Pax On, Pax Off

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Wednesday's games.

We were stoked for James Paxton at the start of the year and endured as he left us, hitting the IL with a sore knee. When he returned, we all needed the help and expected great things out of the gate. Yeah, no. After yesterday’s disappointment of 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks against the Jays – The Jays! – Paxton has produced a 6.08 ERA with just 29 strikeouts in six starts, averaging under five frames per game (even not including his first DLH start, he’s still under 5 IPS!). So what do we do? Well, nothing. It’s really just two cataclysmic starts – this one and against the Mets on the 11th – and while his velocity is a touch down – we’re talking about half a tick – I have to imagine that Paxton picks it up over time. Sure, there could be another injury hiding in here (this is Paxton after all), but I wouldn’t be selling Pax for pennies on the dollar. 90 cents? Maybe, but with time, I have to think Paxton produces. This is a small sample we’re talking about here, a sample where he still missed bats above 13% of the time and has three 7 strikeout games. He will fix this. Sidenote: Shoutout to @batmanbaseball for today’s headline!

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Matt Carasiti1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Matty opened for Wade LeBlancwho went 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks against the Brew Crew. That’s 2 ER or fewer in four of his last five games, including three games above six strikeouts. Interesting… 34% CSW as his cutter was working and maybe he’s worth the stream against the Cardinals next week. Just maybe.

Daniel Mengden6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. With Montas down, Mengden got the call and carved up the Cardinals lineup. I should have streamed this. Why didn’t I stream this. Anyway, he gets the Twins next, so don’t think about it. Don’t do it, let him hang out on the wire.

Dario Agrazal6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I labeled Dario a Cup of Schmo last time and even with this game against the Astros, I’m sticking to it. I mean, 4/99 whiffs? Really?

Jaime Barria5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Barria returned to the rotation and showed us why we had a small thing for him last year. 16/35 CSW on sliders is stupid good, though his changeup wasn’t as strong as I remembered. He would get the Rangers in Arlington next, though, and I’m not down for that. Too risky.

Trevor Bauer6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Bauer, why did you have to go and scare us last time out? His focus on cutters, sliders, and curveballs returned here and life is good. Now it’s the Royals and this should be more of the same…right? Yeah, I’m going to stick to that.

Patrick Corbin7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It was the Marlins, but Corbin’s slider dominated and masked that he still can’t nail the inside corner to right-handed batters. Yep. That’s still an issue. Is it enough to outright sell him? I wouldn’t do that as he gets the Marlins again next week. If he still can’t hit the spot next week and kills it against The Fish, then you can probably cash out for prime Corbin anyway.

Mike Minor9.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Another stupid good gem from Minor as he pulled a Hercules and went the distance, lowering his season ERA to just 2.40. Hot dang! His secondary pitches weren’t incredible and all had their flaws – changeups were great or terrible, curveballs a little hunt, only 4/24 CSW on sliders – but they all…worked. Fastball sat 92/93 and cruised through the Tigers lineup and VOILA! There’s your major Minor. I still have my hesitations about him being a true ace and this could just be a first half to remember, but I doubt you’ll get proper value on the trade market, so all you can do is hold tight and hope he keeps this up.

Tanner Roark5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Roark is kinda a Toby with a touch more volatility and strikeout upside, but not enough to be a Cherry Bomb. Stop using terms, just give it to me straight! Roark won’t win you your leagues, but he deserves to be owned in more than 20% of leagues. 

Taylor Clarke5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. This might be one of the best games from Clarke all year and you still don’t want to chase him.

German Marquez5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s great to see just 2 ER, it’s terrible to endure a 1.80 WHIP and just two strikeouts for it. The Marquez ride is a wild one and I feel bad for those trapped in it. You can’t drop him, sell him if you can to rid yourself of the headache…but then you realize that Marquez started his phenomenal run on June 30th last year. There’s still hope.

Jason Vargas6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. So I guess we never hit the wall? Just 77 pitches thrown here is just dumb, going 42% CSW. That’s crazy. His changeup was as good as you’ll ever see it – 12/29 whiffs! – and we have to let this ride. Maybe his anger is the root of all of this.

Adam Wainwright6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Why don’t we just call this geezer Wednesday with all these old fellas racking up strikeouts? I’m amazed at Waino’s 2019 campaign, filled with games where he looks on the verge of retirement and others where he somehow goes 32% CSW and wows us all. Against the A’s! It’s a volatility that I don’t love to chase, but I understand if you need to. Good luck, we’re all counting on you. I guess he deserves some love on The List, doesn’t he.

Zac Gallen5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. That was a painful sixth frame – Careful Icarus – but those that own Gallen have to be pumped for the weeks ahead. Don’t think what could have been last night, be excited for this kid’s 92-94 heater and strong secondary stuff (just five changeups, though?) that will carry him through the summer.

Adrian Houser2.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. There was a little hype for Houser, but this game wasn’t his day. Command was off, his secondary pitches were meh (are they ever really that great?) and I’m not a big fan of chasing this train. Maybe he’ll turn it around and wow me, but I don’t think this is something of note.

Dallas Keuchel5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Yep, that’s a Toby. At least his cutters were lower today, but his fastballs were plenty higher, allowing for the Cubs to swat him around a bit. There’s more to reach that Keuchel should reach with time.

Reynaldo Lopez6.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. A VVPQS is very acceptable for ReyLo against the Sawx. Very acceptable. Rostering him because of it is not acceptable. Not acceptable.

Charlie Morton6.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s weird giving an AGA label to a near VPQS, but hey, you got seven strikeouts and this wasn’t destructive. So TGASB? Ten good aces steal bases? Close. This Guy Ain’t So Bad. I like mine more. Me too.

Jake Odorizzi5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Is this a step forward or more of the same blegh from Odorizzi? LET’S GO TO THE TAPE! Much better approach this time as he was able to stay up with heaters and cutters inside to left-handers. He’s fine, this is fine, trust Odorizzi.

Matt Boyd7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace, 4 ER, Schmour Schmearened Runs, I see a sub 1.00 WHIP and 11 Ks and I’m a happy man. 20 whiffs for the Gallows Pole as well.

Tony Gonsolin4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah, not a huge fan of what I saw here. His favorite secondary pitch is a splitty and it was wildly inconsistent, pumping fastballs down the heart of the plate as well. His slider had its moments and it could be the main second pitch in the future, but this is a Cup of Schmo for our 12-teamer purposes.

Jake Junis6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. There just isn’t enough here for me to tell you to trust Junis on a given night.

Nick Pivetta5.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. UGGGGH. I said the complete game changed nothing but I wanted to believe. I really did. But no, he’s a Cherry Bomb who will either have it or not on a given night and that’s that. Even with 40%+ breaking balls, if they return just 9/42 CSW, that’s just not going to cut it. He was on the lower end velocity wise as well at 93.6 (normally 94/95) and it’s frustrating as an owner. I’m not sure you have better things to chase, but if you feel like you need to cut Pivetta, I don’t blame you. It’s hard to believe he can really soar for a consistent amount of time.

Matt Strahm6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Nine strikeouts?! Ohhh, right. Blame it on the Orioles. Well, kinda. Really good to see his fastball back up to 91.5 mph instead of hovering 90, and he earned 13/43 CSW on sliders and curveballs. Not great, but not as bad as we’ve seen. Now he gets the Giants next…huh. That’s actually interesting to me if he has this fastball velocity.

Dylan Bundy4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I put my heart out there for Bundy and I got burned for it. Streaming Record: 52-33. 1/11 CSW on changeups meant he had nothing else to pair his fastball/slider with a BOOM it was over. Back to the drawing board.

Yu Darvish5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Look at that. Another high ERA but plenty of strikeouts and non-destructive WHIP. Can someone tell me why Darvish isn’t throwing his slider anymore? He threw more changeups – changeups! – than sliders (6 vs. 4) and that just makes no sense to me. Darvish, what is this season.

Chris Sale6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna frustrate you but then brush your hair with a 1.17 WHIP and 10 strikeouts to make you feel better. It’s going to be okay, there are all these other categories to win!

Jeff Samardzija5.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Just 18/96 CSW is all kinds of bleeeeeegh. He really is such a Panda.

Trent Thornton3.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Thornton is a desperate streamer if you need strikeouts with the dark horse chance that he figures out his secondary stuff to be a more consistent producer. This was the Yankees. You don’t start Dub T against the Yankees.

Framber Valdez3.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I was out for the previous start against the Yankees, but I wasn’t out on this one. It’s too bad and with Collin McHugh returning from the IL, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes over in the rotation spot with Framber getting optioned to the minors. No need to hold, just let Framber go.


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


Ariel Jurado vs. Detroit Tigers – I sat down and had zero idea who I could choose with any sort of conviction. I guess it’s Jurado as he faces the Tigers. I guess.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Michael Wacha vs. San Diego PadresI don’t like Wacha in the slightest, but I can see him pulling this off against the Padres.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Austin Voth vs. Detroit Tigers – I loved his velocity last time out as it overpowered. The Tigers could get steamrolled by it this weekend.


Game of the Day 


Zack Wheeler vs. Aaron Nola – It’s two of my dudes squaring off. I’m so down. Also, there’s Bryse Wilson and I’m so curious.


(Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire)

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.

8 responses to “Pax On, Pax Off”

  1. Vinny says:

    Happy Nola day Nick!

  2. Jeremy says:

    3 solo bombs in the 5th against Boyd feels unlucky. So close to an absolute gem.

  3. Nick says:

    It’s interesting framber gets sent down rather than put in the bullpen.
    The astros don’t need a 5th starter until after the all star break, so I think it’s possible he’s back in the rotation after the break especially with McHugh just going one inning at a time in relief since he’s been activated.

  4. Perfect Game says:

    It’s only two starts, but Gallen throws a lot of pitches and looks like a guy that will have a hard time getting through 6 frames for QS needed in fantasy. Thoughts, Nick?

  5. Saint says:

    Drop T. Richards for Voth’s start this week?

  6. Swfcdan says:

    16 tm Dynasty league contender so trying to sell Montas for something I can use this year.
    Been offered Mikolas and C Walker, solid offer. Are you sold Mikolas is returning to form?
    Downside is we count K/9, but also HR/9 so could conteract it a bit.
    Doubt I get a better offer (could use an extra bat too), so take it? Who knows how much of Montas improvements will stick next year anyway.

  7. Jack says:

    Y U NO VV?

    (Velasquez as streaming option vs Fish?)

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