Kuhl Drip

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Chad Kuhl vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.

On a day with plenty of disasters, I figured it would be…cool to visit an old friend who had himself a day. Chad Kuhl took care of Atlanta via 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks (17 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches) and it’s flat out lovely to see his slider become the pitch it’s meant to be.

If you don’t know the “legend”, I wrote about Kuhl over three years ago, one hour before the worst start of his career and one start before he got TJS. The point of the article? Highlighting Kuhl’s sudden success linked to throwing his slider over 30% of the time and I called for more. Guess what, it took us three more years, but we just witnessed Kuhl thrown 50% sliders to a 40% CSW and 13 whiffs and dominate. Now, I’m skeptical this will stick with his four-seamer sitting under 95 mph and holding a 19% CSW, but the first step was the throw more sliders and I’ve glad we can check off that box. Let’s hope there’s another step forward coming in the future.


Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:


Tony Gonsolin @ MIA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches.

I’m glad he gave you 5 1/3 quality frames, but it came with three strikeouts as his slider was good but not elite and he was limited to just 72 pitches because of #Dodgeritis. Sadly, I don’t think this is the start that pulls me in, though he does get Arizona next and sure, why not.

Pablo López vs LAD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches.

It’s always wonderful seeing Pablo earn eight strikeouts and survive against a tough squad like the Dodgers, but it’s rare to see him pitch so inefficiently and I’m sad we only got four frames — blame the 23 foul balls off LA bats. Nothing new to report from the repertoire as he’s still mainly fastball/changeup and I just need to accept that fate.

Luis Castillo @ KC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

I feel like we’re in this endless tease. He keeps performing decently well but he doesn’t have that oomph of his changeup at his back as he earned just four whiffs on twenty thrown. Four! This is supposed to be among the best changeups in the game. WHEN ARE YOU GONNA GIVE US THE GOODS. But hey, he’s tossing 98 mph and his slider has been better as of late so whatever. I just want you to be the man we all know you should be. You’re so money and you don’t even know it.

Carlos Rodón @ MIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The dude tossed 100 mph on his 104th and final pitch. I hope y’all aren’t concerned about the sticky stuff anymore.

Spenser Watkins vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 89 pitches.

I watched a bit of this one and while it’s cool he was able to go four shutout after a tough first frame, I don’t trust the cutter/slider/curveball approach from Watkins. There were moments where it befuddled and bothered the Jays’ bats, but it doesn’t seem awfully sustainable. Ignore this one.

Ian Anderson @ PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 91 pitches.

Ehhhh are we happy with this? It’s starts like these that made me put Anderson in the sixth tier of The List as he hasn’t quite put it all together yet. His changeup and curveball hung up a ton and here I am, aggressively tapping my pencil as an act of anxiety, waiting for the day Anderson harnesses his command. Sure, we actually haven’t seen a full year of Anderson in the majors — it sure feels longer, doesn’t it? — and one can imagine Ian having a fantastic 2022 spring with developed command, but I can’t wait that long. I’m hungry NOW. In the meantime, just keep starting Anderson as he should still help more than hurt.

José Berríos vs CWS (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 91 pitches.

The pendulum swung in the right direction this night as Berríos got redemption for last week’s disappointment. The hook was as pretty as ever as he featured it over a third of the time for 45% CSW, while he earned effective strikes with heaters. That will most certainly work. Let’s hope this is the start of one of those patented Berríos stretches as he attempts to outrun his fate of solid but not ace-like numbers.

Jameson Taillon @ SEA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

TAILLON! LOOK AT YOU! So, he clearly must have had his slider and curveball cooking. Kinda…? His curveball earned a ton of strikes — 8/22 called and 41% CSW! — but his slider was mediocre and went 0/17 whiffs. He had to throw a touch more changeups, which were fine, but nothing special. The main difference here? Taillon faced right-handers completely differently, featuring sinkers inside and four-seamers down-and-away with sliders in the zone. It worked. He saved the four-seamer to jam left-handers up-and-in with curveballs under the zone and falling in for early strikes and guess what? That worked too. I’m all for this change and he needed to do something to generate better outs than just four-seamers up-stairs. The question is if a more right-handed-focused lineup can give Taillon a better fight and I’m inclined to think so…which would be Houston next. So alright, we keep Taillon on the wire, but let’s monitor this shift of approach. It’s interesting, to say the least.

Dane Dunning vs DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 44% CSW, 64 pitches.

Look at that King Cole and tell me how he earned it. Called strikes on sinkers? Bingo. I’ve always wanted to say that in person and truly lean into it without sounding awkward. Anyway, Dunning took full advantage of a blegh Tigers club who absolutely adore taking called strikes. It’s their Jacques Jam. I think it’s Jock. Nah, it’s French, I’m sure of it. Anyway 2: The Quickening, I don’t think this is actionable and I’d still stay away from the great Dane save for the weak streams, i.e. hold back against Oakland.

Merrill Kelly vs COL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 91 pitches.

It’s only one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!) but that ERA, as mediocre as it is, constitutes this as a win. Streaming Record: 54-40. We barely made it, Kelly, please have a better fastball that’s more like 92/93 than 91 mph and a cutter that is triple the 10% CSW it had today. K thx.

Shohei Ohtani vs BOS (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 89 pitches.

Phew, that’s a lovely recovery from Ohtani. He didn’t have his splitter or slider at all, but his fastball sat 95/96 mph and he found the zone aplenty. It’s not the most appealing performance, but hey, it worked. That’s likely it for him before the break and I can’t quite believe he has 67 innings under his belt. What an absolute legend.

Adam Wainwright @ SF (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.

It wasn’t pretty, but at least you got a win? It was an odd failure for Waino, who didn’t have quite the powerful curve/cutter punch we normally see. I’d still feel comfortable starting him against the Cubs.

Jon Gray @ ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

It’s a PQS, sure, but in reality, it’s a Dusty Donut as we’ll take that 1.17 WHIP and eight strikeouts all day to the BANK. Why are you yelling. WHY ARE YOU NOT.

Steven Matz @ BAL (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 68 pitches.

Blegh. Matz’s sinker was legit (45% CSW!) but the other stuff sure wasn’t. He’s still getting stretched out and I’d be avoiding this for a bit. If you have Matz rostered, you’re better off chasing the multitude of streaming options.

Ryan Weathers vs WSH (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 71 pitches.

Yep, still boring. Sigh. I can’t help but think one day that slider will truly take off and pair well with a 94 mph heater from the left side. No reason to wait for it with Weathers on your squad, though.

Aaron Nola @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 100 pitches.

What is it with Nola earning whiffs and a ton of strikeouts while failing on the ERA side? It’s terrible luck is what it is. That’s a Gallows Pole as his changeup went a ridiculous 12/29 whiffs and I will still shout that Nola is the best buy-low in town. He deserves so much better than 11 ER in two starts.

Johnny Cueto vs STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.

It was “The Cardinal Rule” but Cueto had a misstep, fanning seven but forgetting the importance of good ratios along the way. Dang, I thought there was a sneaky stream here — at least he gave you strikeouts?

Kris Bubic vs CIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 100 pitches.

Did he have his changeup today? Pfffft nah. Oh. He did get 100 pitches, though, so he’s gonna get plenty more chances to find it. Okay?

Nathan Eovaldi @ LAA (ND) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 104 pitches.

The man is a dang Cherry Bomb and it’s maddening. He even had his secondaries here — helllllo strikeouts! — with his cutter and curve, but everything was a bit too hittable as he got a bit Singled Out. He’ll get the Phils next before the ASG, and I guess that’s alright. You know the risks and so do I.

Framber Valdez vs OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

This was a game of disappointment as both Valdez and Bassitt vastly underperformed. It’s the first true stumble for Valdez who had allowed three ER just once before and went seven frames in five of his last six games and it’s not a start that will make me reconsider Valdez on my roster. Sure, he hasn’t been as overwhelming as others with the AGA label, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a rock across the last month and change. He’ll rebound, there’s nothing here that’s particularly startling. It’s just a bad day.

Chris Bassitt @ HOU (ND) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

Bassitt has been cruising this year and he finally hit an obstacle. It’s as simple as that and he’ll get the Rangers on Sunday to redeem himself before the second half begins. You know you’re starting Bassitt then, so what’s there to think about?

José Ureña @ TEX (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 84 pitches.

Remember kids, If you roster José, Ureña boatload of trouble.

Justus Sheffield vs NYY (ND) – 1.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 63 pitches.

Yikes. There may be a day when Sheff pulls off the upside inside of him. We are not close to that day.

Erick Fedde @ SD (ND) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 93 pitches.

Remember kids, Don’t—yeah yeah yeah, don’t roster José Ureña, you already told us. What, not. Well, yes, that, but also Don’t Trust The FeddesSure, whatever. Sigh. Youths.

Jake Arrieta vs PHI (L) – 1.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 55 pitches.

That’s a 6.30 ERA for Arrieta on the season now. It’s hard to watch. Just don’t forget how good he was back in the day, it truly was special.


Game of the Day 


Corbin Burnes vs Jacob deGromWeather took deGrom away from us on Tuesday BUT NOT ON WEDNESDAY. Hopefully. Oh and there’s Burnes too. Dope.

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.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire | Adapted 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 “Kuhl Drip”

  1. Dave says:

    Nick, good stuff – much appreciated. A couple questions.

    1. When Pablo Lopez first came up, wasn’t his curveball considered his best secondary pitch? If so, what has happened to it?

    2. Aaron Nola seems like he struggles early in the game, but settles in as the game progresses, at least in his more recent starts. If so, what might be the cause of that?


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