Kenta Take It Anymore

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

What are we to do with Kenta Maeda? Tonight’s 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks line against the Cubs elevates his ERA to a horrid 5.20, with a 1.62 WHIP and 5.05 FIP to boot. Things just don’t look pretty, even if he’s missing bats around a 14% mark. Tonight was especially rough against the Cubs, earning just 5/74 whiffs and failing to miss a single bat on his slider, a pitch that holds a 23% swinging-strike rate for his career. Things are clearly off everywhere with his walk rate rising to a near 11% mark (7% career!) and the only startling luck stat in an elevated HR per nine at 1.63…which even lowered to his 1.16 career rate is still a poor ERA. What I’ll say is this. I don’t expect Maeda to pitch this poorly moving forward – yes the underlying numbers for his outings thus far don’t suggest that, but that’s because he deserved it based on how he’s pitched. I just don’t think he’s locked into being this bad of a pitcher for the 2019 season. At the same time, the Dodgers have two arms in waiting in Ross Stripling and Julio Urias and with Maeda’s struggles and the Dodgers inclination to limit Maeda’s innings, a possible shift to the bullpen could happen soon. #Dodgeritis is real n all. I’d hold for now – I really hope he gets that next start against the Pirates – but monitor this closely moving forward. If you can make a swap for an oft-recommend SP arm, I’d go for it.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Carlos Carrasco4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Carrasco left this one after a collision guarding the bag at first. He should be all set moving forward, but it really is too bad as this was the redeeming start we wanted so badly from Cookie.

Domingo German6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. The Angels are far from a real test, but German is soaring in his opportunity in the Yankee rotation. And there was much rejoicing. There’s no reason to hold back now, keep on keeping on.

Pablo Lopez6.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I had a lot of hype for PabLo entering the year. Quickly, I reigned it back a bit…and maybe I shouldn’t have? It’s a 26% K rate and 4.5% walk rate thus far with a 2.80 FIP through five starts now and that has to raise a few eyebrows. Alright, this one was the Indians and his heater was under 93 mph (where’s the 94/95 we were promised?!), but his whiff rate is still up there – 8/26 whiffs on just four-seamers! – and I wonder what he could be if his curveball developed fully. I will bring a touch more caution here as his current .329 BABIP sounds kinda right at the moment. It’s part of the reason his walk rate is so low – he’s feeding the zone with heaters a little too much. This is where he needs that deuce to step up.

Ryne Stanek1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. A clear opener for False Starter Jalen Beeks who had himself a day with 0 ER and 7 Ks in 4.2 frames, good enough for a Win. I have no qualms with those in heavy SP restricted leagues going with Beeks and Chirinos, but standard 12-teamers are going to get burned a good amount.

Spencer Turnbull5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. The good news here is he pulled away from sinkers in favor of his much better four-seamer. The bad news is that he elected to toss just 23 breakers on 94 pitches. Turnbull, buddy, you have such a good set of breaker balls, USE THEM. Please. Two strikeouts are just not going to cut it, I don’t care if this was Boston or the dang pope, THROW YOUR FILTH.

Zack Wheeler7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. If you didn’t watch Wheeler’s start today, you missed his best fastball of the year. It was glorious, earning 23/69 CSW on just sinkers and four-seamers. 35/105 overall as he’s still struggling with his slide piece (1/12 CSW on the pitch = bleeegh) and his splitter would come and go, but when that fastball works and averages 98 mph things are going to be just fine. WHY DID I LOWER YOU.

Andrew Cashner7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. There are few things more inspirational than seeing Cashner produce lines like these. I can do anything…Yes you can Johhny, yes you can.

Daniel Poncedeleon5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m sure to get a good amount of questions regarding Poncedeleon and I’ll say this. His four-seamer is solid – he features it up and he gets whiffs and outs with the pitch easily. His other options? Pretty meh. It’s a big looping curveball that I see more of as a strike-getting and possible quick out earning – not a pitch to turn to deep in counts – with a changeup that has flashes of brilliance and can also float for a strike. That four-seamer is strong, though, and if he earns more time starting (he was replacing Michael Wacha who could return for his next start, but will probably miss another couple), I’d be willing to stream him against weak offenses. A full-on roster spot, though? I think in most cases you’ll have better options as I’d hold back on starting Lion’s Ponce against the Nationals next week.

Luke Weaver6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. While Weaver’s fastball wasn’t as strong as it was last time out, I can’t help but be encouraged by his changeup command – 15/23 strikes – and ability to go 8/8 earning strikes with cutters. The real test comes next week against the Cubs (these Pirates are kinda meh) and I’m leaning toward letting Weaver fly. Streaming record: 15-10.

Patrick Corbin6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s been weird to say, but Corbin has been one of few steady aces so far this year. Atta boy.

Zach Davies4.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Fast and I talked about Davies a bit on the cast today and we both settled in on a Toby, with Fast pushing more toward 12-teamer avoidance ASAP. This looks just like that. Womp womp.

Nick Margevicius5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Are you happy with this? A 3.60 ERA and 5 Ks with a horrible 1.80 WHIP? Don’t you want better in life? I just can’t get behind Margevicius this year, especially when I get the sense that I’ll have to talk about him in the First Pitch podcast and embarrass myself trying to pronounce his name once again. Yay. 

Jose Quintana7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. This one was a test for Quintana, coming in hot after feasting on the Marlins and Pirates prior. It doesn’t come without worry, though. 27% CSW with just a 7.9% swinging-strike rate is a bit questionable, as his curveball wasn’t as special as it was the last two starts. A lot of heaters in the middle of the zone as well, though changeups worked super well at the bottom. I don’t know. I feel like this is a little hot streak and not the massive renaissance we want it to be.

Chris Sale5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. So here’s the thing. The Tigers are bad, but 10 Ks are 10 Ks. And 37% CSW is all kinds of rad. His fastball velocity was also down again to 93 mph (and not the 94/95 from last time), forcing him to throw over 50% sliders. That’s not the dominant Sale we know and love. We’re not out of the woods yet, but obviously we’re all happy that he gave us something solid along the way.

Jeff Samardzija5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Loose Lips is back and he’s doing the absolute minimum to stay on your teams. SOUND THE HORNS! WE HAVE OURSELVES A TOBY! I just realized the Toby Horn is really just him saying “Hiiii.”

Trevor Williams7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I wrote about Williams’ success on Rotographs today – read it here because you’re awesome – and the conclusion was simple: he pounds the zone early and nibbles late. The Diamondbacks are bad and didn’t take advantage of his poor pitches early in counts, and paid the iron price. Williams is officially a Toby & a Vargas Rule at the same time.

Matt Boyd7.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s far from the sexy outing we’re accustomed to from Boyd, but against the Sawx, I think we’ll take this. I want to see more separation between his heater and slider (more elevation, more sliders down), but this is fine.

Zach Eflin4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Eflin struggled so much, he allowed 3 RBI from the opposing pitcher. Seriously, Wheeler had himself a day. This doesn’t really do much to change my view of Eflin either way, which I guess is bad news since we want to get back on the Eflin train.

Sonny Gray5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Better separation today between Gray’s heater and slider, but still not high enough with his four-seamer. That’s okay, the slider is dope – 8/20 whiffs – and you feel dope for grabbing him. Well, he had 3 ER though. I SAID YOU FEEL DOPE. Yes, yes I feel dope. GOOD.

Wade Miley6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Miley receiving seven Ks? Was is this, Cyrus telling her groupies that she’s leaving the room? He gets the Indians next and that’s a clear start.

Frankie Montas5.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. This might blow your mind, but Montas earned himself the Gallows Pole today with 17 whiffs. WHAT. nine on his slider and splitter combined and another eight on heaters. But there’s a catch. Remember last time when I was pumped that he threw more four-seamers than sinkers? Yeeeaaaah, that went out the window here – 48 sinkers, 13 four-seamers. Womp womp. But it worked! True! Maybe Montas doesn’t need that four-seamer after all. I still think he does a bit, but if his splitter and slider are both working like this, it doesn’t really matter, does it. Keeping rolling with the fella.

Hector Velazquez3.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Velazquez got game two of the doubleheader and I’ve already grown tired of writing his blurb. Why are you still reading this. STOP.

Homer Bailey1.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. Why don’t we like Homer Bale? This. This is why. I can’t even feed my family with this.

Jeff Hoffman5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. With Kyle Freeland nursing a blister, Hoffman returned to the bigs – this time without a rainout. He wasn’t all that great, though, and needed a heavy reliance on curveballs to get it done…a deuce that earned just five whiffs on 41 thrown. I hate to give him the label, but I don’t really have a choice right now. Hoffman, you’re a Cup of Schmo until further notice.

Michael Pineda5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. We were hoping for a proper bounceback from Pineda and we didn’t quite get it, but the Astros are tough and it’s understandable. His slider is still missing a little of its bite right now, forcing Pineda to even throw 11/86 changeups. What is that about. I think I saw Pineda scold his slider after the game. DID YOU SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO?!

Chris Stratton5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Even against a banged-up Yankee offense, Stratton couldn’t keep it together. I can hear those with picket signs outside now. Chris won’t be missed! CHRIS WON’T BE MISSED! Suddenly I feel lucky I’m not named Chris. Sorry Chris.

Erik Swanson5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m not sure that this is Erik’s SwanSong, but I’m not sure how many more these he can take. 

Trent Thornton5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. His curveball had moments, but this ain’t about getting dem Kodaks, it’s about getting dem outs. On the real though, 19/27 strikes on deuces is mighty pretty. Too bad I don’t like anything else from Double-T, the horrible off-brand hotel chamomile beverage.

Kevin Gausman5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. A super disappointing start from Gausman here, who didn’t have nearly the same four-seam command that we saw previously. A touch of bad luck as well, including Yasiel Puig’s longball on a dang good four-seamer. Keep starting the guy as Gausman fights for his possible crown as this year’s Spider-Man.

Lance Lynn3.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Lynn just did all of y’all a favor for the future months. Just remember this start the next time you think he’s worth a pickup. He will destroy your team. It is known.

Ivan Nova4.0 IP, 9 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Another disaster for Nova as we collectively forget that Nova is in any way an option to be rostered on our fantasy teams. Ivan it to stop. 


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.

Jordan Lyles vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – This isn’t me being a massive Lyles fan, but he should be able to handle the snakes, right?


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Caleb Smith vs. Philadelphia Phillies – His ownage rate is at 10%. Still. I know, I don’t get it at all. On the real, CC Sabathia vs. Los Angeles Angels is the real stream as I just can’t believe Smith is still this unowned. All of this is wrong. Smith is owned near 50%, CC is above 20% and pitching tomorrow instead of today. Blegh. Looks like I have to go…either Trevor Cahill against the Yankees or Anthony DeSclafani against the Braves. Cahill it is and I hate everything.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jerad Eickhoff vs. Miami Marlins – That curveball is legit and the Miami offense is not.


Game of the Day


German Marquez vs Washington Nationals – He’s back in Coors and I want to see how this works out.


(Photo By Daniel Bartel/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.

25 responses to “Kenta Take It Anymore”

  1. Bronxbomber says:

    Nick do you think it would be a good idea/risk to deal Ryu for Clevinger in a h2h points league in the hope that I get an ace for the 2nd half? Thanks

  2. Ben says:

    Nick, which 3 of Caleb Smith, Derek Holland, Mike Soroka, and Luke Weaver do I keep?

  3. BundyWillRiseAgain says:

    Thoughts on springer for Domingo German and domingo Santana?

  4. Taco4you says:

    Zach Eflin got hosed on a 3rd strike that was well inside the statcast strike box. If that gets called correctly, he would have been out of the inning. Instead he gives up 3 runs in the frame. I’m sure when he didn’t get the call on such a clear strikeout frustration got the best of him and he yielded hits to the bottom of the Mets order including the next batter Wheeler who you referenced above. Phillies were already in the news the day before arguing balls/strikes so IM sure they didn’t want any controversy, but it caused Zach to lose his focus.

    • Moelicious says:

      Maybe so, but I watched the game and he had terrible command. He was behind in the count to everyone and got to three balls on a ton of hitters. He looked really bad.

  5. Pitchergifs4lyfe says:

    Dont think we didn’t notice the subtle GoT references!

  6. Derek says:

    I can’t tell if Montas went with his sinker a lot because he was in trouble and so he needed ground balls / quick outs / double plays, or he was in trouble a lot because he used his sinker.

  7. J says:

    The umpiring for Maeda and Q yesterday was some of the worst I’ve seen. Here’s the strikezone map: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/zoneTrack.php?month=4&day=23&year=2019&game=gid_2019_04_23_lanmlb_chnmlb_1%2F&prevDate=0423 Did it help or hurt them? Honestly I have no clue, but it sure made things weird.

    • theKraken says:

      A lot of that blame should be placed on Contreras. He showed up the umpire a few times and it didn’t turn out well. Sure, I get that umpires shouldn’t have feelings and they should call strikes, but Contreras’ lack of professionalism got him in trouble yesterday. It deserves some attention on some level.

      • J says:

        I don’t buy that at all. The ump was inconsistent as all hell – he was not just shafting Contreras. He called balls on two clear strikes, then went and called a strike two inches off the plate. The zone also was all over the place for Maeda. Is that Contreras’ fault too? I also don’t see how he showed up the umpire. Catchers talk to the ump about the zone constantly.

  8. Zach Lowry says:

    Don’t do that to my boy Hoffman!! He didn’t give up any dongs or free passes. I’m adding him in hopes of him taking Anderson’s rotation spot.

  9. Perfect Game says:

    Conservatively, what line (K/ERA/WHIP/QS) do you think Folty puts up during the year? His minor league rehab outings were terrible.

  10. Nick Gerli says:

    Gray got absolutely boned by bad luck and his defense last night. Check out some of the balls that turned into hits in the fifth and sixth.

    • theKraken says:

      That is always good feedback as it doesn’t show up anywhere in the boxscore. On the other hand, how often do we hold it against a pitcher for getting lucky? Hopefully it all evens out over the course of the year.

  11. Ben says:

    Is adding Rich Hill and dropping Maeda a good swap? Thanks.

  12. theKraken says:

    Maeda ended last year in shambles… I like the guy but its all pretty concerning. I think Quintana in the mid 60s is low. You tend to dig in your heels on the flawed veterans and get a little carried away chasing the next breakout, but I think you already know that.

  13. Grant C says:

    I only recently found The Pitcher List site and I love it. And I love this article specifically, but it would be really helpful to include the opposing team’s name with each pitcher’s write-up. Same with the daily batter highlights column. I’m pretty dialed in, but even I can’t remember all 10-15 matchups on any given day.

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