with eight strikeouts and all of the skills still intact. Feel good about this, especially with Cleveland on the horizon.

Logan Gilbert @ TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

Blegh. The slider hasn’t returned and I’m not sure when it will. I often get questions about youngins like Gilbert after they have their great start. Gilbert or Muller ROS? I want to answer “whoever has their slider working more often,” but that does no one any help. It’s all to say, I have little idea if a young arm is consistent or not after one or two great starts. But hey, that’s the Ms. Frizzle method I endorse: Take chances, make mistakes, GET MESSY. You gotta get your hand in as many pots as possible so you can roster the Sandovals, Rays, Rodóns, and Rogers of the world. Keep the chase and don’t forget about those, like Gilbert, who stumble and can recover. For now, I’d take a shot at Logan getting the slide piece back next time out in the comfortable start that is Texas.

Drew Smyly @ STL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 75 pitches.

Yeaaaaah. We can’t trust Smyly to follow “The Cardinal Rule”. And that’s our new rule for Smyly — he can’t follow rules. If you’re still rostering him, the deuce wasn’t as pristine as we’ve seen at times across the last month, and I wouldn’t expect it to instantly return.

Jon Gray vs CHC (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.

We expected better than a VPQS from Gray as he faced a horrid Cubs lineup + apparently pitches better at home, but here we are. He’s still sitting 95 mph and featuring a filthy slider, so nothing has changed. Keep starting him.

Zac Gallen vs SF (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 109 pitches.

Blegh. A bit of Careful, Icarus here as Gallen couldn’t escape the sixth and allowed his final two earned runs. His secondaries were a bit better here, but not overwhelming + his changeup is still missing (1/13 CSW is shocking, to say the least). He’ll get a shot at redemption next time, and I’d start him in that repeat matchup against the Giants. I believe he’ll figure it out.

Chase Anderson @ WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 55 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Chase again. It’s easy to forget that he was the talk of the town years ago with the Brewers and how quickly things can change. Don’t take for granted what you have. Or don’t have, like Anderson on my team. Sure, that too, I guess.

Casey Mize vs BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 76 pitches.

So he was able to go five frames and 76 pitches, but you’d have rather he didn’t pitch at all as this start gave you nothing. No, I’m not counting those three strikeouts, you know that ain’t worth your time. It’s still weird trusting Mize in full given he’ll be used inconsistently by the Tigers the rest of the way, but if he’s allowed to go 75+ against the Orioles next time out, he could be productive. Something to consider.

Charlie Barnes @ CIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 80 pitches.

He’s a southpaw who throws sub-90 mph and doesn’t earn whiffs. You know you wanna Buck this CB.

Lucas Giolito vs KC (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 81 pitches.

Oh no. Giolito has been succeeding with an improved slider lately and the pitch eluded him here, while his changeup wasn’t the elite offering it used to be. He’s going through some things at the moment, but I don’t think it means he’s destined for a disappointing end to the end year and I’d still start him against the Twins. This is the ebb and flow of the season, he’ll bounce back.

Paolo Espino vs PHI (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.

This was one of the days you definitely wanted to skip P.E., like when they make ya run laps as you have “track week” instead of playing Bombardment. Man, Bombardment was the best.

Jake Odorizzi @ LAD (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 73 pitches.

I mean, Odorizzi pitched against the Dodgers. We didn’t expect anything different after failing to excel against the Rangers and Mariners. Don’t consider Odorizzi until he forces your attention.

J.C. Mejía @ TOR (L) – 2.1 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 75 pitches.

Sorry Mejía, it hasn’t been an easy season for you, and dealing with the Jays is no picnic. Or maybe it is a picnic, but it’s tornado season, and that tree you’re under? It’s gone and you’re wondering where you’re going to get your shade. Look at that line, Mejía. There’s no shade today.


Game of the Day


Aaron Nola vs Joe RossIt’s Nola Day + I’d love to watch Ross and hope he can be a stable arm.

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.

Featured Image 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.

One response to “JT Bringing Sexy Back”

  1. Enrique Maytorena says:

    I know we are used to having (ND) on Scherzer with the Nats but he got the win this time!

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