Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Thursday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Trevor Williams (NYM) vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.

Some days all I’m here to do is tell you no. Trevor Williams was as good as you’ll ever see him today via 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches against the Marlins, securing a Win and a raised eyebrow from managers everywhere. And it’s sure not worth the gamble in your fantasy league.

Why? Well because Max Scherzer is returning to the rotation and there’s nowhere to put the dang fella. And besides, his slider won’t replicate its 7/19 whiff performance in the future, nor will he get away with so many four-seamers over the heart of the plate. He’s hinting at the smoke-and-mirrors of 2018 and without any chance of getting into a rhythm, you’re better off not tucking this into the mental bank for the next time he starts. It’s a Birthday Party no one got the invitations for. Hope he got a Carvel cake.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Joe Musgrove (SD) vs SF (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. His slider took a backseat with four-seamers leading the way as the man did what he had to do. I often feel conflicted about how to translate a deep repertoire where a guy shifts what his premier pitch is on a given day — is that a sign of adaptation or is it a lack of consistency? — and I lean toward Musgrove’s plethora of options as a positive. His options are just that good.

Beau Brieske (DET) @ CWS (W) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 93 pitches.

Brieske continues his run as a Toby and I think he got away with one here — he wasn’t nailing the edges as we’d normally expect from middling pitches having good evenings. Faux Brieske seems more appropriate (sorry fella).

Spencer Strider (ATL) vs STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 100 pitches.

HOOOO BOY. Strider’s first nine outs came via the K in pure pitching bliss. 50% CSW on sliders, 38% on four-seamers and even got a little changeup happy at times, all adding up to a Golden GoalHe’s reinforcing the notion that he can throw enough strikes to make his stuff do its thang and I see all of your #GiveStriderAGA tweets and Discord messages. I feel it too, y’all, we just need to see him avoiding his floor a little more first. But for real, I understand now how the people of Gondor felt seeing Isildur’s Heir. Bow to the dang man.

Matthew Liberatore (STL) @ ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 74 pitches.

Sooooo with all the hoopla about some guy named Strider, Liberatore’s start got a bit ignored and I’m a bit enamored. He upped his velocity dramatically on all four of his pitches – Four-seamer +1.3 mph. Slider +3.0 mph. Curveball +2.5 mph. Sinker +2.1 mph. I know, that’s pretty dang impressive, especially with a 43% CSW on his slider that I simply didn’t believe Liberatore had in him. Thing is, Steven Matz may be returning next week, which boots Liberatore back to the minors (yes, Andre Pallante stays) and I’m a little sad about it. I hope this 94+ heater is now a thing moving forward.

Jeff Hoffman (CIN) vs PIT (ND) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 34 pitches.

WHAT YEAR IS IT?! I’m still a little sad Hoffman never panned out and is now getting his “starts” during bullpen games. You were supposed to be the chosen one, halfway decent for fantasy.

Logan Webb (SF) @ SD (ND) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna almost return a HAISTBMBWT?! but then go one more final inning to get a second strikeout. PHEW, that was a close one Webb, you know how I like my toast n all.

Bryse Wilson (PIT) @ CIN (L) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.

Bryse? Bryse?! Oh, baby. He actually produced for a game in this Birthday Party and I’m just happy for the dude. He really needed this as he lowered his season long ERA to 6.60. It’s literally his first start of the year of at least 5 IP and fewer than 3 ER. Yeah.

Roansy Contreras (PIT) @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! After earning just 10 strikeouts in your last four starts combined, I didn’t want to take the risk inside Cincy today. And boy was that clearly foolish as his slider was as good as we’ve seen all year via 38% CSW and 8/29 whiffs. The Pirates demoted him afterward — he was up for the doubleheader — but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s called up again and returns to the rotation for the Marlins next time. I’m not jumping out of my seat to grab Contreras for it, but I’d at least consider it after this slider showcase. It’s growth, but there’s still work to be done.

Dylan Cease (CWS) vs DET (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

Yeah alright. Aces gonna ace. You stumbled a bit last time, but at least you did the thing against the Tigers like you’re supposed to, and I’m not going to wait until the Twins in two starts to really make the choice. You’ve earned it and I expect you not to make me regret it. Please don’t be like that.

Jordan Lyles (BAL) vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 104 pitches.

Ayyyyy it worked! I ranked Lyles ahead of Contreras today and I absolutely was feeling guilty after Contreras woke up in a major way (yay!), but this is pretty dang good too. Blame it on the Angels and let’s not make this more than it has to be.

Justin Verlander (HOU) vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The man can’t be stopped, can he? Well, it was a 1.50 WHIP. I DIDN’T ASK YOU RANDOM ITALICS. Sorry sorry, don’t mind me.

Tony Gonsolin (LAD) vs CHC (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Look, the guy deserves it. You know he does. Sure, this was a start hosting the Cubs and just three strikeouts, but does anyone really expect him to stumble right now? He’s boasting a 1.62 ERA and it’s July 8th. Unreal.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) vs TOR (W) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 88 pitches.

I’m sorry, what. Zero walks and zero strikeouts?! HAISTBMBWT?! I’m kinda impressed, honestly. He allowed just 2 ER despite a pair of whiffs this entire start. What a world to live in, daring to put your fate in the hands of BABIP so effortlessly. You truly are a bold man, Marco.

Bailey Falter (PHI) vs WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 78 pitches.

Oh cool, you earned six strikeouts along the way as your slider went 58% CSW. Neat.

Anthony Banda (TOR) @ SEA (L) – 0.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 13 pitches.

Oh wow, Banda is on the Jays now? He opened for 2.1 frames of Casey Lawrencewhich really doesn’t matter at all. So yeah, that’s the blurb, leave a tip if you can.

Dallas Keuchel (ARI) vs COL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 98 pitches.

This 3.86 ERA is a sigh of relief for Keuchel. Against Rockie Road. Just let that soak in.

Kris Bubic (KC) @ HOU (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 98 pitches.

The velocity returned to 92 mph, helping his four-seamer return 10/52 whiffs, and the changeup had its moments low in the zone…but he still walked six and I can’t trust the dang man. He has these moments of greatness and I CAN SEE THE LIGHT but then he tosses the next one far from the intended spot and I’m already moving on. What a PEASIsh. I just miss that term and really should bring it back.

Austin Gomber (COL) @ ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.

Honestly, with the way Gomber has performed lately, I see this as an absolute Win. But it was a No Decision. I SAID AN ABSOLUTE WIN. He’s still a Frozen Bananaof course.

Mike Minor (CIN) vs PIT (L) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 103 pitches.

A bit of a Careful, Icarus as Minor had just one ER through five frames. His four-seamer and slider performed well, though the slider was lofted far too often and like a handshaking dog, it gives me pause. I mean, it’s the Yankees next so a LOT of pause. We’ll wait to see if something sticks.

Mark Leiter Jr. (CHC) @ LAD (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 82 pitches.

I guess Leiter Jr. is back in the rotation now with Kyle Hendricks on the IL and what does he do? Why, make three fastballs Leiter as they were sent to the moon. I’ll be here til Tuesday, enjoy the buffet.

Chase Silseth (LAA) @ BAL (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 75 pitches.

On paper, he throws a 96 mph heater with a splitter and slider that should miss bats. In actuality, his four-seamer gets hit a little more than we’d like, his splitter earns few whiffs (2/24) and his slider is…alright. And he did this against the Orioles, can you in any way believe it’ll get better against the Astros?

Joan Adon (WSH) @ PHI (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

Oh hey, the Joan and only is back. And I’m already so Adon with him.

Gerrit Cole (NYY) @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 94 pitches.

Aces gonna…likely slip to #3 on The List after this if McShane comes through on Friday. Don’t let us down McClanahan. Oh and for Cole, he still earned 17 whiffs and carries arguably the best four-seamer in the game. He’s obviously like the best version of sand: fiiiiine.

Daniel Castano (MIA) @ NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 77 pitches.

Unfortunately, this Cast was like the one from Blaine, Missouri and clearly can’t make it in New York. Yes, that is a Waiting For Guffman joke, thanks for noticing.

Josh Winckowski (BOS) vs NYY (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 98 pitches.

He’s a guy to consider for cheap Win when, you know, he faces a team he can Win against. The other days, well he’s just Lossckowski and that really doesn’t have the same ring to it.


Game of the Day


Shane McClanahan vs. Luis Castillo – McShane is must-see TV and Castillo just makes this oh so sweet.

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 ET Monday through Friday.

Photo by Brandon Sloter/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.

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