Johnny Blue Times

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Sunday 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.  

Johnny Cueto (CWS) @ OAK (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

It’s been one h*ck of a season for Johnny Cuetocarrying a sparkling 2.87 ERA entering Sunday’s contest against the Athletics but the magic wasn’t there, stumbling to the tune of 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches and a Loss. The high amount of hits aren’t new (1.18 WHIP on the year), but this seemed a bit like overkill, and honestly, what we initially expected from Cueto when he showed up earlier this year.

And that’s the tough part here. We all know the wheels are destined to fall off, is this the beginning of the end? He’s fresh off a streak of 1 ER or fewer in four of his last five and it’s possible all the hung pitches today were just one of those days. At the very least, you have to trust him against the Tigers next time out.

But let’s say Cueto falters there, too. Be ready to possibly cut bait with the Guardians + Twins twice to end his season. Look, it’s been a wonderful ride, but he’s 118th in the majors in Hard Contact allowed (27.8%) and that 15% strikeout rate isn’t helping a whole lot – we know this isn’t meant to last forever. You’re here just for that ERA as the good times roll and if that isn’t working, what’s the point? I’m not saying it’s definitely gone now, just don’t be blind to the good fortune disappearing when your season matters most.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:


Brady Singer (KC) vs DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 88 pitches.

That’s a King Cole for Singer against the Tigers…which is exactly what he should do. It’s been a rough few weeks and it’s good to see him step up when he should. Now he gets the Red Sox and I’m inclined to call it a Cherry Bomb given the recent track record. I think you start him, but it’s making me a bit uncomfortable. Good luck, y’all.

Mitch Keller (PIT) vs STL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Hmmmmm. Just 3/39 whiffs on breakers, but the curve went 64% strikes as the four-seamer…well, it earned a few whiffs but held just a 56% strike rate. Yeah, guys I just can’t buy into this, I’m sorry. It’s just too dang pedestrian and hey, the Mets are next. Surely he can’t continue this, right?

Rich Hill (BOS) @ BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 77 pitches.

He’s a Cherry Bomb in every way and on a desperate Sunday, I’m glad for those who needed it. Sure, it could work against the Royals next, too…or it could be like his previous two starts. Up to you, too risky for my blood.

Aaron Nola (PHI) vs WSH (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 44 pitches.

Aces gonna have his start ruined by a rain delay. Nola days need to have half-days, too. Okay, fine. Everyone should have summer Fridays.

John Brebbia (SF) @ CHC (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 17 pitches.

Ah yes, nothing like a bullpen game on national TV. Ahhhh. Baseball.

Domingo Germán (NYY) vs TB (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 14 pitches.

So I think I get it. The Yankees went with a bullpen game and figured that since they’re skipping Germán in the rotation – two off-days this week – they’ll use him on short rest for his normal bullpen in-between. I guess that works, but just fourteen pitches? Really?! Whatever, you can start him against the Brewers later this week. He won’t need to get his pitch count up or anything.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) @ MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 87 pitches.

Ahhhhh lovely. Pirates Shmirates, way to take down the Marlins as you should. Now you get…the Shmirates. Please take care of business, okay? Thanks.

Kyle Bradish (BAL) vs BOS (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 93 pitches.

Oh heeeeyyyy Bradish. You know what’s really frustrating? There’s a chance the Orioles are going four-man with their two off days, which means Bradish would miss both Natty Lite and the Tigers and get the Jays + Astros + Boston  + Yanks to end the year. OH COME ON. Even seeing the Red Sox again is not something I’d enjoy – that’s just three strikeouts, y’all – with his changeup and four-seamer still being a bit questionable for me. Monitor this – if he gets the Tigers, then sign me up. If it’s the Jays, I’m very much out.

Shane Bieber (CLE) @ MIN (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That’s another start of Bieber pulling back on breakers (25% total usage) and instead favoring the cutter (26% usage). I’m glad it’s working, it just…peculiar. A 24% SwStr rate on sliders + curves should dictate more usage, you know? But so is the cutter at 6/26 whiffs. Okay, that’s a fair point. The man has tools to do what he likes, maybe not 50% four-seamers then? But the line was excellent against a solid Twins lineup. OKAY FINE I’LL STOP.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

Props to Marco for surviving a tough Atlanta start here. I think you’re safe against the Angels next…? Nah, he’s still a shrug each time and it could go either way. Up to you – if you need a guy who could go six frames, go for it. If you need to chase ratios….eh.

Martín Pérez (TEX) vs TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 97 pitches.

Unlike Cueto, the magic is STILL HERE. His command was far better in this one, with few cutters and sinkers falling to the middle of the plate, while the changeup stayed armside-and-down per usual. Now you have a pair of easier decisions against the Rays and Angels and we’re going for it. He earned this one.

José Quintana (STL) @ PIT (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.

It’s not flashy, but it gets the job done. Save for the lack of Win – am I really not appreciating Quintana enough? No, it’s the children who are wrong – and you’re gonna shrug that off and enjoy the Reds up next. Keep on keepin’ on.

Wade Miley (CHC) vs SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 75 pitches.

Ayyyy it worked! And now he gets Rockie Road + the Pirates. I’m all for it as he’s getting stretched out, the changeup and cutter are working, and he even earned 57% CSW on his four-seamer. He’s flipping the script on his September curse and I’M HERE FOR IT.

Andrew Heaney (LAD) @ SD (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 74 pitches.

That’s how you redeem yourself. Excellent slider and four-seamer separation and he even earned 57% CSW on seven changeups. Start the man without fear.

Aníbal Sánchez (WSH) @ PHI (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 46 pitches.

Stupid rain, I wanted to see if Aníbal could continue to squirm out of jams without earning strikeouts. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!

Trevor Richards (TOR) @ TEX (L) – 0.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 26 pitches.

The Jays went “loose” bullpen with Yusei Kikuchi showing up for 43 pitches, but yeah, let’s just move on. Sorry for the tough “start”, Richards. Your changeup is still kinda nice!

Cole Irvin (OAK) vs CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

Great job Irvin. Props to you if you trust him, now I dare you to do it against the Astros and Mets. No? I’m shocked.

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Woodruff has played with our emotions a decent amount this year, but I do wonder if he’ll ride off into the sunset of this season and make everyone forget about it by March. I’m not sure where I stand yet, fortunately I have about four months to decide.

Josh Winder (MIN) vs CLE (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

Hey that’s pretty solid from Winder, who may be stealing a spot in the rotation with both Mahle and Archer down for a good while. The four-seamer did most of the work here and while it is a great schedule ahead (@CLE, LAA, @DET), I’m not sure I trust him yet. Keep a watchful eye.

Zac Gallen (ARI) @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. So the scoreless inning streak ended via a rough fourth frame, but he did everything else beautifully, earning a whopping 42% CSW and 9/33 whiffs on his curveball, en route to a Gallows PoleHow could you not be a Gallen Gal?

Luis Garcia (HOU) vs LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

Ehhhhhh at least he got a Win. He’s relying on the curve once again and it’s befuddling me – 62% strikes, 1/21 whiffs – especially when the cutter went 75% strikes and 50% CSW. USE THAT MORE. I’m confused and we keep starting him with a start against Oakland. You got this, Garcia. You got this.

Joe Musgrove (SD) vs LAD (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 77 pitches.

Womp womp. He looked good through four, then allowed 2 ER in each of the fifth and sixth, but at least the slider and curve were back to normal. You’ll get some respite with the Sneks next before, well, you know, Coors + LAD after. Sigh. It’s not fun being a Musgrove manager right now.

Tyler Alexander (DET) @ KC (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 68 pitches.

You’re going to be short-handed if you roster T-Lex.

Jake Odorizzi (ATL) @ SEA (ND) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 71 pitches.

Blegh. This wasn’t the start to chase with Odorizzi coming back from arm fatigue + facing a good Mariners offense. He’ll get the Phillies twice now and I’m not sure I want to go for that first one, though I did like his command here – just a small tweak should be fine. That’s a coin flip for me.

Ryan Feltner (COL) vs ARI (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 70 pitches.

Feltner has limited upside, pitches his home games at Coors Field, and doesn’t deserve a spot on your team. This should be the blurb for every Colorado starter.

Tucker Davidson (LAA) @ HOU (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 46 pitches.

There were many TD celebrations today, just not in Minute Maid Park.

Jesús Luzardo (MIA) vs NYM (L) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 91 pitches.

Blegh. After his stellar game against the Phils, I thought Luzardo would have it working here. Instead, his curve and changeup were often spiked or floated and it was a disaster. At least the heaters were 96+ for once? Good news here is Natty Lite + the Cubs are up next and those should be cake walks. Let’s forget about this one.

Justin Dunn (CIN) @ MIL (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 75 pitches.

I was in a league where someone started Justin. WHAT?! WHO DUNN IT?! I’m so sorry everyone. At least I saved it for the end.

Luis Patiño (TB) @ NYY (L) – 1.1 IP, 9 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 11% CSW, 70 pitches.

Womp womp. He’s a Young GunWe’ll talk next year.


Game of the Day 

Jon Gray vs. Braxton Garrett – It’s a double-return for IL starting pitchers – The stillest illest of all games.

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 Frank Jansky/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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login