Stick to Your Shane

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Sunday's games.

Y’all want to talk about Shane Bieber. So fine, I’ll talk about him after another complete game via 9.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks against the Angels. Thirty seven-of-107 CSW is lovely with a ton of breakers to earn strikes and whiffs, while his heater avoided the middle of the zone often despite pumping strikes with all his pitches. The man is locked in—2.50 ERA (1.95 FIP!), 32% strikeout rate, and 0.82 WHIP over his last 10 starts—and deserves my love today on The List. But how far is he rising? I’m very tempted to stick him at No. 10, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with it. Those wondering about innings limits shouldn’t—he could throw 220 this year and be completely fine, as he threw 194.1 last year—and while there will likely be some small step back, the way he’s using his curveball and slider to nullify his often hittable heater is simply wonderful. He’ll still be hit hard a good amount, but that’s OK. This should be a fun end of the year.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Sonny Gray7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Gray’s outing really hinged on breakers here—41 sliders and 18 curveballs for 50% of his pitches!—and it paid off against the Braves. He’s feeling the secondary stuff, and when Gray is doing that, it’s Sonny skies ahead. I don’t care that it’s the Cubs next; we’re starting him.

Devin Smeltzer6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The Smeltz Dealtz it. Just 21-of-90 CSW, but his changeup kept batters off balance well, and he took advantage of a start against the Royals with Pineda on the IL. I’m a little worried about the improved Cleveland offense next, but I can see someone taking a chance on it next weekend. This could pay off well across the next month. I’m down to pick him up now if you have the spot.

Yonny Chirinos5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Yonny was cruising here until finger inflammation forced him to leave the game. It’s too bad, because he could have wrecked the Marlins for another few innings, easily. No IL stint is likely coming; let’s hope he makes his next start against the Mariners.

Yu Darvish5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Mmmmmm, 94-95 velocity and good fastball command, 14 sliders for good measure, and a whole lot of cutters that are doing oh so much work for Darvish. I’m a little annoyed he had 93 pitches through just five, but he’s really come around in the last two months. And everyone rejoiced.

Sean Reid-Foley4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Sure, just one earned run, but SRF really didn’t take advantage of his start against the O’s, with just 16-of-81 CSW and a failure to use his slider effectively—0-of-21 on whiffs! I think there is something innately here for him, but I’d rather just wait for it to happen and jump then, as no one is paying any attention here.

Tanner Roark5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Roark made his first start for the A’s and rewarded their purchase with this solid line. It took him 109 pitches, though, and while he could be a Toby the rest of the way, facing the Cardinals in spacious O.Co did him plenty of favors. 

Caleb Smith5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna almost ace. Love the separation between his changeup and fastball, but his slider earned just two whiffs and he didn’t command it well. Just 90.9 mph on his fastball for the second straight start after he sat 91-92 across his previous four games. That’s slightly worrisome, but not enough for me to think he’s running out of gas. Here’s to a more strikeout-heavy game next time against the Braves.

Noah Syndergaard7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. On one hand, I LOVE that Thor is finally throwing up in the zone. I don’t like that his slider and curveball struggled to find the bottom, with that slider earning just 1-of-17 whiffs. But hey, this is a step in the right direction, and Thor is creeping back up The List. Slowly.

Justin Verlander6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace, earning 16 whiffs and a Gallows Pole. Yeah, he’s No. 1.

Kyle Freeland5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Freeland went essentially two-pitch in Coors against the Giants, and it worked. Do I love it? Not really, but 92 mph is a little better for Freeland, and he went 12-of-35 CSW with sliders—I’ll take that. He’s still an avoid given the floor, but a nice step in the right direction.

Brad Keller7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Keller got the Twins and took them for a ride. TAKE ME FOR A RIDE. Please don’t get that stuck in my head on loop forever. PLEASE. Anyway, Keller’s velocity is still up above 95 mph (closer to 96, even!), and I’m still in, even if he’s still struggling with his slider just a little bit. His heaters are doing good work, and this start against the mighty Twins should give you confidence moving forward.

Tommy Milone – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey look, his Ks are back! And this was actually a good outing even though he faced the Astros! He may get the Rays next, and I think I’m sitting that out, regardless of this outing. I’m not buying the strikeout resurgence.

Pedro Payano4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Ehhhh, it’s not deep enough to give you anything you really want. Streaming Record: 70-50. And now the Brewers? Yeah, no. Force us to come back, Pedro. Please.

Jaime Barria3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Barria threw 89 pitches to get these 11 outs and returned just 26% CSW. Blegh. Maybe one day he’ll become The Great Barria Reef, but right now, he’s acting like that floating piece of Earth’s magnificent architecture that you feel sad has lost its way.

Taylor Clarke5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. So I still like Clarke’s slider, but like being a rocket scientist, the rest of his weapons aren’t me impressing much. UH HUH YEAH YEAH. Too bad he gets the Dodgers next, as I’d think of Clarke as a very sneaky streamer if he’s getting opportunities moving forward.

Reynaldo Lopez5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Another start, another game of Reynaldo moving away from 97 mph, as he fell to 96. That’s still better than the 95-and-change we saw before, though, while his slider and changeup were…OK. It was an all-around meh outing, and now with Oakland and Houston next, I’m definitely looking to see what else is on the wire. There was hype and momentum for ReyLo, but it’s slowing down, and we all know what that floor is when this train stops.

Julio Teheran5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks. His fastball command was super poor in this one, as he threw a ton of thigh-high pitches and missed plenty. Just 19-of-86 CSW, while his slider isn’t close to what it used to be. I’m so down to sell. Keep riding him if you must, but that pristine ERA could fall under 4.00 in a hurry.

Adam Wainwright5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. We saw 30-of-99 CSW here as Waino’s cutter and curveballs returned—THANKS—but he served us a Philly, barely missing that VPQS against the A’s. I can buy that the cutter/curveball returning like this could carry over into the Pirates next time. Don’t love it, but that could work.

J.A. Happ5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Happ returned from paternity leave and faced the Sawx. Welcome back, kid. Well he’s not a kid—maybe a little bit of a babyface and now he has a kid, but anyway, I’m reserving judgment on this one given the circumstances. He’s just a Toby.

Adrian Houser5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I just don’t see enough in Houser’s repertoire to get excited about him and I can imagine him losing his job eventually to other options in the pen. Yeah, but would you enjoy Adrian in league with a Houser and a Mouser? What even is this. So that’s a no. Sure. No.

Tom Eshelman – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Really great win here for Eshelledman. Really earned it, took full advantage of that opener and just soared, you know?

Jordan Zimmermann6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Oh come off it Jay-Z. We know you’re not a seven-strikeout guy anymore. Enjoy the Birthday Party, but don’t keep texting me on Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday to see what I’m doing this weekend. We’re not hanging out, man. I gave it to you straight already.

Tyler Beede3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Yikes. Zero whiffs on 20 sliders, just one curveball thrown, and overall ineffectiveness from Beede in Coors. It was a clear sit, but still. Maybe I’d consider a desperate stream against the Phils, but I’d rather be safe and sit that out til I see the skills return.

Patrick Corbin5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Corbin, you’ve looked so good recently and then you serve us this? HOW DARE YOU. Whatever, just do good things against the Mets, OK? OK.

Kenta Maeda2.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. Maeda allowed a grand slam in the second frame and was pulled after throwing 61 pitches in getting just eight outs. He’s still in the rotation n all, and while the man has failed to go five frames since July 12, I really do think you should stick with Maeda. His stuff is too good and deserves your faith week to week. Roberts confirmed he’s still in the rotation n all, so let him fly.

Drew Smyly5.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. A poor second frame did Smyly in here, but overall he pitched well, earning 31% CSW with well-placed cutters and high heaters. The deuce wasn’t as vicious as we seen, but it earned strikes as well. Yes, that ERA hurts, but I saw enough here to keep him going for his next start against the Giants.

Chris Paddack4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. He deserved a better fate with three earned runs coming off two homers in the second inning and the fourth collapsing on him as well. As far as how he pitched, Paddack looked solid with great heaters and low changeups—just a few that didn’t work out. With his expected innings limit and not the best run he’s ever had, I imagine he has a low price, but those looking to make that push toward the playoffs may want to consider buying him now. Not a bad schedule, and if he’s on a locked playoff team, this could work for both parties.

David Price2.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Stupid Yankees, ruining all of the good Boston pitchers. Price had paternity leave, and it certainly got him out of rhythm here. I’m still 100% buying the rest of the way. Just act like this didn’t happen.

Joe Musgrove3.1 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. We had already begun the annexation of Musgrove from our teams, but now it’s in full force as this is…unholy. He left pitches over the middle of the plate, and they got laced. He put up 25% CSW and had nothing really in his back pocket to save him, and we’re at the valley of the tale. It could be more of the same the rest of the way; it could be a resurgence in the final month. I’m not going to chase it—I don’t think sustainable upside is something we’ll see this year—though, we’ve seen plenty of games like this followed by a good ole outing. Probably not here, but this is baseball, and BASEBALL IS WEIRD. Anyway, drop, recoup, conquer. Is that a phrase? Sure, why not.


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


Adam Civale vs. Texas Rangers – He’s back in the majors, and this could work out well for Civale.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Dylan Cease vs. Detroit Tigers – He looked solid against the Mets last time out, and the Tigers are weaker.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Ivan Nova vs. Detroit Tigers – I obviously don’t think too highly of the Tigers offense if I’m willing to chase a Super Nova…


Game of the Day 


Jacob deGrom vs. Miami Marlins – Here’s to a game of PURE DOMINATION!


(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

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.

3 responses to “Stick to Your Shane”

  1. Doug says:

    ReyLo was hitting 97 at times, even if he didn’t average it throughout. He could reach back for it when he wanted it though. Maybe he was pitching to the scoreboard after the 5-run 2nd?

  2. Gina says:

    Plesac, Reynaldo or Smeltzer for the ROS?

  3. Tom Whalen says:

    More like deGROMINATION? Missed opportunity.

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