Pivetta Cheese

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Nick Pivetta vs BAL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 68 pitches.

I feel like I haven’t given a whole lot of attention to Nick Pivetta this season and for a man rostered in over 50% of leagues through the season, we should have an honest conversation after his 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 68 pitches performance against the Orioles.

Very quickly put: If he’s on your rosters, it’s because you’re chasing Wins and need his 26% strikeout rate. His ratios have been rough to endure with a 4.56 ERA and 1.33 WHIP and it’s a product of rarely being fully in rhythm with his secondary stuff. It may surprise you to know his hook carries just a 10% SwStr rate and his slider isn’t a whole lot better at a 16% clip. He’s been in this bizarro Toby universe where he’s a fringe player on rosters despite doing the opposite of a standard Toby and with just two starts to go against the Yankees and Orioles, you’re putting yourself in a tough position. It’s a Cherry Bomb to its fullest and it’s your call if that’s the arm you need – there may not be a higher strikeout upside play to make. Plan accordingly and don’t feel obligated to hold him through the end.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


James Kaprielian @ LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.

The man was demoted to the bullpen, then made a surprise start and BAM! That’s legit production. His fastball and…curveball?! Whoa. Normally it’s a slider getting the action, but he tossed that just twice and held a 37% CSW with 19 hooks as his #2 offering. Well that’s cool. I imagine he’s earned his place back in the rotation now and gets the Mariners twice in a row. I’m all for it.

Alex Wood vs ATL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 37 pitches.

Hey, he’s back! Sadly the pitch count is so low it makes me wonder if he’s worth holding for next time. Besides, it would be Coors next and I wouldn’t want that anyway.

Yu Darvish @ STL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 96 pitches.

Phew. I get asked a lot “What is wrong with Darvish anyway?” and the answer is pretty easy – his command is a fickle beast. It shows up and disappears as it pleases and it makes him the greatest Cherry Bomb of them all (sorry Dylan Cease). So it doesn’t really matter who he faces next, it’s on you to make that call.

Max Scherzer @ CIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. For once, me elevating someone on The List at #1 actually helped a pitcher. Stunning.

Aaron Civale @ NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Hey, this worked! Civale squeezed success out of all his pitches, from cutters and splitters to sliders, curveballs, and two types of fastballs. Everything chipped in here and I’m shocked his curveball – Civale’s best pitch – was used least of all of them. Wild. He has another tough draw in the ChiSox next and I don’t think this is enough to make me start him there, but I’m absolutely in for the Royals after.

Kyle Freeland @ WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 80 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! The curveball was fantastic – 45% CSW – and the rest didn’t get crushed. He gets two final starts in Coors now, including a date with the Dodgers next. If you streamed him, congrats, but don’t let it blind you. It’s time to let go.

Spencer Howard vs CWS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 57 pitches.

And what do you know, Howard tossed fewer than 60 pitches. More at 11. I wonder if Spencer’s potential growth will be a Hot Topic this year. Fine, I highly doubt it, but there is sneaky deep league value there.

Aaron Nola @ NYM (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.

Yesssssss. The sinker was on fire with 16 called strikes, allowing him to get bad swings on changeups and curveballs and it all came together. Baseball is better when Nola Day is hype.

Kris Bubic vs SEA (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 97 pitches.

Sure, it’s four walks and just two punchouts, but we’ll take this All. Day. It’s crazy to me – I can’t help but think there will be one day when Bubic is finally able to locate his changeup down with consistency and he’ll soar. A man can dream. Some will lean on him against the Tigers next, but I don’t think he’s doing enough differently to make me confident he’ll repeat the results.

Lance Lynn @ TEX (L) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 83 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It’s fine, not the elite fine, but you’re cool with it. Thanks for being a rock through the year, Lynn.

Adam Wainwright vs SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.

Even against the Padres, Waino finds a way. What a magical season this is.

Edward Cabrera vs PIT (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 79 pitches.

Hey, the strikeouts are here! His slider was filthy for 8/24 whiffs, and the deuce landed for strikes, but sadly the changeup and heater weren’t so great. There’s a boatload of potential here over time, but it might not show up until 2023. Monitor him next year.

Bryse Wilson @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 68 pitches.

Hey, he did it! You know it’s a bit rough when a 25% CSW is on the “good” side for a pitcher and I’m just glad Bryse was able to perform in the one start where some people would have considered him. Maybe you will again in his start against the Cubs in the final week, but that’s only as a last resort. It’s like we only see a small part of Wilson every time we interact with him.

Justin Steele @ MIL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

Is it a bad thing that this feels like one of the more productive starts we’ve seen from Justin? Maybe one day he’ll…Steele the show. Of all the jokes with Steele you could make, that was the one you went with? Don’t judge me.

Luis Gil vs CLE (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 88 pitches.

Womp womp. Streaming Record: 86-72. It really has been a rough September for streaming. Gil’s command issues from the minors are showing themselves more now and while this wasn’t a complete disaster (just two earned runs! Six strikeouts!) it’s not what you wanted. He’s been sent down to the minors now and it could be the last we see of him. An interesting arm for next year but not one I’d draft in standard leagues – I expect the Yankees to have five secure arms to begin the year + who knows if Gil can go 5-6 frames with any consistency.

Charlie Morton @ SF (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 97 pitches.

It’s not the sexiest, but I’ll definitely take this against the Giants. The tough start is out of the way, now enjoy the cruise control that follows.

Steven Matz vs MIN (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

Matz does what Tobys do. He’ll get the Twins another time and that’s cool with me, especially when he’s feeling his curveball this much (41% CSW!).

Carlos Carrasco vs PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

Hey, this is great stuff from Carrasco. His changeup and slider were both working for a change and the results followed. The Brewers are a little tougher than the Phillies but I’d feel encouraged by this to let him fly.

Lance McCullers vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 111 pitches.

That’s a King Cole for McCullers despite a 1.50 WHIP. The curve is still dope, the slider is fine, and things are good. I do think he’s stuck in the SP 2/3 territory, though, and those expecting him to leap forward will likely be disappointed next year. He doesn’t have enough consistency.

Tarik Skubal @ TB (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 41 pitches.

We didn’t expect much of Skubal and he went just 41 pitches here. Sigh. It’s all about 2022 at this point and I’m curious where he’ll land in drafts. Around the Top 60 or so…right? We’ll figure it out in two weeks.

Jose Suarez vs OAK (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 96 pitches.

This was a super tough call as I think Suarez can take down weak teams but the Athletics are just on the border of good enough to make Suarez struggle. Fortunately, he now gets the Mariners twice and I’m in for that…or it could be the Astros if the Angels go five-man. Monitor that.

Yusei Kikuchi @ KC (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 86 pitches.

We were crossing our fingers Kikuchi could show up after producing against the Sneks and I’m shocked he needed 86 pitches for nine outs. Yikes. The four-seamer is still 94 mph, the changeup didn’t have its magical day of success (it’s about once every six weeks or so) and the cutter + slider weren’t enough. There’s a chance it works against the A’s (his last two starts) but I wouldn’t want to flip that coin.

Humberto Castellanos @ HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 77 pitches.

We expected nothing and this didn’t help anyone. So yeah, that happened.

Corbin Burnes vs CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

Aces gonna earn a VPQS yet carry a Gallows Pole home. Some days baseball just doesn’t let you succeed.

Zac Lowther @ BOS (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 57 pitches.

He sat under 90 mph and there isn’t anything to chase here. Let’s move on.

Bailey Ober @ TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

I’m incredibly curious about Ober for 2022, but y’all know better than to start him against Toronto.

Ryan Yarbrough vs DET (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

Good on Yarbrough for toughing it out for six frames and a great WHIP, but that ERA and Loss hurt in the end. Fortunately, he gets the Marlins next and I’m so down for that.

Sonny Gray vs LAD (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 75 pitches.

Honestly, this looks bad at first, but he’s one ER shy of an acceptable PQS against the Dodgers and hey, that’s alright. Sure, we were hoping for his ceiling, but this isn’t the disaster that it could have been. Now he gets some respite against the Nationals and let’s hope he takes advantage.

Patrick Corbin vs COL (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 87 pitches.

Sigh. I wonder what he can do in the off-season to fix this for 2022. Good luck, Corbin.


Game of the Day 


Frankie Montas vs. Shohei Ohtani – Montas should get back on track while we all want Ohtani to dominate.

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 Mark Goldman/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.

One response to “Pivetta Cheese”

  1. BB says:

    Freeland next lines up against the Giants on Friday (thanks to Thursday’s rainout moving everyone back a day), but doesn’t really change the recommendation.

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