Nothing Gonna Break My Strider

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.  

Spencer Strider (ATL) vs COL (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 16 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 106 pitches.

I had to give some special love to Spencer Strider tonight after fanning more batters than any other Atlanta starter in history, en route to a marvelous 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 16 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 106 pitches performance against Rockie RoadYes, that’s very clearly a Golden Goal.

You may be thinking the four-seamer was the catalyst and you’d be…kinda wrong. Sure, the pitch was stellar per usual, returning a sparkling 78% strike rate as the Rockies couldn’t barrel the dang thing, but the slider stole the show, boasting an elite 48% CSW and 15 whiffs. It’s the best we’ve seen the breaker and we can only dream he can spot the slide piece like this with regularity.

I’m finding it difficult to imagine where he goes in drafts for 2023 (look, it’s September 1st, which means my eyes begin to wander into March. Don’t hate me for it) – the track record isn’t massive but the stuff is legit, the command hasn’t been nearly as questionable as I anticipated (though, the heater was more hittable than you’d think, tonight), and generally pitchers improve with more time on the bump. All this to say I’m going to be in on Strider as much as I can be, and no, that’s not just the recency talking. There’s more under the curtain I’m excited to share with y’all in the near future and it only reinforces the point that Isildur’s heir is as good as any out there.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Kyle Bradish (BAL) @ CLE (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Bradish didn’t go back to the slider as we hoped (51% –> 32% usage tonight) but his four-seamer was able to sneak into the zone without damage as the breaker was still a strong offering. So, you’re in on Bradish now? Nah, I’m not. Sorry y’all, a date with the Jays is next and I’m not buying that the heater can be a 33% CSW pitch. I’d chase someone else.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 84 pitches.

All is at peace when good right-handed pitchers dominate the Tigers as they should. It’s like morning coffee in the fall weather on a Maine porch. Gilbert, I still want better secondary pitches. WHO SAID THAT?!

Merrill Kelly (ARI) vs MIL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

That’s a 2.84 ERA on the year with a 1.10 WHIP for Kelly as the changeup was great and the heater was 93+. He’ll get the Padres / Dodgers / Padres / Dodgers across his next four starts and some hard decisions are coming. I’m cool with the non-Dodgers starts, but do what you need to do. He’s not immortal, you know.

Johnny Cueto (CWS) vs KC (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 94 pitches.

Okay good, there’s some magic left. We just had to slap the shoe a few times before it shook out. I guess we’re starting him against the Mariners and Athletics next. Don’t let us down now…

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) @ NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 74 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Ahhhh, the world is so much better with TATIAGA in our lives.

Paolo Espino (WSH) vs OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 66 pitches.

OH SNAP. I was one start off! SO CLOSE. The curve was excellent with 8/21 whiffs and a 57% CSW, while the four-seamer hugged the edges at upper 80s and was able to avoid damage. I’m proud of you Espino, maybe I’ll see you on my roster again someday – I said, knowing full well he wouldn’t. Let the man dream. Let the man dream.

Ken Waldichuk (OAK) @ WSH (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

I was excited to watch Waldichuk and what we got was a fastball from the left side with a bit of zip on it. I dig the lower arm action, especially from the first-base side of the rubber, creating a fun angle for his slider against lefties. There’s potential here if he can harness the arsenal, and I legit dig all of his offerings. The 95 mph fastball misses bats up, the changeup has good dip and potential at a 10 mph drop, the slider comes in even slower in the low 80s and dives effectively, and the curve can be flipped into the zone in the mid-70s. I’m not sure the A’s are going to let him continue to get his innings this year, but I’d keep an eye on him for 2023. The stuff is there.

Chris Bassitt (NYM) vs LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 103 pitches.

This was a tough call and while the 1.50 WHIP hurts, the rest works as Bassitt earned a Win for his Mets. Phew, glad that’s out of the way, now have some fun against the Pirates.

Shane Bieber (CLE) vs BAL (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. 15 whiffs on breakers is a gorgeous thing and that heater sitting at 92 mph is pretty cool, too. Good stuff Biebs.

Glenn Otto (TEX) @ BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

Otto had three whiffs exactly on each of his slider, curve, sinker, and four-seamer tonight. Well ain’t that fun. If you had the brass to do this one, congrats, but the Astros are next and you really shouldn’t push your luck.

Chad Kuhl (COL) @ ATL (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.

7/14 outs via way of the K is lovely, but the Kuhl WHIP strikes again. You can’t bring him anywhere.

Daniel Mengden (KC) @ CWS (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 54 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Mengden! Annnnnnd he’s gone.

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) @ ARI (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna bungle. The heater sat 97 mph, but the command was wonky and the changeup could only do so much. I can’t help but feel like it’s been a strange season for Woodruff, and yet, he has a 30% strikeout rate, a 3.54 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and pretty much been the guy you drafted save for a moment on the IL (and a higher ERA/WHIP than you wanted but I DIGRESS). Whatareyagonnado.

Rich Hill (BOS) vs TEX (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 93 pitches.

Awwwww womp womp. Hill was at his peak last time out with eleven strikeouts in seven frames and took a tumble as his heater and curveball were an absolute wreck. What a fool I was, Twitch chat was right. TWITCH CHAT WAS RIGHT. And yet, he gets the Rays next and I can’t rule out a rebound. We’ve seen the cherry and the bomb, anything is possible.

Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) vs SEA (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 92 pitches.

Blegh. I can’t say I’m shocked here as Erod didn’t look good in his first two starts despite the results. The four-seamer was coming in harder though (92.6 mph), but the changeup returned 0/9 CSW and the cutter ain’t much to look at. I’d go for other options on your wire, like Odorizzi or Steele or Lodolo or…you get the point. Like trying to spend $5 at Trader Joes, you’ll find something.


Game of the Day


Sandy Alcantara vs. Charlie Morton – Total innings between them O/U 14.5? This is why I watch baseball.

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.

One response to “Nothing Gonna Break My Strider”

  1. Super2 says:

    Strider AGA, do it.

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