This is a sad day. A really sad day. I absolutely adore Aaron Nola and as he faltered against the Pirates last time out, I didn’t touch him in The List. When I had last looked at his velocity numbers during his major struggles in June, I saw the same ole 91/92 mph marks he’d been putting up all year. Now yesterday he went 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks against the silly Braves and I noticed early on he was hitting 88 mph and 89 mph and something was very wrong. The main impetus I had for Nola’s recovery was that it was pure command + bad luck as the velocity numbers + movement numbers were intact and there were no signs of injury. Now that he’s had three of his last five featuring sub 90 mph average velocities (his start in Miami was right in line with prime Nola at 92.6 mph and yesterday was 90.6 mph), I’m so dang worried. That extra oomph on his heater also allows Nola to command it better, which sounds counter-intuitive at first, but then imagine throwing slightly slower and how it changes everything working together to make an accurate toss. Clearly he can get it back, but I don’t have the same conviction that it will return as soon as the next outing like I did a week or two ago. Now don’t take this the wrong way – he did feature 92+ just last week against Miami and it’s not out of the question it comes back soon, though I can’t invest in it like I did before. It hurts a lot to say that, but I can’t sit idly by when I have a new piece of info that changes my perspective of the situation.
Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:
Cole Hamels – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Have I been too harsh on Hamels? SIERA puts him at a 4.00, FIP at 4.14, xFIP at 3.92, yet he has good contact management, and still getting well above 12% whiffs. Yeah, those walks are a bit scary – 10 of 21 starts have had at least 3 free passes – and he is getting a bit lucky with a 83.4% LOB rate…I’ll probably raise him to near Top 20, but not much farther than that. I think there are some ugly starts waiting under the bridges he’s going to cross.
David Price – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Price limited his hard contact and BAM, there’s vintage Price. Kinda. I want more than 6 Ks over 8 innings like Hamels over here, but whatever I’m super stoked about this.
Jose Fernandez – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. The strikeouts are super good – like 3rd highest K/9 in MLB history good – though the innings limit and occasional blowup are annoying me a little bit. So it goes.
Jacob DeGrom – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace.
Johnny Cueto – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He’s the leading NL Cy Young Candidate, eh? Nope, now Strasburg is in the lead. I kinda like the idea of a Cueto vs. deGrom battle ROS as it’s brought a decent amount of contention on The List. It’s pretty obvious where I stand, though I do wonder if it will hold in the final two months. We’ll see.
Yordano Ventura – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. One of the better outings we’ll see from Ventura and that includes 3 ER and just 6 Ks. Keep that in mind.
Tanner Roark – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I’ll take this from Roark, which is closer to his 2014 season than this year’s and that’s okay.
John Lackey – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. NICE. That’s the kind of rebound I’ve been waiting for from Lackey. He gets the Marlins next and I’d be starting him with confidence.
Tyler Anderson – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Anderson was pretty blegh against two weak teams prior to yesterday’s game, but got the Mets in Citi Field and did well. I still don’t think his stuff translates into long term success, but I’m okay with the idea of streaming him outside of Coors against weak opponents. That would not be the Dodgers next up who are 5th in wOBA over the last month.
Ubaldo Jimenez – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. If you believe in this from Ubaldo, let me show you my Time Machine in my garage.
Zach Davies – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Thatta Boy Davies. I’ve come around on Davies and he gets the Padres next. OH BABY.
Michael Wacha – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s just 2 Ks and a 4.50 ERA. Let him go and you’ll feel so much better.
Chris Sale – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. This is way too boring to be a Sale outing. He did get the Cubs, though I wonder if the extra rest due to his Edward outburst affected him. Whatever the reason don’t you dare consider benching him at all in the near future. Who are his opponents? It doesn’t matter.
Jered Weaver – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Just…so…boring…
Kyle Gibson – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Gibson didn’t falter once again despite getting the O’s and it’s hard not to buy into it a little. Thing is, he’s basing this fully on excellent command, which isn’t something that I want to believe in long term when his Fastball is historically really bad. But hey, I don’t blame you for giving it a shot and riding the wave until it’s crashed.
Robbie Ray – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. You might be asking yourself – How does Ray get so many strikeouts yet allow so many ER? He has a really bad Two-Seamer that is getting crushed, his Changeup is pretty much non-existent due to inability to do anything good, and he’s gotten some bad luck with his Slider. At the same time, his Four-Seamer is fantastic and that Slider gets whiffs like nobody’s business (18.9% whiff rate). He’s still a Young Gun as adding a stable third pitch could put him over the edge, but I’m not trusting that he’ll express his 3.54 SIERA and 3.40 xFIP until we get there. Remember, it’s still just 16.1% soft contact and 35.3% hard contact we’re dealing with here.
Matt Wisler – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Come on Matt, Stop being so Wily!
Ivan Nova vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Not much else to go with other than Nova, but he gets a good matchup and has found his groove with the Yanks. I don’t expect his success to last, but might as well roll with him while he’s hot.
Nathan Eovaldi vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Man this one feels dirty. If Drew Smyly was dropped in your league I’d prefer to start him, but in other circumstances, Eovaldi has looked better in his return to the rotation and the Rays aren’t a major force to reconsider rolling with him.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Bud Norris vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – He’s only owned in 20.1% of leagues for some reason and you best be chasing that. I’m super interested in Homer Bailey’s return from the DL against the Padres, but y’all know my rule about not starting a guy after an extended DL trip in his first start back, and Norris is the better pitcher anyway.