Showing His True McCullers

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

(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)

So Lance McCullers went 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks against the Dodgers on Saturday. Wow, what a sentence. This is helpful, but remember our worries about McCullers hitting a wall now that this start matches his career-high 22 starts? Well, oddly enough, McCullers was pulled early with elbow discomfort. Are. You. Kidding. He now sits at 126 frames for the year, just one out more than his previous season high. This is way too close not to be a little scary. The Astros have gone only five starts the entire season (mind-blowing) and my guess is Collin McHugh will get a shortened start in his place. Not worth the pickup yet (same with Brad Peacock if he gets the nod) as he’s far from stretched out. As far as the outlook for McCullers, I imagine the Astros will take their sweet time as they’re pretty much locked to win the AL West and want to ensure McCullers is part of the postseason plan. Here’s to hoping that this isn’t so serious that October is in jeopardy.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Nathan Eovaldi8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Man, Eovaldi is impressing me, though the Yankee bats sure aren’t either in this series. Nevertheless, this was a bench and Nathan just didn’t care. Feel good starting him here on out. 

Edwin Jackson6.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. There are talks on the Pitcher List Discord Server about creating an “I Survived A Night With EJax” shirt or ISANWEJ for short. It really does seem like a miracle, doesn’t it.

Corey Kluber9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Kluber pulled off a Maddux against the Angels…with just seven whiffs. I guess that’s not so shocking when you toss under 100 pitches to get through 27 outs, but it does seem non-Kluber like and that’s a little unsettling. A little.

Carlos Rodon6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. I love how Rodon is really working that heater up and slider down. Wait, no. That’s more of the intent and less so of the actual execution. You can see that he’s trying to make that happen – and for the most part, it does work, just 3 Hits and 0 ER! – and hopefully it means there will be starts moving forward that are pure bliss when the plan is realized to perfection. He really needs to improve that changeup though, yeesh. This is awfully negative for a pretty decent outing. I guess it’s that while I’d clearly be owning Rodon in 12-teamers, I just want him to morph into the potential Top 40 guy we can’t help be envision. I hope he can get there.

Zach Wheeler7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Wheeler is in a great place these days, though I am a little shocked to see 30/104 CSW with 32 foul balls. Not one of his pitches earned more than four whiffs on its own and I’m still a little iffy that this is going to stick through to the end, but do you have a choice? Just keep starting Wheeler save for the elite offenses and this should work.

Dylan Bundy6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Fastball velocity at 92+, sliders working for 13/27 SNIP…yeah this works. I want better slide pieces and CAN YOU PLEASE FIGURE OUT YOUR CHANGEUP. Seriously, he has Top 25 upside if he just figures out the slow ball that made him so good back in 2016. Maybe next year he’ll get there.

Anthony DeSclafani7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Tony Disco cruised through the Nats lineup, working through jams like a butter knife, and acting a little seductive moving forward. You should realize that 24 BIP with an average 86mph EV paired with just 22/100 CSW isn’t going to work in the future.

Marco Estrada7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Heaters up, changeups down, and it went Estrada’s way here. Not ready to say it’ll happen often, but good for you Estrada. Good for you.

Mike Minor7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Minor got the Orioles and took full advantage of it, getting me one win closer to the elusive 100 Win season. Streaming Record: 66-37. Do I think Minor is a guy to own now? Probably not, especially with the Yankees next week. Enjoy the stream and move on.

Blake Snell4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I wasn’t calling this a DLH as he faced the ChiSox, but he was ultimately limited to under 60 pitches (one of the reasons DLH exists!) and I’m annoyed. Feel good with him for next time.

Jose Berrios7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Berrios didn’t get the Red Sox and did what he does.

Clay Buchholz6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. You’ll be surprised to know that Buccholz is going home today with a Gallows Pole after earning 18 whiffs (36/104 CSW) against the Giants. His cutter was excellent (11/29 CSW), but his curveball and changeup tallied 9 whiffs over 41 pitches as well. I think we’re looking at rosterability in 12-teamers, ya’ll.

Jeremy Hellickson5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Ah yes, the Devil. Solid today as this doesn’t hurt you at all, though 3 Ks is eye-rolling worthy, I guess we’re cool with this. Still super worried about that floor, of course.

Felix Pena5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Remember when I considered Pena as an option since he had a beautiful whiff rate driven by a dope slider? These days he returns one strikeout in 16 outs. HAISTFMFWT?! 

Freddy Peralta6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Peralta is a Cherry Bomb and if you own him, enjoy the good times. You’ll look back on these days fondly.

Jordan Zimmermann6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Everything was fine in this one. Nothing spectacular, but just…fine. And that’s remarkable for Jay-Z, so good work fella.

Chance Adams5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I watched this one and overall I’m pretty blegh about Adams. He went fastball heavy here – 60/83 heat with 18 curveballs for 11/18 SNIP – and it’s okay. 92.7mph with decent command on it. I wanted to see more, something that made me lean back in satisfaction, something for me to gush about here and the best I can give you is that this is a solid outing for an MLB debut against the Red Sox. Hats off there, I just don’t see sustained 12-teamer relevance save for a possible Toby spot over the longterm.

Zach Eflin8.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Just 7 whiffs on 85 pitches makes me think this is more of a Blame it on the Marlins than an “I love you so much Eflin!” Not saying don’t start him the majority of games, I just want to let myself get excited, you know?

Kevin Gausman5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It was Gausman’s Atlanta debut and it went…fine. I wanted a bit more, say more than 4/24 CSW on splitters, as he got the Mets. Yeah, 16/86 CSW is just terrible. Maybe something will click when he gets more time with the club, but for now I’m hesitant to endorse.

James Paxton7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna mostly ace. The ERA/WHIP leave a bit to be desired, but it came with seven Ks and that’s cool. 34/105 CSW is solid as always.

Austin Gomber4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Noooo, I kinda wanted to work out way too well and Gomber act as a solid discount option moving forward. I’m not ruling it out completely, but this…complicates things.

Kyle Hendricks5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s the Padres so there’s your 7 Ks, but it is sad to see Hendricks still allowed 4 ER against one of the worst lineups in town. I think we have to keep the Prof around for now – in a way he has tenure – but hopefully he’ll take a sabbatical next year so we don’t need to keep him on our squads. Wait, are you hoping for Hendricks to be bad? Okay, of course not. I’m just trying to make it fit with the joke alright? I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m lower than most on Hendricks next season, though. It just seems like he can only go down.

Ivan Nova4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. You wanted a Super Nova, but all we got was a Grave Mistake. Womp womp.

Gio Gonzalez3.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Nothing says getting lit up like 12 baserunners in 11 outs. Hooooo boy, Gio is in a terrible place these days and I can’t sit here and tell you it’s going to get better. This is a sad day for Gio, dudes.

Matt Harvey4.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Bleeeeegh. Harvey had 16 whiffs a week ago and returned just four here against the Nats. Next are the Diamondbacks and I’m iffy there. Play to your circumstances. Ahem. Ohhhh, sorry about that. Just one strikeout Harvey? HAISTFMFWT?!

Walker Lockett5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. You want to send Walker far away and secure him under Lockett key.

Kenta Maeda5.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Whoaaaa, while this was against the Astros, I’m a bit shocked to see Maeda, armed with near 30% whiff rates on both his changeup and slider, to earn just five whiffs on 86 pitches. 3 whiffs total on 41 changeups + sliders! I know it’s three straight clunkers ERA wise from Maeda, and I still want to keep the faith. I just don’t buy that he’s suddenly fallen off a cliff.

Burch Smith5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I have Smith labeled as one of those guys that I can fathom being alright when it all works, but when it doesn’t, it will be bad. I think you can guess what kind of day this was.

Jose Urena5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Remember kids, if you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Tyler Anderson4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Anderson allowed a grand slam in the first on a pretty solid inside fastball just off the plate (wrong pitch call!) and I’m not ready to fully give up on this as Anderson had been dominant up to here. The floor will still be there moving forward, I’ll take the rewards with it.

Andrew Suarez5.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I think it’s time that we let Suarez go. We had some moments, there were nice. Ish. And now there just isn’t that flame we kinda had before but not really but it was close and that was cool. Now it’s not cool, though, so this should end. Are you breaking up with me? Well duh.

Today’s Streamer

Trevor Cahill vs. Detroit Tigers – I like Derek Holland against the Diamondbacks as well, but the Tigers are the Tigers, y’all.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Homer Bailey vs. New York Mets – It’s the Mets and Bailey has two straight solid outings behind him.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Sal Romano vs. New York Mets – I’m taking a chance here as I know there is some upside in the tank with Romano and the Mets are horrible. It’s him or Mike Montgomery against the Royals and I just don’t want to go with Monty anymore.

Game of the Day

Luis Castillo vs. Tanner Roark – I so badly want Castillo to repeat his performance while maybe Roark can continue redeeming himself from a horrific month and change.

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 “Showing His True McCullers”

  1. Derek says:

    Gio Gonzalez… This…….

    Also, do you think German Marquez has the floor and ceiling that I should try to keep him ROS in a deep 12 teamer, or keep looking?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Gah, thanks for catching that! Fixed.

      I don’t like his short term schedule – Pirates in Coors, @Houston, @Atlanta – and I think I’d look elsewhere if possible.

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