Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Justin Twirlander

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Friday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.  

Justin Verlander (HOU) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches.

I’ve considered Justin Verlander as a glorified Toby this year, given he doesn’t seem capable of boasting a strikeout rate above 25% and could be fighting to hover above 20% this year. Welp, the Athletics certainly helped Verlander look like his premier self with a gorgeous line of 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches. 

The trick this time around? Breaking balls. His slider and curve were legit in and out of the zone with a ton of strikes and his curve returning a fantastic 48% CSW. As long as Verlander has that command of his breaking stuff to pair with his high heaters, he hs a chance to be the 25% strikeout rate arm you want him to be.

It is a bit of Blame it on the Athetlics, definitely, but seeing this ceiling appear (especially with the Mariners ahead) should give us more confidence that Verlander can be a consistent producer this season. You love to see it.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Braxton Garrett (MIA) @ ARI (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 95 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! There’s a Gold Star after Braxton returned 11 ER in his first two starts. A CGSHO is nothing to wave hand, of course, though to suggest that Garrett is suddenly “fixed” and ready to be incredible would be a little bit of a leap. I watched this one and while it was plenty of Neckbeard work, there certainly was fair amount of good fortune (there has to be to have a Maddux in many cases!) and I wouldn’t back on double-digit sinker called strikes or a 43% CSW on sliders repeatedly. I also wasn’t in love with his cutter or changeup and my eyebrow still hasn’t dropped quite yet. Feel free to spec add for the Padres and hope he can keep it up, even I’m skeptical.

Carlos Rodón (NYY) @ SDP (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 93 pitches.

Another solid outing from Rodón, even if the whiffs weren’t there (0/28 whiffs and a 50% strike rate on his slider) and it wasn’t as overwhelming as we saw previously. All cool, glad this worked out and the Angels shouldn’t be an issue next time out.

Kenta Maeda (DET) vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 74 pitches.

Uhhhhh HAISTBMBWT?! Pretty hilarious how he’s been productive for three straight starts after I disowned him to lead a roundup. Whoops…His slider was abnormally effective at 55% CSW, though his heater is still sub 90 mph with just 2/18 splitter whiffs. That doesn’t seem great. Because it isn’t. He’s still a Cherry Bomb who I’d avoid when possible, including Fenway up next.

Shawn Armstrong (TBR) vs KCR (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 32 pitches.

A lovely opening for a horrendous 5.0 IP of 8 ER from Tyler AlexanderI wonder how long the Rays will keep Baz down in Triple-A…

Jared Koenig (MIL) @ BOS (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 12 pitches.

He opened for a solid Bryse Wilson performance of 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks and you’re already leaning forward in your chair. This was the cutter/sinker game, with his cutter doing most of the work in the upper half and…not something I feel too confident in. Too much command volatility and a pitch that shouldn’t perform this well.

MacKenzie Gore (WSN) vs SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 98 pitches.

Mmmmm that’s some good pitchin’. A Golden Goal for Gore as he finally got a good matchup, earning 40%+ CSW on both his curve and changeup, while his heater once again earned whiffs with legit command on the edge and upstairs. I’ve waited so long for this. Well, you’re gonna have to wait a little longer again as he gets Atlanta next (Noooooo), but it’s the Mets after! And we’re holding Gore for the long-haul now – I legit think he’s an ace for 2025.

Seth Lugo (KCR) @ TBR (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 104 pitches.

You know, Lugo played the Neckbeard game with his heaters, then was able to earn strikes with curves and sliders inside the zone. This run is absolutely bananas and we roll with it for a while, though I’m selling high if there’s any reasonable offer out there. COME ON NICK. Dude had a 19% CSW in this one and .214 BABIP, 92% LOB rate, and just an 11% SwStr across his last six games. He’s not holding a 30% K rate with a 1.52 ERA.

Cristopher Sánchez (PHI) @ COL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 83 pitches.

Just two strikeouts are a product of failing to put batters away with many changeups over the plate and not falling under the zone as we’ve seen in the past. But hey, 30%+ CSW on both the changeup and slider suggest more strikeouts in the future. We good.

Ty Blach (COL) vs PHI (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 78 pitches.

COL story, bro. But seriously…Col story, bro? Yeaaaah. That’s it.

Christian Scott (NYM) vs SFG (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

That’s a lovely outing, though his heater has failed to hit its spot upstairs as frequently as we’ve wanted it to. I’m not loving his next start against the Dodgers, but would be holding for his schedule after.

Bailey Ober (MIN) vs TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.

I think he pitched better than the line suggests. Great pitch separation, 16 whiffs, and all the confidence moving forward.

Bailey Falter (PIT) vs ATL (W) – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 97 pitches.

That’s pretty dope for a start against Atlanta, boasting a 52% CSW and 92 mph heaters. I’d still encourage resisting Bailey for a general nightcap.

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs MIA (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna be pedestrian in a good matchup. It wasn’t the BSB we saw last time out, but his curve was well spotted low and we’ll take it. He’s a Bic pen – nothing new here.

Corbin Burnes (BAL) @ CHW (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna…give you a VPQS against a poor offense as his cutter was hit more than you want. Blegh. It’s wild, once again, it feels as if Burnes isn’t being that true ace, but his numbers for the year are stable as anything. Set and forget.

Logan Allen (CLE) @ LAA (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 99 pitches.

Seven strikeouts are cool and so are low changeups and sweepers, but his mistakes down the pipe got punished and that’s your ball game. Not sure I’d go after this in Coors, but it’s decent for those in AL-Only leagues.

José Ureña (TEX) @ MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

He went a full start despite taking a comebacker in the third and huge props to Ureña for toughing it out. Always fun to see long-time vets do what they can to stick around.

Kyle Harrison (SFG) @ NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 98 pitches.

Harrison is so consistently up and arm-side that I have to imagine batters are keying in on the pitch and making it tough for Harrison to climb through starts. I’m still not seeing anything new here, a similar feeling to me refreshing my fantasy roster at 1:00am hoping to get a new dopamine hit of my lineups performing well.

Chris Flexen (CHW) vs BAL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 84 pitches.

Don’t act so surprised. He’s been Flexen in the mirror for a while now. Are you gonna keep doing that all summer? NO MOM, I’M GOING TO THE BEACH SOON. Uhhhhh huh.

Alek Manoah (TOR) @ DET (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.

Annnnnd that was fun. The changeup was floated, the slider was doing it’s best, and the sinker held a sub 50% strike rate. Oh, so his command is still not great. Nope, and Manoah needs that command with his arsenal. The CrySox are next and it’s probably best to consider Manoah as a Cherry Bomb. Do what you feel.

George Kirby (SEA) @ WSN (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 82 pitches.

Blegh. His breakers aren’t helping at all and Kirby’s fastballs + splitters aren’t overpowering enough to disguise his the lack of reliable breakers. It’s been a frustrating time watching Kirby struggle with his arsenal and I can’t help but believe he’ll get out of the funk over time. It just doesn’t seem right for this to last.

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) vs LAD (W) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

Few strikeouts with poor rations? Yep, that’s Ashcraft, who was fortunate to earn a Dusty Donut of a Win. If that’s who he is, why would I roster him. I don’t know, you like his name? It’s pretty dope. Yes it is.

James Paxton (LAD) @ CIN (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 95 pitches.

Womp womp. Even with good four-seamer spots, Paxton needs a bit of good fortune to make it work and it didn’t go his way here. It’s a coin flip without the best ceiling and it’s still hard to expect Paxton to last much longer in this rotation…except there isn’t a definitive replacement in the wings. Maybe Knack…?

Ray Kerr (ATL) @ PIT (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 72 pitches.

Kerr chipped in for his debut as a starter and while he did flex some hard heaters upstairs (poor extension and vert) & showcase some good curveballs, I’m not totally in love with his two-pitch mix. We also saw Darius Vines toss over 70 pitches in three frames for 6 ER, and we can move on here.

Kutter Crawford (BOS) vs MIL (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

The first proper stumble of the season for Crawford and I wouldn’t be worried moving forward. It happens, y’all. Nothing to be too concerned about, I don’t think his sweeper will go 4/10 strikes again.

Ross Stripling (OAK) vs HOU (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 61 pitches.

And now he’s on the IL with an elbow injury. Sooooooo, yeah. Poor guy.

Yu Darvish (SDP) vs NYY (L) – 5.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 81 pitches.

It’s wild how regression hits in massive waves. 0 ER across four starts then four homeruns against the mighty Yankees. At least he gets respite against the Marlins and it would be unwise to change course.

Patrick Sandoval (LAA) vs CLE (L) – 3.2 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 83 pitches.

Changeups + sliders whiffs are just like the state of Idaho: 1/50. Needless to say, this wasn’t his day, and now he gets the Yankees. Lol, I’m good.

Game of the Day


Marcus Stroman vs. Dylan Cease – I’m mostly curious how Cease will handle the incredibly hot Yankee offense.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Playback.tv livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.

Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)

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.

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