Average Joe

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.  

Joe Musgrove (SD) vs COL (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 101 pitches.

Another night, another ace as the featured pitcher of the roundup as we have Joe Musgrove disappointing massively in a gift of a start against Rockie Road via 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 101 pitches. Like my former sous chef smelling a medium-rare steak and pointing at my plastic knife, that ain’t gonna cut it.

The major damage came in the fifth, which started innocuously with a strikeout and a quick 0-2 count. But then a somewhat hung curve, a bloop, a hung breaker, and 2-1 curve down the pipe was sent over the fence. Life hits ya hard at times.

Am I worried about Musgrove? Nah, I think it just unraveled a little and the Rockies did a good job of preparing for the breakers and doing what they could to chance a hit. This isn’t a return to the times when he had COVID, it was just a One Night Bland.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Jeffrey Springs (TB) @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 85 pitches.

Even as a southpaw, it’s just that dang easy to pitch against the Tigers. Seriously, his slider wasn’t even that good and he didn’t have the “Imperial Shuttle” of command – that’s the pitch separation triangle of four-seamers up and sliders + changeups down on opposite sides. I think Springs is okay to face the Brewers next with the command we saw here, I just hope it’s a little better.

Justin Verlander (HOU) @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Okay, this is getting bonkers now. BONKERS. The dude just trucks along with worse stuff than he used to have. Maybe this is what his 2019 would have looked like without the bouncy ball…?

Sonny Gray (MIN) vs TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ehhhhh. The five walks create a whole lot of suspicion, but I’m more upset about the curve/cutter/slider failing to do a whole lot. Gray isn’t meant to succeed on the back of his sinker and four-seamer – that isn’t the approach we want to bank on. I’m not starting him against the Dodgers next, not like this. Not like this.

Cole Ragans (TEX) vs CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 93 pitches.

He made his MLB debut and he reminded me a little of Cole Hamels with his old-school, over-the-head windup from the left side. There’s a bit of crafty-lefty in here with fastballs on both sides of the plate, cutters trying to jam right-handers, and lively changeups, but the precision is still a work in progress. It may just be some fine-tuning and a touch more relaxation in the majors to make him fantasy viable. The Astros are next anyway, so you can hold off for now, but we may have a Toby on our hands over time.

José Quintana (STL) vs CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

Welcome to your new home Quintana, where the Wins are still difficult to come by, apparently. The command was similar, though a little more erratic than usual, especially with the changeup. Look at this atrocity. It looks like the last episode of Poochie. I must be with my people…Annnyway, he’s still in a groove and it doesn’t matter – he gets Coors next. That’s dumb. Why does Coors even exist. We talking baseball? Nah, not really. But yes.

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) @ SF (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 66 pitches.

Kershaw left this early with back issues and it makes me awfully sad. I really hope he comes back in a start or two.

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) @ PIT (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna destroy that WHIP and return just one whiff on 64 fastballs. Yeeesh, against the Pirates? Really? I thought we were getting over this, Woody. Why is your velocity down a tick from your last start? WHY WHY WHY?!

Alek Manoah (TOR) @ MIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’m glad he not only was able to pitch after his early exit last time out, but to thrive against the Twins. The slider has taken a small step back lately, though, returning just 2/29 whiffs here and just six total across his last three starts now. I really hope that pitch comes back in the near future, but with his four-seamer and sinker, he’s clearly okay if it doesn’t.

Drew Hutchison (DET) vs TB (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 88 pitches.

Sure, the ERA is okay, but I feel like I’m summoning Donnie Yen when I lower my voice and say “that WHIP man…that WHIP man…” Hutch ain’t the ticket to your second-half success.

Kris Bubic (KC) vs BOS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 89 pitches.

Ohhhh snap. He’s hovering 92 mph again and a fair amount of his changeups were spotted down-and-armside. There may be something in this, but at the very best, I can label him a Cherry Bomb – the very best. I wouldn’t go so far yet and let’s give this some more time.

Kyle Freeland (COL) @ SD (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 113 pitches.

Despite the WHIP, I’m impressed he did that against the mighty Padres, especially given how Freeland returned just 6/35 CSW on changeups + curves, and needed 113 pitches to get pulled in the sixth. I’d like to stop thinking about Kyle now.

Sean Newcomb (CHC) @ STL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 56 pitches.

It’s the Newcomb, just like the Oldcomb – starting a game and avoiding it completely.

Johnny Cueto (CWS) @ TEX (L) – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 106 pitches.

HA. Of course you did, Cueto, that’s just who you are these days. Those eleven hits aren’t that much of a WHIP killer (just under 1.40, okay that’s bad) because of the eight frames and honestly, there isn’t a whole here that you like. But hot dang, eight frames is cool to see and you’re gonna start him some more against the Royals.

Marcus Stroman (CHC) @ STL (ND) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

I’ll take a near PQS via a Careful, Icarus from Stroman. Could have done without the rough seventh that scored all three runs, but whatever, Stroman is in a good place right now.

Miles Mikolas (STL) vs CHC (ND) – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 101 pitches.

A near VPQS against the lowly Cubs ain’t ideal as Mikolas has spoiled us over the first half of the year. This ain’t so bad, though, and we’ll live. Keep rolling with it, especially if he comes with this 95 mph heater (normally 93.4!).

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) vs ATL (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.

Hey, solid Golden Goal there, Carrasco, as you had your slider & changeup once again. I wish it weren’t a PQSbut I’ll settle for this. Keep it coming, fella.

Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ KC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

Blegh. Nope, we’re not back in on this as the command isn’t fixed. Go away and never come back.

Zach Thompson (PIT) vs MIL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 75 pitches.

At least the curve had decent moments, though it was still not consistent enough. Still a Frozen Bananatrapped in the freezer of an abandoned ranch in Wyoming, I always say.

Jakob Junis (SF) vs LAD (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 79 pitches.

The slider was meh, the rest was meeeehhhh. The Dodgers are really good and paired with a lower pitch count, this was a clear avoid. Don’t touch it against the Padres, either.

Paul Blackburn (OAK) @ LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 92 pitches.

Blegh. That’s four solo shots allowed by PB as the Angels hit seven of them in the game…and still lost. I’m still weirded out by Blackburn not focusing a whole lot on his curveball anymore, but four solo shots are four solo shots. That’s not likely to happen a second time in a repeat matchup next week, so I’m reluctantly okay trying this one again.

Noah Syndergaard (PHI) vs WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 79 pitches.

This game ended after five frames because of the weather and what a ridiculous Win to earn for Thor in his first game as a Phillie. That’s the Syndergaard BABIP that made me feel cool at FanGraphs back in 2018 and I wouldn’t be shocked if it stuck around. His stuff just isn’t that great anymore.

Zach Plesac (CLE) vs HOU (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 99 pitches.

Womp womp. I didn’t have much hope for Plesac against the mighty Astros, but even still, his changeup abandoned him completely (0/7, 43% strike rate), and going four-seamer/slider ain’t the ticket to success. At least he gets the Tigers next and I’d trust him there. It’s the Tigers.

Paolo Espino (WSH) @ PHI (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 71 pitches.

He’s up to 71 pitches now (because this game ended after five frames due to the weather)…maybe we’ll see 85-90 by the end of the month so we can sneakily stream him once. A man can dream…

Kyle Wright (ATL) @ NYM (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 97 pitches.

I was hoping Wright would take a large step forward toward his AGA label and it wasn’t in the cards. The curve wasn’t as precise along the edges, the changeup and slider floated, and he struggled to plod through this one. I’d feel fine starting him against the Red Sox after this, but it is a part of a larger issue for Wright – the curve needs to be elite or it falls apart. Fortunately, it is far more than it isn’t, and I’d expect a rebound.

Janson Junk (LAA) vs OAK (L) – 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 55 pitches.

Welp, that was dumb of me. I even saw the Royals start and thought “nah, he didn’t deserve this,” but thought he could just go four or five strikeouts instead of eight, not fall all the way down to this. Sorry for the spam, it should have been obvious – he’s a Junk male.


Game of the Day 


José Berríos vs. Tyler Mahle – I’m excited to see Mahle with his new squad mixed with The Great Undulater doing his best to return to a 4.00 ERA.

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.

Featured image 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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