Struggling To The Max

Old roundup.

When are we going to see the Max Scherzer we know and love?  Not today after he went 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks on Friday, albeit against the Cubs.  That puts him with a 4.60 ERA with a 3.14 BB/9 for the year, which is not encouraging.  Sure, his soft contact is excellent at 27.1% and his xFIP tells a better story at 3.74, but I’m a bit worried.  He’s getting less sink on his Fastball –> fewer whiffs and more contact. That’s his money pitch and if he’s playing on a rough foundation, he can’t get his footing.  He’s also throwing his Changeup less in the zone but inducing more contact (same O-Contact, though), which tells me he’s either missing off the plate or leaving it up.  It’s not the recipe for success we’re used to from Max, though I do believe he will fix it at some point.  Just can’t really tell when at this point.  Sell high if someone is paying top dollar, and I’d rather hold it out instead of selling at a discount.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Cole Hamels – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks.  You know, I’m not sure I should be so high on Hamels, even after this start against the Tigers.  His xFIP is 3.88 with a horrific BB/9 of 4.14 that has been a consistent problem is all of his starts. He is getting a bunch of grounders – 51.1% – and I still like him, but he’s at the #20 mark right now and I’m not sure I should have him there.

Danny Salazar – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks.  Maybe Salazar should takes Hamels place?  Ehh, it’s tough doing that to a guy who always has walk problems and was the reason the term Cherry Bomb became a thing as I’m always petrified he’ll blow up in your face, no matter how sweet he is.

John Lackey – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. It’s like some nights Lackey just says “ahh screw it” and decides to strikeout a ton of batters.  FYI, this start came after a 2 strikeout outing.  That’s not totally perplexing and annoying at all.  Keep rolling with Lackey if you have him, though I wouldn’t be aggressive in trading for him.

Francisco Liriano – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks.  Be careful y’all, 5 ER with 6 walks is just around the corner.

Drew Pomeranz – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. The Dirty Cheerleader has stumbled during his routine just once this year, and his K% sits just under 30% right now.  The drawback is that he isn’t going deep into games (averaging 5 2/3 IP per start) and he isn’t going to a dub hog on the Padres.  Oh and his 4.24 BB/9 that should bite him in the near future.  Dang I really want to like Pom Pom, but that 3.67 xFIP, 32.5% hard hit rate, and affinity for walks are making me more cautious than I’d like.

Chris Archer – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks.  Yes, he’s totally fine now guys.  Stop treating him as a buy low.

Kenta Maeda – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Look at Maeda, holding down the Blue Jays with style.  And by style I mean walking four batters so they can’t hit it out of the park.  It’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for em.  What are you talking about, we know how it played out.  Look at that line of 1.00 WHIP, over a K per inning and a 3.00 ERA.

Marcus Stroman – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. He now has 17 Ks in the last two outings.  Stroman is looking mighty sharp guys and it’s time to get back on the Stroman train.  CHOO CHOO.

Madison Bumgarner – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks.  Still worried about his foot?  Aces gonna ace.

Jordan Zimmermann – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Hmmmm, I’m still selling high on JZ where I can, but remember, his schedule is super relaxed in the first half and he could churn out QS after QS like it’s his J-O-B.  Which it is, but you get my point.

Zack Greinke – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks.  Aces gonna ace.  It’s good to have you back Greinke.

Rick Porcello – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s not terrible, but it’s not a line that gets you excited like that time Tracy said yes when you asked her out.  But more exciting than how that first date went.  :(

Tim Adleman – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Our fake Call Boy actually did okay.  Kinda.  Sure a 1.40 WHIP isn’t good, but everything else checks out.  Kinda.  Okay, no QS, but he got the Win!  That’s one hell of a return for a gambling man.  No, I’m not a fan for the long term.

Doug Fister – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks.  Ah yes, the Grave Mistake.  

Noah Syndergaard – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks.  It’s far from what we were expecting with Thor against the Padres, and I’m disappointed.  I mean, yeah I obviously knew he wouldn’t go 10 Ks in 7 IP with 1 ER and 0 BBs every time out, but when you’re in love you forget about these things.

Michael Pineda – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Pineda allowed a 2 run shot in the first and we all thought “Oh here we go”.  Then he didn’t allow another run the entire game.  I feel like it’s going to be a symbolic representation of Pineda’s 2016.  Or he could continue to fizzle out, but I like where this is going.

Vincent Velasquez – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Boy he has slowed down, eh? He hasn’t had a start without a significant blemish since his unreal start against the Padres.  I’m totally selling at this point.  He’s averaged just about 5 Ks a game since and his peripherals are all out of whack due to that one outing.  Mixed with his inevitable shutdown, and I’d see if I can get a significant bat or a more stable starter for the kid.

Taijuan Walker – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks.  Taijuan left the game after decreased velocity with what they are saying is a “neck spasm”.  Uh huh.  This isn’t good at all, and I’m a bit worried they are hiding something worse.  Or it could be nothing.  At any rate, James Paxton would get the call if Walker misses time.

Carlos Martinez – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks.  Oh, and now Cmart left with “fatigue” and will be re-evaluated today.  Welp, so much for him.  Looks like Cueto is gonna hint at Top 20 sooner than expected…

Aaron Blair – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks.  He’s pretty dang boring right now and not a guy to chase for upside.

Mat Latos – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh.  Color me not surprised.  What color is that?  I dunno, grey?  Or is it Gray?  How about pink?  That’s like the least surprised of colors.  If I had to rank the colors of the rainbow from “least surprising to most surprising”, pink would be at the deep end, which is where you have to be to trust Latos at this point.  Ohhhh nice segway.  

Chad Bettis – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Bettis 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.

Tyler Cravy – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Hey Nick!  Cravy’s back! Why are you excited about this?  I don’t know!

Ricky Nolasco – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Look at Nolasco, really keeping up those April numbers.

Yordano Ventura – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks.  If you can’t start a guy against the Indians, what is he doing on your roster?  Ventura is part of the PEAS family – Poor Execution, Awesome Stuff – and definitely droppable.

Wei-Yin Chen – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Chen, you’re supposed to make easy work of the NL Easy, why are you doing this against the Phils?

Cory Rasmus – 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Since G.Rich went down, he was replaced with Rasmus, who has no reason to be on any staff.  Sorry kiddo.

Today’s Streamers

Brandon Finnegan vs. Milwaukee Brewers – I’m not much of a fan of Finnegan, but he can be productive and possibly escape with a win against the Brew Crew.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tyler Duffey vs. Chicago White Sox – It’s actually happening today after getting pushed back. Finally I can stream him and his luscious deuce.

Game of the Day

Chris Sale vs. Minnesota Twins – The Twinkies were the bane of Sale’s existence last year like the snack was against urban mothers.  I’m curious if the trend continues this year.

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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