Keeping My Syndergaard Up

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

We’ve been waiting for the ceiling of Noah Syndergaard to arrive all year and after a fantastic game against the Marlins, last night’s 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks sure looks like he’s returned…right? Well, let’s go to the tape. Can you make sense of Thor’s strikeout plot of this game? What I’ve got is changeups too far low, sinkers down-and-in to right-handers, sliders and curveballs all over the place, and fastballs trying to go up but mostly failing. So is this good? No, it’s not. And that slider? Sub 90mph again. UGH. Whoa whoa whoa, Nick. This is a dope start! WHY AREN’T YOU TELLING ME TO FEEL DOPE?! Because I didn’t see a fixed Thor. I saw a thrower who kinda executed and took care of a terribly weak offense in a spacious park. 26% CSW here across 108 pitches. It’s just not the man the line suggests.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Chad Green1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. It was a bullpen game as Nestor Cortes followed for 3.1 IP of 1 ER and 2 Ks. Cool beans man. Cool beans.

Chris Sale6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. There’s nothing at all to worry about with Sale. Nothin’ at all…

Madison Bumgarner9.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I feel bad for the IBB – shouldn’t WHIP not include IBBs and add HBPs? – but who really cares as Bumgarner dominated the Mets with 32% CSW, 16 whiffs, and the curveball he’s had of late. He’s pitching as good as we’ve seen for a while and here’s to hoping it sticks through September.

Zach Davies7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Seriously? 21 outs without a single strikeout? DOES ANYONE THINK THIS IS SUSTAINABLE?! It’s really crazy to see and at the end of the day, it’s a true Grave Mistake as this is as HAISTFMFWT?! as it gets. Wild.

Merrill Kelly7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. So that’s a 2.67 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP over his last nine starts. Huh. This came against the strong Brewers lineup as well, though I have to bring up the .235 BABIP that pushes his SIERA to 4.24 during this stretch. Strikeouts are fine – 21% mark will do, backed by an 11% swinging-strike rate – and his reduction in heaters by ten points in favor of cutters and curveballs are certainly doing the trick. Seriously, his curveball and cutter combine for 10.5 pVal over this nine-game stretch. There may be something to that, so let’s keep holding Kelly and hope that he can ride this with secondary stuff through the second half.

Dinelson Lamet4.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Get used to a lot of volatile ratios with Lamet. The strikeouts will always be there, but it’s a mini-Archer situation. If you’re cool with that, by all means, go for it. I think he should be owned in 12-teamers, but don’t hesitate to make the swap if he’s the last man out and there’s something solid out there.

Wade Miley5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s boring, but you got your Win without hurting your ratios. Be happy.

Domingo German6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. German is locked in right now, especially after he essentially did this line across six shutout frames of a .75 WHIP as he allowed back-to-back jacks to kick off the game. He’s looking the ace of the spring and don’t overthink things. Start him blindly.

Brad Keller6.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Keller did a great job of keeping heaters up and sliders down, allowing him to go 30% CSW and produce against the ChiSox, albeit with a rough WHIP. I think he provides too much risk for this ceiling, but not a terrible rare stream when the matchup works.

Tanner Roark5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. This works. Streaming Record: 60-41. The WHIP is a little shaky, but that’s a fine ERA with six strikeouts as Roark did just fine against the Cards. Now it’s the Brewers, so let him fly again on the wire. FLLLLYYYYY.

Caleb Smith5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s good, but not great as we wanted Smith to go six frames and not allow that 2 ER via a longball. His velocity was a little down in this one, but nothing to be terrified about and the whiffs were certainly there. Everything is just fine.

Ross Stripling5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Much better breakers here from Stripling as I think his 36 sliders are a bit mislabeled (minimum 78mph? Get out of here). Still don’t like the heavy reliance on changeups – 19 thrown – but to see him go 90 pitches is solid and this game helped your team. Now just be a little more efficient so we can see you for six full frames.

Trevor Bauer6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna mostly ace as you want one fewer ER here. Still, you drafted him as your SP #1 and for the most part, things are good. It’s not Cole good, but he cost a round or two less than Cole. This is good.

Mike Fiers6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Fiers continues his 3 ER or fewer streak as the Vargas Rule lives. I really hope he doesn’t ruin your playoff weeks.

Kyle Gibson7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Okay cool. Seven innings and things are back to normal with Gibby. Too bad he gets the Yanks next, I’d avoid that if I could afford it.

Dakota Hudson5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Sadly there are times with Hudson that are going to turn in Grave Mistakes, but for the most part, he is a streamable Toby. Feel free to look north and south for a Dakota replacement.

Stephen Strasburg5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Just when you think you’ve got prime Stras again, he sends this your way. Sure, still seven Ks and that’s great with 32% CSW, I am a little scared that he used his filthy changeup just once here. Whatever, he’ll be fine, I guess he just didn’t have the slow ball while warming up in this game.

Yonny Chirinos5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. The Yanks are no joke and while you still got eight strikeouts, it was a grind of an afternoon. Brush it off.

Aaron Nola5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. There was a rain delay mixed in here and maybe the rain prior to the delay was throwing Nola off + the passage of time didn’t help him find a rhythm. I’ll give him a pass. Okay I’m an idiot and had a brain fart this morning. There was rain, but no delay. It did seemingly mess up Nola a bit, though, but I’m sorry for making up a delay. Anyway, I’d still right this one off as a weird game.

Thomas Pannone4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. This was going to be Clayton Richard but switched to Pannone and I don’t know why I just wasted your time with that as they would have produced the same exact line.

Matt Boyd6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Ugh, stop with the homers already. It’s really frustrating as you’re pitching well, then make two mistakes over 102 pitches and it hurts. A lot. This juiced ball is the worst thing ever, which I know isn’t actually the real reason for this, it just complicates things a little, you know? Hold on tight because Boyd will move at the deadline and it will only help him. I’d buy low if someone’s selling.

Ross Detwiler2.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. A rolling team carries no Ross.

Charlie Morton5.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. What a wild outing for Morton. A balk. Four walks (as many as he had in his last four starts), and a five ER clunker to boot. He’s still the Quiet Ace and here’s to hoping that there isn’t some hidden injury that caused this.

Matt Harvey6.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks. It truly is a dark night for Harvey. There is no dawn ahead.

Kyle Wright2.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s the right-but-oh-so-wrong Wright. Maybe one day he’ll be the no-really-I-mean-it-this-time-right Wright.


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.


Tyler Beede vs. New York Mets – I loved his new slider and improved curveball last time. As long as his fastball doesn’t burn him, this should work out well. Tyler Mahle against the Cardinals is another strong play, maybe a little safer. Adam Wainwright is another easy choice, one that’s actually a bit safer than the others…and I didn’t realize he was available in under 20% of leagues. Go with all three if you can.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jakob Junis vs. Cleveland Indians – He’s fresh off ten strikeouts against the ChiSox with his best slider of the year, I’ll take the chance it sticks one more time.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Zach Plesac vs. Kansas City Royals – I’d consider his opponent Glenn Sparkman as well, but I have more faith in Plesac’s floor.


Game of the Day 


Mike Minor vs. Justin Verlander – This will be fun. Also deGrom vs. Beede will be grabbing my eye, along with Gallen vs. Ryu. Today is a good day.


(Photo by Bennett Cohen/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.

17 responses to “Keeping My Syndergaard Up”

  1. Greg says:

    Are you concerned about Bauer’s FIP at all or in the new era of juiced balls, a 4.00 FIP isn’t a big deal.

  2. digdeeper says:

    Morton’s balk was 100% on Zunino – he held up his hands to ask for time while Morton was in his windup, but the ump did not grant it. Morton didn’t know what to do.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Yep! I can feel how bad Zunino felt in that moment. I meant to add it as a “weird game” anecdote, less so of a “he’s messed up”. That’s on me.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Matt Boyd hasn’t had a QS in his last 6 starts. Those starts were against KC x2, CLE x2, CHW, and TEX. Not super encouraging. Hopefully he doesn’t go to the NL Central.

  4. Doug says:

    “A rolling team carries no Ross.”

    I like this one. It’s one of your better quips, IMO.

  5. Philip Sperling says:

    Lol, gimme the rest of the Madbum blurb! I love him!

  6. Johnny Burgers says:

    Completely unrelated, but what a sad sad ending for what should have been a promising career for Matt Harvey. Even as a Red Sox fan always rooted for him.

    • Mallex P. Keaton says:

      It’s not that sad. My theory is that he wasn’t really too into the “taking care of his body” part of being a professional athlete until he was already broken beyond repair. He was definitely enjoying the fruits of his labor more than the labor itself, and now it caught up with him and resulted in (likely) an early retirement.

  7. J says:

    There was no rain delay in Philly yesterday.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      You’re 100% right. I could have sworn this morning there was one and I’m dumb.

      Thanks for pointing that out!

  8. Stove says:

    Nick, I watched Stras’ start and he absolutely used his changeup more than once. It may have been classifying as something else, it was moving HARD all night. He relied on his curve/change most of the start as his fastball command wasn’t quite there.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Good, because that was super weird to come across.

      Here’s to hoping we can get better data for next year :)

  9. Pwnzilla says:

    Nick, I wholeheartedly agree about IBB being included in WHIP, and HBP being left out. I, therefore, propose Earned Baserunners per Inning Pitched (EBIP), which would include BB, Hits, HBP. This would clean up WHIP and more accurately reflect a pitcher’s successes and failures. Plus, we can then argue whether a dropped third strike baserunner should be an earned baserunner.

    • Dave says:

      I agree about the HBP. But, is an IBB that much different than a BB while pitching around a batter in the hope (remote possibility) that he might chase? They’re essentially the same intent with (almost always) the same outcome and the IBB was the pitcher’s doing, unlike a dropped third strike. I guess one could argue that an IBB is called by the catcher or the manager and the pitcher should do as they say. Thus, it shouldn’t be counted against him. But then, isn’t a pitch around also called by the catcher or manager? Maybe neither should count against him. But, I guess it might get a little muddy in determining whether or not a pitch around was truly intended. Hmm…

  10. Jaybird934 says:

    Re: Boyd. Help him because he’ll get more wins? Or, pitch in a larger park? Thinking about trying to move Paddack (maybe with someone if necessary) for him to avoid the shutdown.

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