Kyle By Fire

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 Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Kyle Bradish (BAL) @ HOU (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 96 pitches.

Baseball can be really easy at times. In the world of “how do I get better as a pitcher?” the answer can be as simple as “throw your best pitch more often.” Just look at Dylan Cease and his upped slider usage and you can understand how Kyle Bradish tossed a phenomenal 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 96 pitches game against the Astros. He threw more sliders? Yes, he threw more sliders.

51% sliders, to be exact, with his season-high before this evening settling in at 33%. It’s far and away the best weapon in his arsenal and was especially good against the Astros with a 26% SwStr rate and 35% CSW across 49 thrown. It meant cutting down his four-seamer to just 34% usage – a wonderful thing given the pitch’s .348 BAA this year. These are good changes and I wouldn’t be surprised it sticks.

That said, there’s still work to be done. There isn’t much else outside of that slider. The four-seamer’s cut action does more harm than good and Bradish still needs to find a solution to protect his heater from punishment. His curveball and changeup are far from dependable as well, and even Cease needs other options to support his elite breaker.

It’s a great step forward and observing the development of young arms into their best selves is a joy, though it takes time for it to pay off the way we envision. It means his next start against the Guardians is still a questionable one in my view, but at least we can believe in a path to success now.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

Peralta was much better at finding the zone this time with his breakers and heaters, and the Cubs couldn’t do anything about it. I wouldn’t say he’s “back” yet, but he gets the Pirates so who cares if he’s “back” or not. It’s the Pirates.

Joe Ryan (MIN) vs SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 107 pitches.

Ryan is peppering four-seamers a ton and sprinkling in some okay breakers that surprise batters just because they are not fastballs. I don’t think he can normally get away with it, but the Giants aren’t living up to their name and let Ryan overwhelm them. The Red Sox could be tougher, and while I’m still starting him there, be a little cautious if you need to.

Reid Detmers (LAA) @ TOR (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 105 pitches.

The command was improved here with his slider landing gloveside-and-down more than last time + heaters finding their way upstairs…often a bit too upstairs, unwelcome in the attic. The slider came in a tick or two harder than the already harder slider, as well, settling in at 88 mph and flirting with 90 mph at times. He’s still wrestling a touch to get back into the rhythm he had in July, but we’re making progress and that’s all I can ask for against Toronto.

Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU) vs BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.

You don’t need me – you can see this line and know McCullers Jr. is throwing a whole lot of bad pitches. The slider was the best of the lot, but so many poor curves, sinkers, and changeups came out of his hand. He’s effectively wild at the moment and while I’m sure we’ll see some high moments in September, we may not see a locked-in McCullers Jr. until 2023.

Tommy Nance (MIA) vs LAD (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 48 pitches.

The Marlins have looked to their Floridian brother and stolen his homework. A bullpen game? Hmmmm yes…YES! That could work.

JT Chargois (TB) @ BOS (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 12 pitches.

We got our wish with Ryan Yarbrough getting an opener, but the monkey paw curled with 5 ER and 10 baserunners to his name in just 3.1 frames. No cheap Win for you! It may be a moment before we can try to be sneaky with The Fratty Pirate again.

Gerrit Cole (NYY) @ OAK (W) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 110 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. THANK YOU COLE. Jeeeeez it was getting a bit annoying with those questionable ER starts and few double-digit strikeout games, you know? About time we saw a game like this again.

Shane Bieber (CLE) @ SEA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden GoalThe velocity is back down to 91/92 for the second straight start (my dreams of 93+ are dead), but I’ve been Chicken Little all year about Bieber’s velocity and it hasn’t mattered one bit. What do I know. Good to see the breakers at their best here with a combined 53% CSW over 34 thrown.

Spencer Strider (ATL) @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 102 pitches.

Cardinals Schmardinals, that’s what I always say. No it’s not. When it’s Strider, it is…? I feel like Strider is one of those “I perform one way regardless of the opponent” given how good his stuff is and if he can locate decently well, he’ll soar. He located decently well, he soared. He does that a lot.

Justin Steele (CHC) @ MIL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 88 pitches.

The command was off here, but the slider is still hard to hit and his heater has continued to earn whiffs. WE’RE STILL HOLDING ON BOYS.

Tyler Anderson (LAD) @ MIA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 84 pitches.

It’s as if Anderson is trying to tell us “hey, I know this has been a magical season, but let’s not get too crazy about this.” He’s putting his own cap on the value you’ve gotten, even against the Marlins.

Tommy Henry (ARI) @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

Henry wasn’t doing a whole lot here but was able to confound the White Sox when he needed to and survived five frames. This ain’t it y’all, the stuff is awfully pedestrian.

Mike Minor (CIN) @ WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 105 pitches.

Well it’s about dang time ya did something, Mike. This was a game of avoiding the heart of the plate, which includes floating changeups and sliders, but along the edges and not in the middle. At least the curve fell nicely, mostly, and he kept four-seamers generally elevated, but this isn’t the start that gets me going. As if you needed more help with your decision, it’s the hot Cards next. Don’t be silly.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) vs CLE (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.

Y’all know the story now for Girby. The secondaries are lacking, the four-seamers will always keep him competitive and flirt with excellent. Nothing’s changed.

José Quintana (STL) vs ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

Quintana had better command here than last time – phew – but Atlanta is a tough cookie and so it goes. Good news is he’s trending back up and should be solid against the Cubs next.

Joe Musgrove (SD) @ KC (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 77 pitches.

Womp womp. I watched this one and the real story is how the breakers aren’t dominating batters like they should. We saw some 0-2 mistakes and poor heaters as a result, and it’s why you’re not seeing the Musgrove you remember from the spring. I think we keep starting him, but I’ll have to move him down the ranks on Monday until I see his breakers return proper – 4/30 whiffs ain’t it.

JP Sears (OAK) vs NYY (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 78 pitches.

Is a VVVVPQS against the Yankees really that bad for Sears? Yes, that 2.00 WHIP and 4.50 ERA are incredibly destructive. Okay fine. There’s a chance he’s just good enough to make his next start against Natty Lite worth your time, so don’t rule it out for deeper leagues.

Bailey Falter (PHI) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 71 pitches.

Nothing really new here – Falter’s fastball is still mediocre, but the breakers are cool, especially the curve. The changeup…meh. But this was the Pirates (Blame it on the Pirates) and they can’t punish heaters like normal teams. He gets the Sneks next and maybe that’s okay, but I really don’t like chasing Bailey.

Chad Kuhl (COL) @ NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 73 pitches.

Honestly, this isn’t so bad for an expected disaster start for Kuhl, who returned 9/33 whiffs on the slider and a 38% CSW on sinkers. At least he’s got that going for him. Don’t risk it against Atlanta, of course.

Bryse Wilson (PIT) @ PHI (L) – 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 43 pitches.

Bryse? NEIN. It’s destructive.

Chris Bassitt (NYM) vs COL (ND) – 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

Did I jinx this even if I was waiting for this start to give him the AGA label? We had some Careful, Icarus here with the eighth frame, mixed with a HAISTBMBWT?! and that’s all kinds of weird from Bassitt against Rockie RoadWe were so close, Bassitt, and now it’s the Dodgers? Uggggh. I’m still starting him there and picking up a prayer on the way.

Michael Wacha (BOS) vs TB (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 93 pitches.

The ERA rose to 2.53 after this start (GASP!) and deservedly so as Wacha wasn’t as pristine this time around. Weird to see him favoring more cutters than changeups, too. He gets the Twins + Rays (again) next and I think we’re committed at this point. Please don’t let this be a Wacha shame.

Glenn Otto (TEX) vs DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 80 pitches.

Blegh. Otto didn’t have the curve and slider I wanted against the lowly Tigers and now gets the Red Sox. Welp, we tried. NEXT!

Kris Bubic (KC) vs SD (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 64 pitches.

What are we gonna do with you. He’s still struggling to get his secondaries down and it’s messing everything up. He’s such a Frozen Banana.

Mitch White (TOR) vs LAA (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.

The fastball is bad and not even the Angels could save him from it. Do you ever really want to meet an Angel? I wonder if he can turn it around against the Cubs, but this did mark the first start he went five frames for the Jays and it doesn’t speak to a whole lot of upside.

Johnny Cueto (CWS) vs ARI (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

Oh no, the magic is wearing off, as we begin to see Cueto is actually three Corbins in a trenchcoat. When you rely so much on BABIP, it’s bound to catch up to you…especially if you’re tossing 2.5 ticks softer all of a sudden. It doesn’t mean he can’t succeed against the Royals next time out, but that’s pretty dang alarming.

Cade Cavalli (WSH) vs CIN (L) – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 99 pitches.

Womp womp. It was the major league debut for Cavalli (this is why we don’t start guys in their debuts!) and while his command was all over the place, the stuff is exciting. 95 mph heaters + a wicked breaker and the Nationals look to be giving him an extended chance in the rotation now. I’m kinda tempted to pick him up and start him against the Athletics will all the jitters (hopefully) out of the way. There’s legit talent here, it’s a gamble to make only if you’re lagging in SP at the moment – too low of a floor to risk a stable position.

Tyler Alexander (DET) @ TEX (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 68 pitches.

I can see a short-armed manager going after T-Lex and I hope this didn’t make your hopes of winning extinct. For the other 99% of you, let’s move on.

Alex Wood (SF) @ MIN (L) – 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 60 pitches.

Ouch. I had just mentioned I thought I was overrating the Twins offense, and here’s Wood, getting walloped as he left far too many pitches in the middle of the plate. Sigh. I kinda think Wood is destined for a sleeper 2023 season given how poorly this one has gone – I think his stuff is actually kinda good if you can believe it. The best I can consider him is a Cherry Bomb and you don’t want that right now.


Game of the Day


Dustin May vs. Sandy Alcantara – Can May do it again? Will Sandy defeat his demons?

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 Gavin Napier/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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