Stuck In The Middle With You

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

I thought I was done leading roundups with Eduardo Rodriguez but after last night’s 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks against the Indians, I think it’s time for another chat about Eduardo. We’re excited about Eduardo. We’re not excited about Eduardo. No wait, we like him. Hold on, him? Nah. WE CAN’T MAKE UP OUR MINDS. What if, and hear me out here, what if Eduardo is simply a volatile pitcher that we can’t depend on to truly be consistent through a season? Sure, he’ll have a month of great outings (1.76 ERA from June 30 through July 22) and follow that with his recent four-game stretch of a 5.40 ERA and 1.89 WHIP.

Obviously, it’s volatility, but more specifically, his fastball has never been that overwhelming foundation for him. Eduardo’s changeup is still legit – 46% O-Swing and 19% swinging-strike rate – but without a heater to mess batters up, he can’t extract its value in full. And what does a good fastball need? A slider to pair with it to get strikes. Eduardo’s slider/cutter, whatever you want to call it has never been consistent and a strong offering. And there you have it. He’s a Cherry Bomb Toby in this way – never so bad to get off your team and has stretches that make you so happy, but in the end he’s stuck in a never-ending purgatory that screams don’t draft me louder than a questionable elbow pain in early March.

I really hope Eduardo gets that consistency at some point – you know I always root for the pitcher – and maybe he will get there. Let your leaguemates spin that wheel next year. If you own him now, you’re destined to cross your fingers and hope for the best as he’s still very likely better than what’s on your wire.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Austin Pruitt – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – This was with Diego Castillo opening and we didn’t expect Austin to last for too long – just 56 pitches here. Sadly, these AP credits just don’t carry over into your fantasy league.

Chad Green1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. The Yanks and O’s had a doubleheader, so the Yankees went bullpen heavy in Game 2. The Orioles threw Blach. 

Ty Blach4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Yes, Ty, the former Giant who had a very brief moment being fantasy relevant that one month sometime long ago. *Rocks back-and-forth in a chair* Things were different back then.

Brock Stewart – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. We were wondering if Brock would get chances to start after being acquired by the Jays at the deadline and while he opened for Neil Ramirez, he was the False Starter and gave us … whatever this line is. I don’t think heat is super effective with Brock – 1/40 whiffs on fastballs – but there’s a chance he comes into his own with his slider and changeup, and Brock is given the badge of a Toby.

Mitch Keller5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Keller returned to the bigs as our questionable Call Boy and he made it work across five frames. Streaming Record: 77-51. I watched every pitch Keller threw in this one and while the end result was 23/94 CSW, I really liked what I saw. 96+ heat that touched 98 mph at times, approach to elevate when ahead in the count, and mechanics that dictate command that overall shouldn’t induce high walk rates. Growth for more will come down the line in fine-tuning his slider and curveball, but this has the Canning/Bieber approach written all over it with a strong heater and a pair of breakers that are destined to miss bats. The biggest knock, really, is the team he plays for. They just don’t breed strikeout pitchers and encourage heavy fastball approaches that end at-bats early, for better or worse. Still, a must-own in 12-teamers and I’m throwing him out there against the Cubs.

Erick Fedde6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Not bad Fedde, you were our backup Call Boy and despite 25/102 CSW, you got through the Reds. I really don’t want to believe in you in any way moving forward – Don’t Trust The Feddes – but enjoy your Birthday Party.

Peter Lambert5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks. A game with Peter inside Coors is sending the Lambert to the slaughter.

Joey Lucchesi4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. He’s a Toby and starts like these are why he’s never going to be in the Top 40. He just doesn’t have enough in that repertoire to push him over the edge and as a two-pitch guy, there isn’t Flaherty’s slider or Lynn’s fastball to truly suggest he can make it work.

James Paxton6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. A PQS against the O’s is a little disappointing, but seven Ks fostered by 17 whiffs and a Gallows Pole is certainly acceptable. We’re not falling for Paxton likes the days of old just yet, but we’re definitely starting him against the Indians next.

Zach Plesac5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Speaking of the Indians, Plesac was far from exceptional, but this start against the Red Sox was a welcome one. His slider was plenty better than we’ve seen – 7/24 whiffs – and if only he weren’t facing Paxton in his next start. I’d hold, just wait for next week, okay?

Jose Suarez3.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeaaaaaaah. Jose it ain’t so. It definitely is so. It’s been so for a long time.

Anthony DeSclafani4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Tony Disco didn’t have his slider – the pitch that he’s been pushing hard as of late – and without a good changeup or curveball to turn to, we get this line. I won’t rule out that he can spit out a few good tunes in the next six weeks or so, but I’ll likely be lowering DeSclafani a good amount next week, especially if he doesn’t take advantage of the Cardinals on Saturday.

Merrill Kelly5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Feel free to ignore this start if you want as it was in Coors. Then we’re still left with Kelly’s 17 ER allowed in his three starts prior to this one. Yeah. Sadly, this ain’t the 90s where I’m crushing on a Kelly. Times change.

Gabriel Ynoa6.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Gabriel ain’t your angel, your darling, and definitely not the friend when you’re in need. He’s the one that makes you find friends because you NEED TO FORGET EVERYTHING HE’S DONE.

Ariel Jurado3.2 IP, 8 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. 12 baserunners in under four innings? I don’t want to be a part of this world.


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.


Brett Anderson vs. San Francisco GiantsHe defies all logic, so why not, here’s the Giants. Joe Ross was also considered on this blegh streaming day, but the Reds are kinda hot right now. Griffin Canning vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I don’t want to do Anderson or Ross and while this is a DLH to me, I’ll aim for five strong innings from Canning over the other two. Stick with Anderson if you’re gunning for a QS.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Homer Bailey vs. San Francisco Giants – I’m tempted to pick a side in the Allard vs. Reid-Foley game, but I’m leaning Bailey against the lowly Giants in spacious Oracle Park. Dillon Peters against the Pirates could work as well.



Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Devin Smeltzer vs. Texas Rangers – Yeah, he disappointed us last Friday. The Rangers, even in Arlington, are not as scary as the Indians and Smeltzer should bounce back. Adam Wainwright against the Reds could work as well, with Spencer Turnbull against the Mariners as a decent option, too.


Game of the Day


Chris Sale vs. Mike Clevinger – Over/under 20.5 strikeouts. Seriously. Greinke vs. Cease is an interesting matchup as well, Wheeler vs. Fried, Gallen inside Coors, Canning returning … SO MUCH GOOD BASEBALL.


(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/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.

6 responses to “Stuck In The Middle With You”

  1. Facenda says:

    Eduardo Rodriguez is never bad enough to get off your team? With a ratio-wrecking 4,31 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, he’s someone I’d never roster in the first place.

    • TheKraken says:

      Ratios do not matter all the time. He brings a good number of wins and ks which are thinhs worth chasing in many cases. To have a staff at a reasonable cost you have to own some players that are not elite… Or play in a 6 person league.

  2. Karl says:

    What a sad, sad night for pitching. Appreciate the call on Keller, taking that start and running with it!

  3. Jack says:

    Wheeler, Mikolas (???), Marquez, Castillo, Maeda, Canning, Gallen, A. Wood, Lamet, Nola, Heaney, Keller, and a stash of Luzardo.

    Thank you, Nick, for all your help with my team this year. And a special shout-out to the guy who dropped Aaron Friggin Nola.

  4. Mjagiel says:

    Hey Nick, appreciate your work as always. I’ve been getting frustrated with Musgrove’s inconsistency and with Keller sticking in the rotation I was wondering if you would chase that upside over Musgrove’s shaky floor?

  5. Swfcdan says:

    Got 3 top 30 rank pitchers (Zak, McKay, Soroka) I have down on my farm ready to unleash next year for $0. And the Gingergaard who’s in consideration too. Hot diggity! May decide to deal one in offseason though for help elsewhere, do you see all future potential as similar so just take the best offer for one? Does Gallen being less of a prospect make him the wiser choice?

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