One of the biggest surprises that few have talked about has been the downfall of Kevin Gausman, who was sporting a horrific 6.47 ERA after his June 21st start. Combining that with a 4.35 BB/9 and it was startling to see someone who had not only put up great walk numbers but a consistent sub 4.00 ERA pitcher in previous years fall so hard. Now, after going 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks against the Rays there are signs that we may be getting out of the dark. His last three starts have returned 20 strikeouts with two straight shutout performances and 2 walks per start. Hmmmmmm. So of course, we have to ask what we always ask: Has Gausman made a change that would explain his recent success? And…well…yes. Before his June 21st start, Gausman threw just 14.6% Splitters across the season – terribly low for what is very clearly his best pitch. In the last three starts that number is well above 25% peaking at 30%+ today. There’s more to it than just throwing more Splitters as I’ve expressed the need for Gausman to improve command his Four-Seamer in order to properly set up his Splitter and he sure did that today getting 17 of 25 First-Pitch Strikes. It’s great and spells out exactly how he was successful today. But was it a fluke? Well, he did go just 11 of 20 last time out…It’s tough. There is something here but it’s hard to bet that it’s repeatable like it was so often last season. If you need to take a questionable gamble, go ahead. He’ll return to The List tomorrow but it won’t be a major jump. For now.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Jake Arrieta – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. On one hand this is fantastic. On the other are his six walks last time out and walk rate still hovering around 3.00 BB/9. It’s hard to get behind the idea that today is what the heavy majority of games will look like here-on-out and he will be taking a significant hit tomorrow. One I should have given to him earlier.
Jhoulys Chacin – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it. Wait, do I have to stop saying that? He had five straight QS before this one and today marks the fifth straight game with 2 ER or fewer. WHAT IS HAPPENING and I don’t mean to say that to start a podcast. Chacin has lowered his ERA from 5.65 to 4.76 in that time, so at least his floor is so clearly apparent to everyone that they may stay away…I sure am not pursuing this. I’m going to keep saying it.
Mike Fiers – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Fiers racked up a pitch so fast he had to get pulled after four. But seven strikeouts, a 0.00 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP is worth it, honestly. I’m struggling to say he’s worth a start against Toronto. I mean sure, this was the Yanks and seven Ks n all, but I watched a good amount of this and I would not say for a moment that Fiers looked “sharp”. That Jays start could spell trouble…
Max Scherzer – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. The one bad part about this are the texts I get from Fast every time Scherzer starts now. HE SHOULD BE #1. And I get it, but it’s not like the gap is so big between Kershaw and Scherzer up to this point in 2017 and we all know who has the bigger floor ROS so why would I not take Kershaw?
Mike Clevinger – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. I think I saw in a blurb somewhere that “Clevinger’s upside is limited because he can’t go deep into games.” Pish posh. Dude is built to be a Quality Start machine. But those five walks…Oh dang yeah that is totally not good. That’s not him, ya’ll. I swear. He seems to have solidified his spot in the rotation even when Danny Salazar makes his return, which I can’t decide if it will look like Prince Ali or Danny Rand. I’m inclined to think more on the Rand side…
James Paxton – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Paxton is love, Paxton is life. Now can we make that life a little more romantic with more than 3 Ks next time? K thx.
Nick Pivetta – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Hey, look at Pivetta go! The Nats blew him u p last time and he rebounded against the Mets to give me one in the W column. What a guy. Pick your spots with Pivetta and don’t be silly about it. Streamer Record 45-29-11.
Drew Pomeranz – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Three Ks are disappointing but I will take this from The Dirty Cheerleader.
Taijuan Walker – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Well that sure wasn’t expected from a guy with a terrible whiff rate and pitching against the Rockies in Arizona. Back in 2015, Walker was a quinteesentil Cherry Bomb and I get the feeling that he’s that same guy again this year. I’m reluctant to believe this is Walker turning the corner and rather him just having one of those good extremes. I’m cool flipping this coin, but I’m cautious n all.
Jesse Chavez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeeegh. Typical Chavez.
Sean Manaea – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Manaea really loves to play with us, struggling through the first two frames before looking dope. JUST WARM UP LONGER.
Jeff Samardzija – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I’ll take it Braces, good work.
Julio Teheran – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Ugh, this doesn’t look like a line I should be mad at, but now we’re going to keep hearing the Home/Road splits discussion with Teheran. If you haven’t heard, it was 7.58 at home and 2.89 on the road, which stays true as this game was in O.Co. Why do you hate this Nick? This looks legit! Why do I hate it? That’s because the splits exist really because of three starts. Teheran had three more bad starts on the road than at home. Three games. But because of those three starts dispersed through the season, people like to favor that variable over, say, how he’s throwing now, what his underlying numbers say, who he actually is playing in those road/home starts, etc. It’s essentially smoke and mirrors to be that is more correlation than causation and you shouldn’t waste your time on it. Man you sound bitter. Delirious Nick is back! And he says to still ignore Teheran and – get this – even if he’s pitching on the road. GASP. Okay my bad, I need to go to bed.
Trevor Williams – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This is Williams’ fifth game of his last seven where he’s had exactly 3 Ks. Jeez, that’s one of the worst coincidences you could have in baseball. Just throw one more or one fewer next time, okay?
Travis Wood – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. We’re just so happy to see you back in the rotation Wood. Can’t you tell? Because you have Wood in your roster? No, not in my lineup…I’ll see myself out. Please don’t add Travis.
Tim Adleman – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Boring as usual Adleman.
German Marquez – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Pretty impressive here from Marquez as he pitched in Arizona. Is it enough for me to consider him in Coors next week? Psssh nah.
Jose Quintana – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. This isn’t what I wanted to see against the Rangers after looking solid last time out against the Yanks. Keep the narrative going, you know? Whatever, nothing really changes here.
Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a PQS but it came with a 1.00 WHIP so we cool Straily, we cool.
Junior Guerra – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Nope, I know it’s seven Ks, but he’s acting more like a Senior Citizen than a Junior star, ya dig? Why are you saying “ya dig” ? Because it’s cool n stuff. K.
Rafael Montero – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Montero is not worth your time. He’s just an indication of how sad it is for the Mets rotation these days. To think it’s just deGrom and Matz and…yeah.
Tyson Ross – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. No Ross. This is not the progression you’re supposed to make. NO. At least he got 7 whiffs on 38 Sliders thrown? Nothing else here to be happy about, if you’re still holding I’d chase another flier in the short-term.
Hector Santiago – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Sure, whatever Santiago.
Kenta Maeda – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. The start after Eddy and I get into a major debate about how good Maeda is, he earns one strikeout, throws 3.2 innings and allows 5 ER. Against the Padres. I haven’t been this lucky since I told my friend Thor was more injury prone than Sale the day before Thor refused his MRI…I feel bad for all of this, I am so sorry. Unless one start is going to send Roberts into a craze – which is totally possible – keep doing normal things by holding Maeda et al.
Carlos Martinez – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. The Nats are really good guys. Really good. Give your best shrug and look ahead to better days. Like tomorrow. That’s a Monday. Okay fine, any day but tomorrow.
Alex Cobb – 6.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It might take just one more to fully rid himself of the TEEs label, but it’s nice to see the baseball world normalize just a little bit today. Sidenote: Cobb didn’t earn a single whiff today. Against the Orioles. Jeeeeez.
Luis Severino – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. After returning to form just last week, Sev faced the Astros and it didn’t go quite as well. It’s not like he was terrible in this – seven strikeouts don’t just fall into your lap – but he wasn’t as his best and you can’t hide from the Astros offense these days. Great buy low target if an owner is uncomfortable after his last handful of outings.
Justin Verlander – 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Easily the most disappointing start of the day as I was hoping he could build off of the seven innings of dominance he showed against the Royals after his rough start to that game. But no, the Indians have his number and the questions continue. It’s hard to defend Verlander’s current spot in the Top 35, though I still see him kicking into gear at some point. As I mentioned last time, the tools are there something will click and BAM he’ll be a stud. I have to believe guys, I just have to.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
NONE – I hate to do this again, but the best here is Edinson Volquez against the Cardinals and you know I can’t endorse that. Luis Perdomo against the Indians? Nope. And I’ve given up on the small moment with Mike Pelfrey even if he’s playing the A’s. Plan around this day.