NoLa-La Bland

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Aaron Nola @ SF (ND) – 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 66 pitches.

It has been a struggle rostering Aaron Nola across the last month and change. He’s returned just two starts under a 3 ER across his last eight and with a tough schedule behind him, I envisioned Nola feeding off his last outing against the Yankees as journeyed to Oracle Park. Nope: 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 66 pitches. This ain’t it and seeing this relapse after what seemed to be a clearing in the jungle is making it harder to keep the faith.

That’s not to say that I’m out, oh definitely not. But he’ll lose his AGA status (arguably should have before this!) and move to the 30s or so on Monday. The problem has been mostly on the back of his four-seamer and changeup failing to earn the strikes that it used to. Here, the slowball went just 1/12 CSW with fastballs tallying a poor 23% clip, and his curveball – normally the rock – was called upon too often and wasn’t quite as sharp as a result. It’s a bad situation.

With all of the Top 40 names returning disappointments this year as we hold out for better days – Corbin, Castillo, Bundy, Hendricks, Giolito, Morton, Paddack, Maeda, to name a few – some have recovered, the majority have not. It’s not fair to play that game as these are nuanced situations, though it is making Nola’s struggles feel familiar. In the end, I highly doubt there’s something better to trust in your 12-teamers and I encourage patience for the long haul. He’s still getting good movement on his curveball, his spin rates aren’t massively down, and he’s had rough patches in the past. He’s not a 4.00+ ERA pitcher and don’t let his current 4.22 mark push you away. There’s so much baseball left.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Cal Quantrill @ PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 77 pitches.

Look at Quantrill, looking nothing like his former So-So Cal self. Well, maybe with just five whiffs, two strikeouts, and 23% CSW, BUT LOOK AT THOSE RATIOS! I don’t see enough in the repertoire to buy it moving forward and it should surprise none that this is a Birthday Party and a Blame it on the Pirates.

Pablo López @ CHC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

You love to see a Gallows Pole from Pablo. The fastball/changeup approach was cooking + his curve and cutter were supporting characters when needed. I understand the talk of Pablo entering AGA territory as he brought his ERA under 3.00 and the only hesitation I have is the lack of a dominant third pitch that will create trouble here and there. I really want to do it, though.

David Peterson @ WSH (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

Good on you Peterson! Sure, it’s just 4.2 frames, but he survived and thrived. It’s a mess trying to figure out the Mets’ schedule now with So. Many. Double. Headers and it looks like he’d likely go against Atlanta next. Nah, no thanks.

Martín Pérez @ KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 78 pitches.

Sure, I’ll take this Pérez as we lean on you for a possible cheap win here and there. He gets the Yankees + Royals across the next two games and that could work, it’s just not that fruitful if it does.

Robert Gsellman @ WSH (L) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 22 pitches.

You’ll see this a decent amount from the Mets as they try to figure out how to navigate all their doubleheaders. I remember a time when I was a fan of Gsellman as a starter. Sigh.

Kolby Allard vs MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 75 pitches.

Look at Dralla go! The left has now gone three straight starts of 5+ IP and 2 or fewer ER and…I’m not buying it. His cutter/slider was the winner here at 50% CSW, but he’s throwing ~91 mph from the left side and doesn’t bring much else to the table. I don’t buy the sweeper to be this good moving forward. He’s likely opposite Bassitt and Oakland three times for the next four starts, and I don’t want that.

Miguel Diaz vs CIN (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 42 pitches.

Ah, the good ole’ bullpen game where the points don’t matter and time is wasted.

Wil Crowe vs CLE (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

There’s some intrigue from Crowe as he pumps 94+ heaters, but there isn’t enough coming from his secondary stuff to buy in for real. And this was Cleveland!

Framber Valdez vs CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 108 pitches.

Yep. Aces gonna ace. I was thinking I’d give him two more starts, but the dude is going seven frames against legit teams as his curveball is still legit. Few changeups in this one, but he didn’t really need it. We’re starting Framber indefinitely and that’s an ace. And now for a phrase rarely uttered: Enjoy Detroit. (I’m so sorry, I’ve heard great things.)

Dean Kremer vs TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.

Wow, Kremer finally had a start worth talking about and oddly enough, it was against the Jays. His cutter was everything as it returned 39% CSW, while he got plenty of good fortune on his four-seamer. I don’t believe this is sustainable – his curveball overslept and wasn’t there – so enjoy the Birthday Party.

Jon Lester vs NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 100 pitches.

Whoa, look at you Lester! You did this with a – checks notes – 19% CSW. Oh no. Yeah. You can’t bank on this as it has all the makings of a Birthday Party.

Chris Bassitt @ NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.

It’s a slight Dusty Donut as the 1.33 WHIP ain’t fun, but Bassitt is continuing his lovely run and you gotta love the 15 whiffs as four pitches earned at least 3 whiffs on their own. Love it. Now he gets Texas in three of his next four starts and we’re CELEBRATING.

Walker Buehler @ ARI (W) – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. OH HEY STRIKEOUTS, WHAT’S UP? We’ve waited ages for this and it’s super weird as it came with a 165 rpm drop on his four-seamer and 150 rpm on his curveball…huh. The secondaries came alive (including that curveball for 44% CSW!) and he even pitched seven frames of no-hit ball before the Careful, Icarus arrived in the eighth. I’m a touch worried about the rpm drops and hopefully it’ll be more of this than the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction.

Austin Gomber vs MIL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 33 pitches.

Austin had 150+ rpm drops and left this one with forearm tightness as we continue to not have nice things. IT ISN’T FAIR.

Randy Dobnak @ TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 73 pitches.

Hey, I’m glad we’re back to the low ratio and HAISTFMFWT?! ways. “How do you spell Dobnak? With only one K.”

Matt Peacock vs LAD (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 81 pitches.

That’s a 1.80 WHIP with a 5.40 ERA, but it was the Dodgers, right? Eh, maybe. But it’s the Padres next so why are we even considering this. Why do we consider anything? Wow, let’s not do that right now. This is just a bird Peacock.

Patrick Sandoval vs DET (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 81 pitches.

It’s an out away from a PQSbut it’s a solid WHIP and nine strikeouts with a dub. That’s a streaming Win – Streaming Record: 44-33. King Cole is icing on the cake as the Irish Panada Panda had his dominant changeup again but instead of sliders, went heavy on curveballs instead, landing 10/16 for a called strike. Bonkers and I LOVE IT. Just another weapon to unleash when he needs it. His slider wasn’t bad, either – 7/13 CSW – and he should get a trio of beneficial matchups now through the all-star game. SIGN. ME. UP.

Alex Wood vs PHI (ND) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 75 pitches.

Ugggh, this was such a disappointing game in general and after I was encouraged by Wood’s slider in his previous start, the pitch disappeared once again, forcing him to lean on his changeup 21% of the time for…0% CSW. At least Wood is still bringing 92 mph velocity, but he really needs that elite slider back. He gets the Athletics back and it’s tough to start him there with the breaker performing this poorly.

Jake Arrieta vs MIA (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 60 pitches.

Even against Miami, Arrieta can’t do it. Please don’t fall for the trap moving forward.

Logan Gilbert vs TB (ND) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 100 pitches.

Hmmmm. Gilbert’s slider was the trusted #2 here and it wasn’t all that great. However, his changeup was plenty better and used just 11% of the time. I don’t think he’s quite figured it all out and hasn’t gotten into that rhythm we’re looking for, making his next start against the ChiSox a clear bench. Feel free to hold for the Rangers after, though. Maybe it clicks against Chicago.

Domingo German vs OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 66 pitches.

Yikes. More HRs for German here and while his curveball was legit, he made too many mistakes with heaters and changeups and he got burned for it. Now it’s Boston + LAA and you should be considering other options in 12-teamers. Not to say he’s a drop – I think he’ll be productive at points during the season with that hook – but do your due diligence.

Vladimir Gutiérrez @ SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.

Blegh. He looked solid in his last start, but the Padres made him work and it just wasn’t there. I think there could be something here as a streamer in the future, but don’t overextend yourself. He gets Atlanta + San Diego and that’s just not it.

Adrian Houser @ COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 86 pitches.

Well, yeah. Houser pitched in Coors. Houser didn’t do well. More at 11.

Brad Keller vs BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

So we didn’t expect this work but I love seeing 95+ out of Keller’s heater + a decent reliance of sliders as well. He gets the Rangers next and I think I’m down. I should also note, Kowar came out of the bullpen and was…mediocre for 42 pitches. Maybe we’ll see the true man sometime in the future.

Wily Peralta @ LAA (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

Wow, can’t say I expected to see Wily get plenty of starts in 2021, but here we are. I know he throws hard, but there are more important things, like not having bad ratios.

Joe Ross vs NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 67 pitches.

Ehhhh, it’s not that I think the world of Ross, it’s just on a night when he earned 8/28 slider whiffs and a 1.20 WHIP, I was hoping for better than 5 ER. Fortunately, you’re holding as he gets Miami next followed by the Rays. That works.

Josh Fleming @ SEA (ND) – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 110 pitches.

Fleming has failed to come through for us against both the Rangers and Mariners now. He’s a Cherry Bomb in some ways because of this volatility and it just isn’t worth it. I just can’t Bond with Fleming.

Lance Lynn @ HOU (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 84 pitches.

Aces gonna…bring their ERA above 2.00 as we saw a near 200 rpm drop from his four-seamer. Oh no! Well, he had a 39% CSW with the pitch and 8/36 whiffs, so I wouldn’t be too scared. It’s definitely something to monitor with Lynn, but in the meantime, we chalk this up to Houston and get amped for Seattle next.

Alek Manoah @ BAL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 69 pitches.

Womp womp. Manoah had yet another start without his changeup being a major factor and his slider was far from the pitch we want it to be. I still believe in him moving forward, though, and he should rebound with flying colors as he gets the Mariners next.


Game of the Day 


Luis Castillo vs. Dinelson Lamet – Will Castillo get the changeup whiffs? Is this the start Lamet goes off? Please be yes to both.

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 from Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong 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.

2 responses to “NoLa-La Bland”

  1. Jayson says:

    Unless you’re in a 12-teams league really deep, I do think there have been better options that Nola since the beginning of the season. Are most of them still available nowadays? Probably not! And here is the problem me and few other readers pointed at few times! For sure there were better options than Nola and as a result if the hype around Nola would have faded away much earlier than tonight, people would have been able to grab them rather than waiting week after week that Nola eventually shows he can be an ace. Spoiler alert… Nola isn’t an AGA! He can pitch like an AGA but he isn’t yet. Potential and reality are two different things. Let’s take Bassitt! Anybody having grabbed him has gotten better results since the beginning of the season than the Nola’s owner. And I seriously doubt it won’t remain the same conclusion at the end of the season. Is Bassitt an AGA? No. Just an ace? No. But Nola has been since the beginning of the season? Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense unless we are blind.

  2. Mike Honcho says:

    So the Irish Panda is now rosterable in 12-teamers? Just did a quick compare…over their last 3 starts, IP and R.Ray are essentially the same guy. Not bad for a freebie on waivers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login