Monty Burns

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Jordan Montgomery @ NYM (L) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 79 pitches.

I have a very strange relationship with Jordan MontgomeryHis 3.64 ERA and 1.24 WHIP on the season speaks to production for your 12-teamers, yet he seems perpetually in purgatory, emitting Toby vibes as you don’t quite believe in him like your standard #3/#4 SPs, but he’s a step up above what’s available on the waiver wire.

These feelings were reinforced by his 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 79 pitches line against the Mets last night, albeit with a pair of those runs coming from two separate plays at the plate that should have gone differently. The reason for our adoration stems from a curveball and changeup that each carries a 21%+ SwStr rate, but the issue stems from inefficiency. His four-seamer and cutter find the zone over 50% of the time, but get hit plenty (.293 and .328 BAA, respectively), preventing The Bear to debilitate with his secondaries consistently.

It’s how you get a start with 19 whiffs + a horrendous WHIP and a full season of teetering between productivity and mediocrity. He’s in a bit of a funk with that hook at the moment and I have to think he improves in his next start against Baltimore (even if he only survived 4.2 innings last time out) setting up a great outing against the Rangers after that. Don’t go into full hibernation mode quite yet.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Dominic Leone @ CHC (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 36 pitches.

Nothing like a good ole bullpen game. Wait. No one says that. STOP THE PRESSES, WE HAVE TO MAKE AN EDIT!

Germán Márquez @ PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 93 pitches.

Phew. The slider was back, while he sprinkled in curveballs effectively and his fastball wasn’t demolished. His four-seamer was down a full tick and he got a little lucky with it, but hey, that’s alright. He gets @ATL + LAD next and I’m a little scared of both. It’s a close call.

Sam Coonrod vs COL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 14 pitches.

Ugh, another bullpen game? Make me commissioner and I’ll institute a rule that states the first pitcher of the game has to throw at least 60 pitches or face 12 batters, whichever comes first (save for injury). That’s a dumb rule Nick. I know, I’m just biased for starting pitchers, okay? SUE ME.

Julio Urías vs SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 94 pitches.

Awesome job, Urías. The changeup still isn’t what we know it can be, but it, still, doesn’t matter. The fastball/curveball is just too good.

Marco Gonzales vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 101 pitches.

Excellent job Marco, I had a little worry the floor may show itself here, and I don’t know how I could be so silly. Sadly, it’s BOS + @OAK next and that’s too risky for my blood, even with the run he’s been on.

Adrian Houser @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 103 pitches.

The hot stretch continues for Houser and now he gets the Cubs. ALLLLLL ABOARD! The sinker is acting like its 2019 self and his curveball and changeup are helping. A little.

Michael Wacha @ DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 68 pitches.

Look at that! Chris Archer didn’t follow after all as Wacha now has four straight starts of 2 ER or fewer, earning 28 strikeouts in the process. And he gets the Tigers next. There’s your super sneaky play if you’re in dire need of one. But his fastball was at 93/94, not 94/95 and his changeup was okay, not spectacular. Shhhhhh.

Tyler Alexander vs TB (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 69 pitches.

I look at this start and I feel happy for T-Lex? Maybe? It’s a boring, basic start and sometimes that all we want to be.

Carlos Rodón vs BOS (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

He’s back! And he’s…still throwing a bit soft. It’s not 93 mph, thankfully, but 94.3 mph ain’t the 95/96+ that we’re used to. He did touch 97.8 mph, so it’s still in there, but a little more conservatively. I think we’re fine with Rodón the rest of the way given the easy schedule and 94/95 mph still working super well for him (his command was great!). Good news here, for the most part.

Kyle Hendricks vs SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

Ayyyy, he’s okay! Maybe! The changeup was super fortunate earning outs in the field, but the sinker spotted the zone effectively and allowed Hendricks to survive the Giants. This could have gone south if not for the BABIP gods, so let’s still have some caution against the Phillies next.

Chris Ellis vs TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

Whoa, Ellis did it again. Kinda. I mean, that 1.80 WHIP is horrendous and it’s just four strikeouts, but he’s allowed just 1 ER in ten frames against the Yankees + Jays. That slider and curveball + a 94 mph heater ain’t so bad I guess? Maybe consider an ambulance him for a deep AL-Only, but not for me.

Steven Brault vs WSH (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 42 pitches.

Brault left this one with an arm injury and I think that’s the last we see of him this year. Sorry bud, I hope you’re okay.

Tyler Mahle @ STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

Mahle was on the road and gave you production. It’s annoying how clear as day his home/road split is. It’s rare for that to be something truly actionable.

Ian Anderson vs MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 89 pitches.

I’m so relieved and incredibly shocked. So shocked, I let out an audible “whoa” when I saw his curveball was featured 35% of the time and earned 55% CSW with 13 whiffs. Yeah, this is Anderson’s third pitch that hasn’t blossomed during his short career. He located it super well down in the zone + some get-me-overs as well. If he can bring this breaker constantly, paired with a high heater and a low changeup, things are going to get lovely quickly. That wasn’t what this start was? Nah, the changeup was a bit lacking and he threw some hittable fastballs. There’s still work, but the bar has been raised. Exciting stuff.

Tylor Megill vs NYY (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 98 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! That’s a King Cole for Megill, which may come as a surprise when his changeup went just 21% CSW. That’s right, he still doesn’t have his primo changeup and did all this work with a fastball that now sits over 95.2 mph (0.7 ticks above his season average!). We’re talking 45% CSW on 66 thrown and that’s the story. Do I buy that he’ll have that seem heater through the final three weeks? Eh, maybe. I wish I saw that changeup doing better things, too. But hey, he gets the Cardinals next and y’all know the rules.

Josh Rogers @ PIT (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 82 pitches.

If you don’t know Rogers, you can look at that one strikeout, ironically shout HAISTBMBWT?! knowing full well you didn’t start him, and then forget this ever happened. It’s a meh 91 mph heater with a decent slider and changeup. Nothing else.

Jon Lester vs CIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

Man, the Reds really can’t handle Lester on the road. It’s a cushy schedule for Lester moving forward, but I still don’t want to rely on 19/21 outs in play. That ain’t my jam.

Robbie Ray @ BAL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.

Despite earning another Gallows PoleRay ran into trouble in the first with a pair of longballs, and managed to squeeze out of a first-and-third-no-outs jam in the second to keep your ERA alive. You see the whiffs and strikeouts, y’all are smart enough to know a pair of homeruns does not prophetize the apocolypse.

Tanner Houck @ CWS (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 70 pitches.

Blegh. Hey, this was the ChiSox, he could be plenty better against @SEA + NYM + @BAL to end the season…but yeah, I’m not seeing enough from his slider to make me incredibly amped. It’s sadly a bit of a risk against Seattle (just 70 pitches here, too) and that’s up to you. At least he carries a ceiling others don’t have.

Joe Musgrove @ LAD (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 106 pitches.

That’s a VPQS with seven strikeouts and you’re not sure if that’s okay. The curveball is still doing ridiculous things, but he needed more from his slider and fastball to pull it out. It’s a tough road to the end for Musgrove, but I think with that yacker, he should help more than hurt.

Paul Blackburn vs TEX (ND) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 65 pitches.

Womp womp. I was thinking of this as a deeper streaming option, but it didn’t go his way Friday night. I won’t rule out he could act like a Toby against the Royals and Mariners next and I’d consider it only in desperate times.

Trevor Rogers @ ATL (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

Blegh. His slider wasn’t much of the equation here with just seven thrown, but I think he had solid fastball and changeup command. Atlanta was simply efficient in their opportunities and that’s that. Keep starting him, don’t panic.

Framber Valdez vs LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 97 pitches.

Noooo. I thought this one came was a strong floor, but Valdez was a bit erratic with sinkers and curveballs at times, and in the end that fastball just isn’t good enough. It’s still a 3.26 ERA for the season, but the 1.26 WHIp and 22%/10% K/BB% tell the better story. It’s odd to see a pitcher truly be the middle-ground of two extreme seasons, but that’s kinda what I get from Valdez’s 2021 – it was the meh of 2019 merged with the excellence of 2020. Wild.

Daniel Lynch @ MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 98 pitches.

Blegh. Alright, fine. While this isn’t the worst – that’s one ER from an acceptable PQS with a good WHIP – Lynch isn’t catapulting into your conversations like I expected him to by now. But now isn’t the time to give up! He gets SEA + CLE + @CLE to end the year! Yeaaaaah, that’s a great point. Alright, fine. Do us proud Daniel, we know you have it in you.

Griffin Jax vs KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 76 pitches.

Like Lynch above, Jax almost pulled it off, but at least you got a strong 1.00 WHIP here. The slider is still a strong pitch, just not that pitch to push him over the edge. Now he gets the Jays twice so don’t even think about it.

Madison Bumgarner @ SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 93 pitches.

The fastball is still sub 90 mph and it doesn’t matter who he faces, it ain’t gonna work. Just avoid it and don’t forget the sweet memories from earlier this year.

Shohei Ohtani @ HOU (L) – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 77 pitches.

Yikes. Ohtani struggled to hit his spots and the Astros jumped on everything. Some days it just is like that. I wouldn’t worry about Oakland + Seattle x2 to end the season.

Eli Morgan vs MIL (L) – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 81 pitches.

Jeeeeeeez. Streaming Record: 84-66. Morgan relies on his fastball command showing up and he spotted too many over the plate + his changeup and slider did him few favors. Sigh. The man is a Cherry Bomb at this point and maybe that’s what you’re looking for. I think I’m going to play it a little safer with my streams looking forward.

Glenn Otto @ OAK (L) – 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 78 pitches.

Dang, that hurts. It wasn’t the easy stream of last week, but the Athletics are a bit volatile and this could have worked. The slider did earn plenty of whiffs, but the sweeper + heater found the middle of the plate far too often and got the justice they deserved. Now it’s the White Sox. Nooope.


Game of the Day 


Corey Kluber vs. Taijuan Walker – It’s 9/11 and you really should watch this game.

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 Frank Jansky/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.

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