Kirb Your Enthusiasm

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Sunday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

George Kirby vs TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 81 pitches.

With the demotion of Matt Brashthe Mariners gave us another gift in George Kirbywho flat-out dominated the Rays in his MLB debut: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 81 pitches. Yeah, that’s as glorious of a debut as you’ll find and understandably so, people are stoked about it.

Am I one of them? Maybe? I watched every pitch Kirby threw in this one and I have a few thoughts (shocking, more at eleven). First, there’s a reason Kirby lost to Brash in the spring: His fastball was hit awfully hard and that still happened a decent amount in this outing…while also missing bats a whole lot with 13 whiffs. I can’t say I expected that much whiffability on the fastball, but it came it HOT at 97/98 mph in the first before settling in around 95 mph in the later innings. I imagine we’ll see more of the mid-90s heater in the future instead of the adrenaline-fueled 97+.

After the fastball that is clearly the rock of Kirby’s approach, the rest was…uninspiring to say the least. He has a ~90 mph slider that acts more like a cutter in its passive movement instead of a proper break à la Cole or Bieber. It went just 1/20 whiffs and I don’t expect that to change a whole lot in the short term. I can see Kirby truly excelling if he can add a decent amount of break to the pitch, but as it stands now, he allowed a fair amount of hits on it as it found the zone and failed to overwhelm batters. It’s a good #3 to steal strikes, but I want more from a proper #2.

Maybe the changeup turns into a bigger factor down the road as it had some nice movement at times, but overall wasn’t a factor save for introducing something new the second/third time through the order. And with that, you have Mr. Kirby, a solid arm rooted in that heater, but I expect worse results given an overperformance of whiffs on four-seamers and not a whole lot else to love in the arsenal. At least for now.

So yeah, he’s solid and should be picked up in all your 12-teamers. I’d say you’re okay starting him against the Mets next weekend and let’s hope that the heater stays overpowering while the slider can find a way to earn more whiffs.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:


Zac Gallen vs COL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

It’s so wonderful to see Gallen continue to thrive as he had a wonderful day hosting Rockie RoadI wish I could be more excited, but only five whiffs and a 23% CSW weren’t quite the results I expected from the line. His secondaries have yet to take the leap, while the four-seamer is hitting spots effectively and propelling this success. If the cutter/change don’t show up soon, I expect some legit regression coming, but hey, they absolutely could be back as soon as next outing. Regardless, I’m a Gallen Gal (I got my shirt last week!) and I hope you are too.

Zach Thompson @ CIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 79 pitches.

Well look at that, the Reds really are the cure for any starting pitcher. Thompson didn’t have his curveball whatsoever and relied on cutter/sinker to make this happen. That’s not the man we’re chasing and you should simply Blame It On The Reds.

Erick Fedde @ LAA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

Remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes. But he did well! Pfffft with FIVE WALKS. Sure, sure, his cutter + curveball were a sick combo, but I ain’t buying it. DON’T TRUST EM.

Ryan Yarbrough @ SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 68 pitches.

Ayyyy he made the most out of his 68 pitches with some lovely cutters and that’s cool. He gets the Jays next so don’t even think twice about this, but hey, this was cool.

Jake Odorizzi vs DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 76 pitches.

We’ll absolutely take this from Odorrizi, marking three straight solid outings for Jake as he faces the Nationals next. It feels awfully fragile, though, and I think I’d hold off chasing against the Nationals. It feels like a trap. More news from this one was Cristian Javier going 45 pitches in relief as the Astros have tomorrow off. He should start as the sixth man later in the week, but those hoping to see him on Tuesday should adjust their plans. MY PLANS!

Trevor Rogers @ SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 93 pitches.

Exhales. The four-seamer did all the heavy lifting, though, and the slider + changeup went 0/37 whiffs. ZERO. That’s rough and we’re not out of the woods yet. I really hope the changeup returns next time out against the Brewers, at the very least.

Charlie Morton vs MIL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

Exhales again. His curveball was solid, his velocity was up and everything is fine in the world of Morton. For now. I think it’ll take a few starts for us to truly feel safe again, but this was  a great start.

Wily Peralta @ HOU (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 44 pitches.

Twas a bullpen game for the Tigers, which feels like a weird circus act with bulls and tigers in a pen. I really hope that doesn’t exist, it feels very wrong.

Walker Buehler @ CHC (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’m STOKED to see his curve + slider go 8/29 whiffs here. Those secondaries coming alive are something we haven’t quite seen yet this year. Keep it coming, Buehler.

Gerrit Cole vs TEX (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 26 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 114 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Gallows Pole as the slider returned and the fastball was a beast. He’s baaaaack.

Dane Dunning @ NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 100 pitches.

He did it again. We may be entering Vargas Rule territory now as his command was legit with sinkers and changeups arm-side + sliders effectively placed down. Depending on you feel about the Red Sox, that could be a game you roll with Dunning and see where it takes you. Worse pitchers have had their Rules take them further.

Chris Bassitt @ PHI (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 101 pitches.

It’s poetic for Bassitt to earn a Philly while facing…Philly, as he continues to hover at 100 pitches a game and help across the board. Embrace Chris and become a Bassitthound like all of us.

Jordan Lyles vs KC (ND) – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

That’s four of Lyles’ last five games where he’s combined for just 4 ER. His slider was solid once again and his fastball earned enough outs against the Royals. Now he gets the Tigers and that isn’t such a bad coin flip. Not something I’m jumping to the wire for, but it’s intriguing at least.

Joe Musgrove vs MIA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I know it hasn’t been the toughest of schedules, but hot dang Musgrove is good. He’s really found his groove tossing ~30% heaters and boating that stupid good slider incessantly.

Bruce Zimmermann vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.

Phew, it worked again as Zimmermann was called upon a second time as our streaming pick. I’m a bit shocked to see his whiffs come from his four-seamer in this one as the changeup and slider returned just 2/34 thrown between them. The Tigers are next and that’s…something. I guess that can work, it’s weird to see Zim succeed without the normal process, though. I’d be cautious.

Dallas Keuchel @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 92 pitches.

I feel like I’m driving in a suburb, spotting balloons outside a home. Look honey, a Birthday Party! And it doesn’t look like anyone was invited.

Jordan Montgomery vs TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 71 pitches.

Cole earned Gallows Pole and The Bear earned the King Cole as the Yanks swept the categories today. Monty has legit figured it out with his sinker this season, posting yet another 40%+ CSW on the pitch (four straight games now!), allowing his delay changeup and curveball to take over. It was the missing piece of the puzzle and I’m so dang here for it.

Kyle Gibson vs NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 72 pitches.

You’ll take this from the Toby that Gibson is and now you can toss him back to the wire for the Dodgers coming up next.

Zack Greinke @ BAL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 93 pitches.

Leave it to Greinke to allow 10 hits and allow just two runs to hit the board. He’s such a Toby.

Tyler Mahle vs PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 106 pitches.

Okay, this is better. Not muuuuch better, but this was at home and he’ll get the Pirates on the road next time out. Surely that’ll be a night of pure bliss, right? Yeah, but the slider disappeared completely in this one. I SAID PURE BLISS, RIGHT? Wright. Right.

Alek Manoah @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna mostly ace. It’s not the start we’ve come to expect as his slider went just 57% strikes, but hey, he certainly didn’t hurt your squads. And that’s cool with me. They can’t all be winners.

Glenn Otto @ NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

Whoa, this was actually decent. His slider wasn’t the marvelous offering we want it to be, but he managed to sneak in sinkers and get enough outs to survive five frames. I wouldn’t trust this against Boston, though.

Jakob Junis vs STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 79 pitches.

Junis’ slider is as wicked as I’ve ever seen it and while I’m still holding out hope to see his crazy good changeup return for another start (just six thrown here for zero whiffs), I’m thrilled to see him steal strikes constantly with sinkers. This works. He could put it on repeat against the Cardinals next weekend and I think you’ll find worse options than this.

Justin Steele vs LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 69 pitches.

Oh look, it’s another start from Justin. Annnnnnd you’ve already forgotten about it. Carry on.

Daniel Lynch @ BAL (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.

Womp womp. The whiffs returned, but he can’t sneak in pitches for called strikes quite enough as his changeup was floated far too often. I’m digging the slider, though, and I think there’s something here that’ll iron itself out through the year as he pairs that breaker with intended elevation on four-seamers (8/40 whiffs here). Keep an eye out.

Konnor Pilkington vs TOR (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.

He commands a 91/92 heater pretty well with a decent changeup. That’s it.

Cristopher Sánchez vs NYM (L) – 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 51 pitches.

This was a doubleheader and the Phillies elected to make it a bullpen game. It didn’t work.

Germán Márquez @ ARI (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 98 pitches.

Oh, is Márquez, outside of Coors and against a poor offense? That’ll be a VVPQS of course. That’s baseball, Suzyn. Stop trying to figure out Germán and simply decide if you want to flip the coin or not.

Max Scherzer @ PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 101 pitches.

Aces gonna return a VVPQS and disappoint on a Sunday. It wasn’t Scherzer’s best, but props to him for keeping the Phillies to just three runs. That’s what great pitchers do: They limit the damage on their bad days.

Patrick Sandoval vs WSH (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 101 pitches.

That’s the second straight blegh outing from The Irish Panda, with a worse excuse in this one than the lefty-mashing White Sox last time. His changeup still earned plenty of whiffs, but the heater wasn’t great and his slider didn’t do enough. It’s part of the reason I dropped him on The List last week, but now he gets the Athletics and that seems wonderful. Make us proud, Sandoval.

Dakota Hudson @ SF (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 83 pitches.

Hudson, you have to throw strikes if you want the team defense to help you out. You didn’t even earn a single strikeout here (HAISTBMBWT?!and you induced just two whiffs. It’s maddening how I still want to start you in the future against weak teams.

Tanner Houck vs CWS (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 39 pitches.

With Michael Wacha hitting the IL, Houck stepped in to toss a few dozen pitches and call it a day. Man, it really hasn’t gone Houck’s way this year. Maybe when he bronzes in the summer sun, Houck will be his true self. The Tanner Tanner — Coming to theaters this July.

Chris Paddack vs OAK (ND) – 2.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 55 pitches.

He left this one early with elbow inflammation. Ahhh dangit, life ain’t fair.

Daulton Jefferies @ MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 84 pitches.

I believe in Jefferies as an occasional streamer deeper in the year, but we’re not there yet. In due time, we’ll take this DJ for a spin.

Aaron Ashby @ ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 82 pitches.

Ashby nimble. Ashby quick. Ashby looking like a terrible pick. It makes me very sad to say that, but he’s failed to get into the groove we want him to be and it doesn’t seem right to stash him while other arms are succeeding instead. Do I think he’ll work this out across the season and click? I sure do. That doesn’t mean you have to endure the bruises to get there — I doubt your leaguemates will be rushing to add him off your wire. Be patient and once it hits, you’ll know it.


Game of the Day 

Brandon Woodruff vs. Luis Castillo – Castillo is back! And Woodruff is pitching like he’s back! BAAAAAAAAACK!

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 ET 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 “Kirb Your Enthusiasm”

  1. Anon says:

    So on a slate with 18 games thanks to the 3 doubleheaders, only 2 pitchers gave up more than 3 runs and only 8 gave up more than 2 runs? Yes, I know some of those were short outings but still. Jeez, offense is so, so, so far down this year it’s ridiculous. There are 56 qualified pitchers thus far and 29 of them have an ERA under 3.00 with 14 of those under 2.00.

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