Take A Lance On Me

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

We’re getting the point of the season where I’m going to have repeated pitchers leading the SP Roundup and how could I not talk about Lance Lynn who survived Boston with a 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks performance and has been something else over his last five starts – 3.45 ERA (1.42 FIP!), 1.15 WHIP, 34% strikeout rate, and 5% walk rate. Crazy crazy numbers. He’s been introducing a cutter while pulling back on sinkers – Fast and I talked about on the On The Corner Podcast last night – and it’s had a major effect of boosting his four-seamer production. The fact that he can pump four-seamers in the zone at a 65% rate – nine points above last year’s mark – while still inducing swings under half the time is remarkable. It’s more strikes with zero repercussions. So what are you supposed to do with Lynn? You’re supposed to hold and hope for the best. Do I believe he’s a stud the rest of the way? Definitely not. Do I believe that the wire will serve you better? Of course not. Chase this, chase it hard, chase it fast. So pick up Anderson? What? No. Just stick with Lynn and hope that he can get away with heaters in the zone without getting served dingers (3.6% HR/FB in those five starts), okay? Cool.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Gerson Bautista1.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Let’s skip over Bautista and go st-NO NICK! A GERSON’S A GERSON NO MATTER HOW SMALL. Don’t do this right now. Fine. Tommy Milone was the False Starter and went 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Really nice to see the strikeouts return, it’s too bad you don’t get the PQS credit, but we’ll certainly take this against the Twins. There might be some Toby-esque value here, y’all.

Cole Hamels7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Hamels is chilling with some Kaiser the way he’s been on a roll. 35/93 CSW is fantastic as he’s featuring the changeup of old, while he’s trusting his cutter to earn a ton of strikes. Three straight goose egg games with 22 innings across it. I’ve hugged Cole so much he’s turned into a diamond.

Merrill Kelly7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. So that’s three starts of 2 ER total and you’re really curious now. He had that start against the Mets when the deuce was back, then a super lucky outing against the Jays. This one against the Phils? 14/31 CSW on curveballs as the hook was back in style like it was the 90s. RU-FI-O! RU-FI-O! So that’s two of the last three where he’s feeling the pitch and now he hosts the Rockies on the road. He looks to have a two-start week with the Giants on the following Sunday and let’s go for it.

Derek Law1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. I fought the Law and got EJax. This isn’t justice. But Jackson allowed just 2 ER in 5 IP! That’s even more injustice. WHY ISN’T BASEBALL FAIR.

Jordan Yamamoto7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Well look at this, another Marlins starter making his debut and impressing us all. I watched some of this one and he was…fine. I don’t love his sub 91 mph heater, but he gets good movement on secondary pitches when he executes them and generally kept them low in the zone. I just don’t see this as a major impact play through the year, though, and if you grabbed the new guy after his first start returned this line, whispering to yourself “Hello, Moto,” I’m sorry to say that you didn’t strike gold. He’s just Fair Jordan.

Jose Berrios6.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. 22/107 changeups were thrown in this one and while it was just 3/22 CSW, 13 strikes works for me. His curveball was better, not the big whiff pitch, but confident for strikes and while he got a little Singled Out, this is fine with me. It’s not the start that really pushes Berrios up the ladder, but this is fine.

Anthony DeSclafani5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. This isn’t a pretty line, but it’s a helpful line. Streaming Record: 47-25. Houston is next so back to the wire you go. Go on, GET OUT OF HERE.

Brett Anderson6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s a 3.03 ERA with a 4.79 SIERA as you’re considering a Vargas Rule. Do it if you want, it’s such an obvious TEEs that sets you up for a Grave Mistake and I want nothing to do with it.

Shaun Anderson6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Look at that, for the second night in a row, two players with the same last name returned the same amount of ER. BASEBALL, SUZYN. This was Anderson’s fourth 2 ER game in six starts and I’m seeing Dereck Rodriguez 2.0 here. Is that a good thing? Bad thing? It’s a streaming option thing. That’s it.

Yonny Chirinos6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. With a secure spot as a real starter and no strings to hold him down, Chirinos has averaged over 6 IPS with a 2.22 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 28% strikeout rate, facing three tough teams lately in the Twins, Sawx, and A’s. That’s pretty dang impressive. I’m not incredibly enamored by his repertoire consisting of a splitter that goes in-and-out while missing a pitch he can confidently elevate, but a 96mph two-seamer that is spotting corners and a whiff heavy slider do just fine. You’ll see him rise a bit in the ranks to around #50 (or maybe a little higher?), but I think he’s a little too volatile for me to consider a rise to Top 30/40. Prove me wrong, Chirinos. Prove me wrong.

Danny Duffy7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Duffy got the Tigers and finally took proper advantage of a good matchup. Am I seeing enough to make me consider him moving forward? Sadly not with 29/99 CSW, but his curveball was good and that’s a cool thing. I should also mention that his last two starts have been the highest velocity outings of the year, though it didn’t do much for him against the Sawx. Maybe there’s something there, but it’s too early to chance it.

Zach Eflin8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Whoa, Eflin, you’re not supposed to strike out guys, didn’t anyone tell you? I’m amazed he collected nine strikeouts and survived eight frames on just 82 pitches and 10 whiffs, but the man threw a ton of strikes and didn’t get burned by it. While I’m totally down to own Eflin, this is a weird start that will not get repeated. He’s still a two-pitch guy without the slider acting as a big whiff pitch (4/30 here).

Joey Lucchesi6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Sure, I’ll take this lovely start, Lucchesi. He’s recovered a bit from a bumpy start to the year, with a 3.22 ERA and strikeout per inning across his last six outings. I don’t see a reason to stop letting him fly.

Daniel Norris5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, Norris did good work! 31/91 CSW is strong, his changeup returned 17/20 strikes…but his fastball sat at 90.5 mph and I’m not seeing enough to think this is real as he faced…yeah. Blame it on the Royals.

Rick Porcello6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. The Thief had himself a solid game despite facing top-ten-offense-even-on-the-road Rangers and allowing 12 ER across his last three starts. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, but at least it gives hints that he can be that Toby you need him to be.

Justin Verlander7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 15 Ks. Aces gonna ace. This was unreal. Look at that line. Realize that he had the MLB record of 20 strikeouts in his reach as he threw exactly 100 pitches in this one. That Eric Thames home run was stupid and annoying and I can even feel Verlander smirk internally as it went out. 43% CSW with 29 whiffs (Gallows Pole, ya think?) and a lovely Blake Snell Blueprint where we could draw a line down the middle and see red above with blue and yellow below. He’s so good y’all. So good.

Brandon Woodruff7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Woodruff went up against Verlander and it was just a fantastic game. An inning of two-out hits was the only blemish of the evening for Woodruff, though earning just one whiff on 32 changeups and sliders is a little concerning long term. Fortunately his heaters were great n all, but for those wondering if this was the start to solidify Woodruff inside the Top 30, I’m sorry to disappoint. Still, start him with confidence, y’all.

David Hess4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. For disappointment this year, the Hess Truck’s here!

Zach Plesac5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Stupid longballs ruining everything. I guess it’s not entirely shocking given what I’ve discussed about Plesac thus far, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for Plesac to force my hand of raising him on The List each week. At the very least, you got six Ks to salvage and that WHIP isn’t so bad. He heads to Texas next and I’m a little worried, but he’s looking a bit like a Cherry Bomb and that means it’s your coin to flip.

Miles Mikolas5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I saw the line. I saw the 86.7 mph slider. I saw the matchup against the Marlins. I said I was out…and I think I still am (if a guy can’t handle the Marlins, how can you trust him?). Then there’s a part of me that sees hope. 35% CSW in this start. The Garrett Cooper HR was on a legit good two-seamer off the plate inside. His curveball was kinda dope. But nah, I won’t get suckered in. Velocity was also down on his heater to sub 93 mph levels and it’s just too much of a rollercoaster. It’s such a pity, I was buying into the idea that he was turning the corner just two weeks ago and now this is what we have. Bleeeeeegh.

Mike Soroka5.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. So he is human. The one problem with Soroka is that when his fastball command is off, his low velocity does little to mask his mistake pitches. It’s really sad, his ERA is now so inflated at 1.92. Pity. Pity.

Mitch Keller3.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Awwww this is disappointing. Keller hinted promise in his debut outing after floundering early and this…this was bad. Maybe it’s still a jitters thing for him. Maybe the Pirates don’t send him back down and let him figure it out. If he stays up, I’m picking up Keller and seeing how it plays out. There’s plenty more talent here than this line tells you.

Antonio Senzatela4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. He has, what, a month left before Kyle Freeland displaces him? Do you think Antonio knows this? He has a sixth Senz about these things. Boooooooo. Ah, so you were at his game yesterday?


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.


Michael Pineda vs. Seattle Mariners – Pineda’s fastball velocity was 94/95 suddenly in his first start back from the IL. There might be something to that.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tyler Mahle vs. Texas Rangers – I can’t do Trevor Richardsso I’ll go with Mahle hosting the Rangers.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Framber Valdez vs. Toronto Blue Jays – He’s currently sitting at 17% and it’s a solid matchup for Framber. I’d also consider Pablo Lopez against the Pittsburgh Pirates.


Game of the Day 


Jacob deGrom vs. Jack Flaherty – Unlike what baseball thinks, I want no runs scored.


(Photo by John Bunch/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.

13 responses to “Take A Lance On Me”

  1. Nicholas Hall says:

    Can I get a guesstimate on what you think Joe Musgrove’s line looks like today? Really having a hard time deciding if I should start him…

  2. Gallen says:

    The Marlins have had every opp to recall Gallen, but continue to skip over him. Is Gallen really worth holding? Or is he looking more like a Sept call-up?

  3. D says:

    Time to give up on Freeland in a dynasty or hold hoping he can get useful again?

    06/06/2019 @OMA 0 1 7.20 0 5.0 9 4 2 2
    06/12/2019 OKC 0 1 10.13 0 5.2 8 8 5 5

    Also, is Merrill Kelly an add now?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Depends how deep the dynasty league is, but I’d imagine there are other players to chase over Freeland.

      Kelly is an add as a two-start options for next week.

  4. Joe says:

    I disagree with your streaming record. DeSclefani didn’t even get a quality start and with 2 strikeouts to boot it doesn’t do much for fantasy…

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m a little surprised to hear that as allowing just 1 ER and a near 1.00 WHIP helps any owner who streamed him.

      Definitely too bad he didn’t get the win or more strikeouts, but he only helped and didn’t hurt.

      • J says:

        As someone who streamed him, it definitely gave my ratios a nice little boost. There wasn’t really anyone else on the wire who I expected to have a greater return on that anyways.

  5. Alex says:

    Hey Nick, this is not necessarily a question or for fantasy purposes, I just want a hot take. Milone was surprisingly cruising until his last inning … using 58% changeups. Milone’s always liked to use his slowball and pitch usage fluctuates game-to-game, but this was the first game in a while that I’ve seen such heavy reliance on the changeup.

  6. Perfect Game says:

    I have an offer of Giolito for my Corbin. I’m thinking of taking it. Giolito’s peripherals are much better and he’s been consistent all year. What would you do? I’m in a standard roto league using QS not wins.

  7. Clint says:

    Keller had some bad calls and bad luck early and it got in his head … showed some good stuff again.

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