Power Ranger

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Ranger Suarez vs TB (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 99 pitches.

After his last start, I was too thrilled about chasing Ranger Suárez. His 93 mph fastball wasn’t doing it for me, there wasn’t a third pitch in sight, and his changeup was good, but not great. Welp, what do I know as he went 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 99 pitches against the Rays, going well over five frames. Is he a target now?

Nope. Sure, the changeup was solid — 7/30 whiffs! — but his overall command was…questionable. He tossed strikes, the Rays didn’t take a ton of advantage, and Suárez continued to chug through the game. There are some legit fun young arms (oh my heavens, the adjectives!) making a splash this summer and I wouldn’t be tossing Suárez into the fray…except that he gets the Diamondbacks next. Sigh. Fine, I guess that’s okay, BUT I DON’T LOVE IT.


Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:


JT Brubaker vs ARI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

Just when I decide to move on completely from Coffee Cakes, he elects to be one of the many Gallows Pole winners of the night (well, so was the guy who allowed nine ER) and churn five scoreless frames for a win. The slider was great per usual, but the sinker was decent enough to make it work, albeit with a 1.40 WHIP. He could follow “The Cardinal Rule” next time out, but that’s a coin flip to me. I’d prefer something else.

Casey Mize @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 76 pitches.

Ayyyy he survived! Sure, it was just two whiffs and I feel all kinds of dirty for enjoying this, but those are wonderful ratios and a win in the book. The Twins are ahead, and that’s a questionable start for me. I’d lean away from it given the atrocity that is his SwStr rate, but I don’t blame you for taking a chance.

Sam Long @ NYM (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 92 pitches.

Long returned from the IL to replace Anthony DeSclafani and did his best impression of the former Red as he took down the Mets with ease. 10/33 called strikes on his curveball should make your eyebrows raise, while his changeup had a cool 40% CSW of its own. This is the Long we were hoping for during his first stab at the rotation earlier this season, but sadly, I don’t think we’re going to see more of him – Tony Disco should return later this week. Not that I’m in love with Long like many other rookies this year, but I would have liked to see him get a shot to replicate this one. Bummer.

Luis Garcia vs KC (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 90 pitches.

It’s a Golden Goal where both are shared with other starters (seriously, 6x GP and 3x KC tonight. Wild.) but hey, who cares, it’s awesome. I was thrilled to see him bring down the fastball usage to just 31%, allowing his filthy cutter and slider to go 56% usage between them for 36% CSW. His changeup even went 4/8 whiffs for good measure. That’s the Garcia we know and love.

Julio Urías @ SD (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 74 pitches.

That’s a lovely return from Urías, who had both his curveball and fastball working here. I’ve been waiting for the changeup to take shape all season and it may never arrive as he went 0/8 CSW on the pitch here, but as long as the heater and hook are dancing, everything should be fine.

Pierce Johnson vs LAD (ND) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 26 pitches.

We were wondering if Yu Darvish would return tonight. He didn’t, the Padres went bullpen, and it didn’t work out. Sidenote: I love how Pierce’s name is essentially the J&J vaccine. It’s the Johnson piercing. Love it.

Tyler Mahle @ MIL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 104 pitches.

Mahle went on the road and got settled in as we so love. He earned one of the many co-shares of the Gallows Pole in the process and now gets to face the Marlins in Miami next. GLORIOUS!

Brady Singer @ HOU (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 104 pitches.

It’s absolutely stunning to see Singer earn a 2.20 WHIP yet collect a share of the King Cole against the Astros. Just one whiff shy of a co-share of the Golden Goal with his opposing pitcher. I’ve been harsh on Singer and I still wouldn’t want to lean on his success, but he did have the best sinker I’ve seen from him all year, racking up a whopping 49% CSW on 55 thrown. That’s just ridiculous, and he still walked four with seven hits, needing over 100 pitches from just five frames. Weird.

Drew Rasmussen @ PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 58 pitches.

Where do the Rays find these guys? I mean, it’s a HAISTBMBWT?! so don’t get too ridiculous about it, but seriously, 58 pitches?! 2 Whiffs?! WHAT IS THIS WORLD. The fella tosses 96/97 mph heaters, in case you didn’t realize, but the other option is a slider that went 1/14 CSW here. Soooo yeah. Not really what you want. The lack of depth + low pitch counts make it an easy pass against the Sawx next, so let’s move on.

Dylan Cease @ TOR (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 95 pitches.

Okay okay, the Jays aren’t as good without George SpringerCease had his slider on point once again, while his fastball found the edges well enough to effectively earn outs. Congrats on the 1/6 Gallows Pole awards handed out tonight. You couldn’t earn just one more whiff, could you.

Chris Flexen @ OAK (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 105 pitches.

I didn’t give much love at all to Flexen on The List this week and I’m impressed that he was not only able to go 6.2 frames of one-run ball, but also sprinkle in five strikeouts along the way. His four-seamer was way better than I’ve seen, jamming right-handers a ton up-and-in, forcing 16 called strikes and many pitcher-friendly counts. Welp, I hope you enjoyed it because it’s Houston next and you’re better off using his spot for streamers than holding past that one as a stash on your bench. Ain’t no time for that.

Dylan Bundy @ BAL (ND) – 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 46 pitches.

Bundy saw the 18-game losing streak from his former club and did all he could to help them. What a guy. Did it help? Nah, it’s nineteen games now. Oh no.

Erick Fedde @ MIA (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 103 pitches.

Jeeeeez, the Marlins are really that bad, huh? I don’t trust the Feddes and didn’t want to even take a chance in this one, but Erick sure proved me wrong. His curveball and cutter did most of the work in this one, tallying 35% CSW across 66 pitches combined, and I wouldn’t bank on that combo performing this well at any point the rest of the way. But fine, start pretty much anyone against the Marlins. Message received.

Andrew Heaney @ ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 68 pitches.

Sure, it was just four frames, but the Yankees are not getting greedy with Heaney and getting some decent production before getting out while they can. He’s doing a great job of keeping his heater in the upper third of the zone these days (it lead to 9/44 whiffs here) but he hasn’t executed his changeup or curveball well. That’s the next step if Heaney is to become a legit starter again.

Taylor Hearn @ CLE (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.

I led with Hearn last week and the overall feeling was indifference. Cleveland seems like a start where he could excel and while the fastballs did, the slider and changeup so did not. Those ratios are not good, but at least you got a Win and six strikeouts if you took the leap. Now let him go before you realize you have to bench him against Houston.

Cole Irvin vs SEA (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 66 pitches.

Blegh. He’s a Toby at best and even they know you’re supposed to earn at least one strikeout against the Mariners (HAISTBMBWT?!). You can do better on your 12-teamers.

Tanner Houck vs MIN (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.

Blegh. One of these days, Houck will go six frames as he becomes efficient with his fastball/slider combination. He’s not nearly as poor as the line suggests and don’t step away before he faces Cleveland later this week. He’ll be plenty better, I promise.

Madison Bumgarner @ PIT (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

It’s been a Vargas Rule for Bumgarner and now that he was granted an easy matchup, I stopped my constant skepticism for a moment to accept what should have been a lovely outing. Nope, those ratios hurt and I’m staring at a fastball running 89.3 mph on the gun. That ain’t it. He gets the Phillies later this week and I’d personally avoid it — this isn’t the man with a 91/92 mph heater back in the spring.

Corbin Burnes vs CIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna…also earn a share of the Gallows Pole but get knocked around a bit and not give managers much of anything. I tried writing it as one word, but it didn’t work. Anyway, the cutter was not elite per usual, while he relied mostly on decent curveballs otherwise. He had an off day. Don’t worry, it happens. He’ll recover against the Twins.

Eli Morgan vs TEX (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 76 pitches.

Womp womp. An early three-run shot ruined this one before Morgan had his morning coffee. Streaming Record: 77-57. Welp, can win em all. I’m sure not in love with the kid and facing Boston next is a clear NOPE from me.

Charlie Morton vs NYY (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 88 pitches.

It’s a co-share of the King Cole but he hung a few curveballs that went a long way for most of the ER you see. Maybe you’ll take the poor ERA for the 1.20 WHIP and nine strikeouts, and that’s what your best pitchers do. They make sure you have something to salvage in every start. Still annoyed the curveball betrayed him, though. How could he.

José Berríos vs CWS (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 68 pitches.

Twitch chat didn’t want me placing Berríos in the second tier but I ignored them. What a fool I was. With a guy like Berríos, who I nicknamed “The Flag” for his constant undulation, there’s a sense that you just start him and accept the 3.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 25% strikeout rate at the end of the year. Yeah, but what’s his ERA now? It’s…you’ve got to be kidding me. 3.70. I’m not making this up, I legit typed “3.70 ERA” before seeing the actual number. BERRÍOS ALWAYS FINDS A WAY.

Jack Flaherty vs DET (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 46 pitches.

Flaherty was pulled early in this one after allowing two solo shots in the third and tossing fastballs down to just 87 and 88 mph. Uh oh. Yeah, this is bad. The official word is “right shoulder tightness” and we should be happy it’s not an elbow injury, but I wouldn’t be surprised if an IL stint followed.

Jesús Luzardo vs WSH (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 93 pitches.

Sigh. Luzardo just isn’t where we want him to be. It may be hard to see the potential given how poor he’s been, but there’s a reason I call him a PEAS and not just flat-out ignorable. The curveball and changeup have legit potential and when he can figure out the heater, things will fall into place quickly. No need to stash him for that future day, just be ready when it hits.

Tylor Megill vs SF (L) – 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Megill succeeded against the Giants last time with just his fastball as his changeup went cold. Guess what, he still didn’t have the slowball and the fastball wasn’t enough. More at eleven. At least things get easier for Megill now as he faces the Nationals and I wouldn’t let this cataclysmic event damped my enthusiasm. Consider it as an option — the changeup should come back with time.

Spenser Watkins vs LAA (L) – 2.0 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 47 pitches.

Jeeeeez. I feel like that’s all I can really say here, it’s not like you trusted him. Jeeeeeez. Yeah, you get it.

Griffin Jax @ BOS (L) – 4.2 IP, 9 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.

Despite allowing nine runs — nine! — Jax managed to be one of six to earn a share of the Gallows Pole today. There’s upside in that slider, just don’t rely on it to carry him against a strong offense like the Red Sox, okay?


Game of the Day 


Josiah Gray vs Edward CabreraI can’t wait for Josiah to feast on the Marlins + Cabrera is making his MLB debut – expect a GIF Breakdown from the great Andy Patton late tomorrow night.

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 Rich Graessle/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.

One response to “Power Ranger”

  1. Dirty Mind = Joy Forever says:

    Pierce Johnson takes over for Doug Fister for the dirtiest name in baseball, I think.

    Current lineage: Peter LaCock, Rusty Kuntz, Danny Cox, Woody Williams, Albert Pujols, Doug Fister, Pierce Johnson

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