Take My Love, Take My Freeland

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

(Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire)

I guess today is the day that we talk about Kyle Freeland who put up an impressive 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks line as he hosted the Athletics in Coors. If you follow these roundups, you know I’m not much of a fan. It’s now a 3.13 ERA for the year, but more importantly a 2.23 ERA across his last eight starts, half of which coming at home. The thing is, there is nothing here that looks sustainable. There’s a .257 BABIP, an 86.7% LOB rate, a 6.1% HR/FB – the holy trinity of “is this legit?” all pointing in the wrong direction. His strikeout rate in that time is under 15%, walk rate at 9%, overall whiff rate at 7%, and there’s just one number that will make someone think this is believable – a 21.2% soft contact rate with a sub 30% hard contact rate. Remember, this is all in the last eight games, where a 2.23 ERA is supported by a 5.10 SIERA. This just seems so wrong. So terribly wrong and even if you want to make the case that Freeland has the ability to overperform his DIPS numbers, we’re still looking at a 4.00 ERA in that time with a 1.21 WHIP and sub 15% strikeout rate. I want nothing to do with this TEEs who will set you up for a Grave Mistake.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Nick Pivetta6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks. Okay y’all. I want to have a legit talk with you. For everyone that has read me over the years, you’ll know that all I care about is getting things as accurate as possible moving forward. Previous emotions and ranks be damned, it’s about getting it right every Monday to best help your team. I have absolutely no idea what to do with Pivetta right now. Yeah, 5 ER hurt, but 12 strikeouts! 37/98 CSW! It would be easy for me to drop him to near #50 with his absurdly high 4.85 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, but at the same time, I’m seeing a .344 BABIP, 15.5% HR/FB, and a crazy good 22% K-BB% rate. It’s elite, ranking tenth best in all of baseball. His FIP is 3.61, his SIERA is 3.27, but those numbers don’t bake in execution and man is he making some terrible pitches. That Mason Williams home run? An atrocity of a slider that deserved to get smacked farther than my distant dreams of being a professional musician. The guy is so good for 90% of his start, but that extra 10% is filled with punishment galore and it’s killing us all. So you have a pitcher that is inches away from being a Top 20 stud the rest of the way, but is currently destroying your ratios like a Thanos snap. I don’t feel so good, Mr. Pollack. My gut is to have Pivetta around the mid-40s right behind Gibson but ahead of Arrieta/Manaea/Newcomb and the elite Toby types. There’s just too much upside to leave on the table.

Chris Sale6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace as it was ace day. Alex Fast and I talked about Sale moving to #1 on the list and you’d think that this start would make that more apparent…

Max Scherzer8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. …but not when Scherzer outright beat him. Aces gonna ace. Aces also gonna be so studly that it’s a fun battle of “THEY ARE BOTH AMAZING OKAY?”

Carlos Carrasco6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Carrasco needs a little more love on The List as he’s allowed just 4 ER in his last three starts now. He’ll get it as he earned 19 whiffs, good for a Gallows Pole. Atta boy, Cookie.

Zack Greinke7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. His ERA is now under 3.00 and this is awesome.

Clayton Kershaw7.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s wonderful to see TATIAGA in prime form. We have 6-7 legit studs these days, I should hold back Kershaw until he does it multiple times in a row, right?

Chase Anderson6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Alright, studs are out of the way, let’s get to the real talk. It’s now seven starts of a 1.93 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with a 24% K rate and 8% walk rate for Anderson. Huh. He threw under 80 pitches here and I’m still a little hesitant. Velocity is fine, curveball is still meh, and while his changeup and heater have improved, I’m not sure this is fully sustainable yet. I’d roll with it and figure it out later, but I wouldn’t center my playoff plan around Anderson.

Yovani Gallardo5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Nothing like early morning YoGa to remind us that Anything Is Possible.

Andrew Cashner6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Oh good, Cashner is making me write this positive about him. Wait, really? HA Ha ha…no. 

Lance Lynn6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Why did this become the day that all the horrible older arms that are so not worth your time decided to be beneficial for a moment? Why do you do this to me?

Marcus Stroman6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah okay. I’m amazed how Stroman has turned into a potential Grave Mistake arm and I hope it means he becomes a sturdy Toby.

Luke Weaver6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Weaver is back and didn’t walk a soul against the Cubs. This is a good thing. A very good thing. He threw his curve for strikes – though a 97.9mph EV on five BIP is horrific – and his changeup was…fine, but his heater did good work here. I’m not fully back on board, but this gets him back on The List.

Chris Archer6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. A VPQS with just 3 Ks and I’m a little disappointed. It was such a fantastic game last time out that I wanted to see that same explosive strikeout ability against the Orioles. Still, it was 17 whiffs in just 93 pitches and I’m a little surprised it didn’t turn into more. Stick with it.

Madison Bumgarner8.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. After dramatically lowering Bumgarner on Monday following a 6 walk start, he picked it up here, earning 33’/108 CSW and having a much better day with his cutter and heater. I still question if his curveball can maintain the same success it’s had thus far, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Anthony DeSclafani4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. 7 Ks are cool, but the rest reminds me of the super low floor Tony Disco is bringing this year and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.

Mike Fiers6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. A PQS from Fiers? Sure, I’ll that take. It’s Fiers guys, not Sale.

Andrew Heaney8.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, there’s a HR in here that made this ERA a bit higher than ideal, but you have to like that WHIP and 5 Ks? Sure. Heaney is in a good place these days and I’d love to continue holding him through the playoffs. Also, just 81 pitches through eight frames here. Wild.

Dallas Keuchel5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. I want better ratios from Keuchel and five strikeouts isn’t enough for me to let it slide. He’s the only Astro that hasn’t put together something magical this year and while I’m not going to do anything but keep starting him on my teams, I’m going to at least do so while complaining about it. Interesting note, Fast pointed out to me how Keuchel’s changeup has gotten a larger focus across the last month with positive results. Here? Just 7 thrown despite facing just three LHB in the Rangers lineup. Why Keuchel, WHY.

Wade LeBlanc6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. It’s a standard VPQS with six Ks from LeBlanc against the Angels. Yeah, I think I’m okay with that. 

Sean Manaea5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. There’s been a lot of debate in the community Discord server about Manaea, who will probably settle in as a Toby around a 3.60-3.70 ERA. This start seems right to me, but it was also inside of Coors, which makes me feel slightly better about Manaea given normal circumstances. It’s weird. 

Ivan Nova5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Nova is often prime for a Grave Mistake and that’s what he gave you with just one Strikeout. One K you say? HAISTFMFWT?!

Jason Vargas4.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Yep, that’s Vargas alright. No rules are going to save you.

Mike Foltynewicz5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Noooooo, but kinda yes, but mostly nooooo. That’s 18 ER in four games now and four straight of 4+ for Folty as it feels like regression is here to stay. What I will say is that 16 whiffs with his slider being dope is a wonderful thing and I think his heater/secondary pitches will catch up soon. It’s a bad period, I understand it, but I’m buying low here. That slide piece is just too good.

Pablo Lopez5.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeeggh. I’m in a rut picking streamers and Lopez was far from stellar in this one against the Nationals. Can’t say I love the guy much, can’t say I had many alternatives to choose either. Welp, put it on the board. Streaming Record: 59-37. I’m heavily doubting I can hit the lovely 100 mark with 65 days left to go. A man can dream…

Mike Montgomery5.0 IP, 5 ER, 12 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. And this is the terrible floor that was easily forgotten when he allowed just 1 ER in his first four games. I’m not saying Monty can’t help in some way this year if you pick your spots, but it’s often too much of a gamble for me to chase it.

Luis Perdomo2.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. This is the Perdomo that we know and hate. I still feel like he’s a pitch away from suddenly being a Toby, and that’s so not what you want to invest in.

Reynaldo Lopez4.1 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Sigh. This Young Gun is going through the Berrios year. I can feel it. We’ll talk in 2019.

Today’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Seattle Mariners – I don’t want to do this. Only other options are Brett Anderson vs. Coors, Lucas Giolito vs. Jays, Francisco Liriano vs. Indians, Trevor Williams vs. Mets and Trevor Richards vs. Nationals SO HERE I AM. I’m actually considering Williams as a safer play here than Barria, but I’m going for it.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Joe Musgrove vs. New York Mets – I’m tempted to go Clay Buchholz against the Padres instead, but I can buy into Musgrove having a higher floor against the poor Mets offense (yes poor, even with what they did to Kingham).

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Derek Holland vs. San Diego Padres – I love the changes he’s made and it’s the Padres.

Game of the Day

Jacob deGrom vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – It could be deGrom’s last start as a Met. And he’s also pretty dope.

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.

5 responses to “Take My Love, Take My Freeland”

  1. Drew says:

    Hey nick, when will you start to post the remaining starts for each pitcher? Found it really helpful when looking at waiver adds and also guys to trade away

  2. J says:

    Hey Nick, obviously last nights game wasn’t anything amazing but I think Stro might deserve a little more love. Since coming back from his injury he’s sporting a 3.52 FIP, 3.64 XFIP, and 3.74 SIERRA, while limiting hard contact to 28.4%. As an owner who drafted, dropped, and picked him back up I’m cautious but he’s certainly been a big help of late. Thanks as always for the great work you do.

  3. T Wrecks says:

    Ha. I never would have figured you for a ‘Firefly’ fan.

  4. theKraken says:

    I have seen a bit of Pivetta – I think you get it – he is one of those guys where the stuff is impressive but the execution is not. If a veteran pulls that routine, they slot into the middle of the top 100 but when a young guy does it we get overly excited and burned. Enthusiasm to be the first one in on the new guy is tough to sort through.
    In other news, in the MIN game last night both closers blew the save in the 9th and neither got a loss. That seems rare to me.

  5. Ansky says:

    Pivetta is ’09 and ’10 Ricky Nolasco. Cut bait.

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