Taking Lito Steps Forward

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

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

I’ve been a bit intrigued with Lucas Giolito over the past month and if you remember last week, I talked about how he didn’t pitch nearly as badly as a 6 ER game would look. Last night he produced a 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks line against the Tigers and I’m getting super curious. It’s a VPQS, which is still not good, but there are some things to point out. First, his fastball velocity was the second hardest it has been all season at 93.7mph, about 1.5 ticks higher than his season average. He’s been trending up over the past two months after a slow start and I’m wondering if he’s making the right tweaks. Speaking of tweaks, he threw over 15% curveballs in this one for just the second time and it worked, leading to 12/15 thrown for strikes. This is big. Seriously, the pitch itself is massive but the fact that he’s actually getting it inside the zone + landing right below it while not floating it up, or ending well inside/outside or always scraping the dirt is an enormous step forward. Pair that with 34/99 CSW as his changeup killed it with 17/27 SNIP and we may have something here. Sure, Blame it on the Tigers but I expected nothing out of Giolito after his horrific start to the year and we’re suddenly seeing him climb the stairs. Keep note.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Jhoulys Chacin7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Chacin, this is stupid. It’s coming off two three-strikeout games, your ERA is 3.72 and that works, but even with this start it’s a sub 20% K rate. Blegh. He should be started in 12-teamers but I’m not seeing anything here that is sustainable for me to go and proclaim him dope or anything.

J. A. Happ7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Four walks are dumb and you want more than four strikeouts, but why am I complaining? That’s a lovely dub, ERA, and WHIP. Be thrilled to own Happ.

Andrew Suarez6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Suarez, along with Ryu, was one of the last ones out of The List this past week as he allowed at least 3 ER in each of his previous five starts, with just one game above five strikeouts in his last nine starts. This is obviously better, though you know me and I hate seeing a 5% overall whiff rate. Sure, 30/99 CSW because of a ton of called strikes, but especially when the average Exit Velocity was 89mph on the night…it just doesn’t add up to a dominating pitcher.

Jaime Barria5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Barria got the Padres and Barria got me another streaming victory. Streaming Record: 72-39. Don’t overthink this, I think he’s just a streamer or one of your two-start options for this week as he gets the Rangers next. I think I’m cool with that one.

John Gant5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Just three starts of six frames in eleven starts for Gant and that’s part of the problem for my endorsement, but I can understand going with him in a deeper 12-teamer as he’s not so terrible. There is a bad floor down there and this 11% walk rate with a split-change as his major weapon isn’t going anywhere.

Corey Kluber7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Just don’t walk Billy Hamilton for the love of Pete Rose, okay?

German Marquez7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. And now it’s a 2.91 ERA, 30% K rate, 6% walk rate, and 1.01 WHIP over his last eight starts. This was the Astros, though they are still hurting a bit and are not the strong offense that started the year. Essentially, you should be owning Marquez and running with him until he slows down.

James Paxton0.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Paxton took a liner off his forearm and was quickly pulled from the game. X-Rays were negative, I’d imagine he misses one start from this. We dodged a bullet here, even if he didn’t dodge a ball.

Nick Pivetta6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I will admit, I didn’t start Pivetta. I know, I know, when he’s on, he’s on regardless of the opponent! Kinda. I think that idea is a little skewed by some batters punishing him with mistake pitches and others not. He’s had incredible CSW numbers through the year and still had bad results, like 4 ER against the Padres that was just not deserved. Or 5 ER against the Reds, etc. Yes, he’s had some bad days and he got wrecked for it, but I honestly think he hasn’t been any more “inconsistent” than the hefty majority of pitchers. He gets the Mets next – that’s awesome – and I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be able to get him outside the Top 150 in next year’s draft. So much for me easily getting him in all leagues.

Rick Porcello7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Leave it to Porcello to go 1 ER, 0 BBs, 9 Ks, then 7 ER, 3 BBs, 5 Ks, and now this gem against the Phils. The Thief is one of those arms I think you take the bad with the good, especially when he’s boasting a 15-5 record for simply being on the Red Sox. Keep on keeping on.

Alex Wood5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. It was a DLH and Wood didn’t care. At least he has a rotation spot…He’s in the middle ground of a sturdy #3/4, i.e. a glorified Toby and I don’t see him leaving that any time soon.

Hunter Wood1.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. It was a False Start for Wood, though the real story here is Jalen Beeks going five frames with eight strikeouts. He doubled his previous career high for strikeouts and that itself should tell you something. No, he didn’t change his pitch mix, his velocity wasn’t wildly up (slightly but not enough for me to get amped), and I think you’re going to be upset if you expect more from him. I’m not calling him the worst option out there – considerable for SP/RP leagues – but not something I’d go after in 12-teamers.

Andrew Cashner7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, whatever Cashner.

Mike Fiers6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Fiers had himself a night with the Mariners and he helped across the board. It’s as Vargas Rule as it gets, so keep adding fuel the Fiers.

Jason Vargas6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Speak of the Devil…You called? Ugggh get out of here Hellickson. Here we have Vargas actually not being terrible but also giving you a clear reason why you shouldn’t own him. No one wants a Grave Mistake on their hands. But seriously, you could only muster one strikeout in 18 outs? HAISTFMFWT?!

Jake Odorizzi5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Odorizzi handed us a Philly with nine strikeouts against the Pirates. It’s weird owning Jake as he’s a bit of a Cherry Bomb, but overall not sweet enough for you to be proud as an owner. Here’s to hoping it looks covered in hot fudge by the end of the year instead of the agony of your defeat.

Justin Verlander6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You don’t need me to tell you it’s dope, you need me to tell you it’s 21 whiffs and a Gallows Pole. 39/107 CSW because duh (25/66 on four-seamers, DANG).

Patrick Corbin7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Corbin has such a good slider and it’s stupid. Some of the Discord server guys are questioning why I have Corbin at #16 and not higher up. The answer is simple – smaller track record. Well, I get Snell vs. Corbin, that’s just personal preference as Snell has three (you can even say four) vs. Corbin’s two, but otherwise, it’s a ton of guys that have done this before instead of looking dominant for just 3/4 of a season. But what about Sevy? Don’t worry, he’ll probably be at #16 next week as Trevor Bauer heads to the DL with a stress fracture. Yes, that probably means his season’s over. Yes, it’s tragic as anything.

Jameson Taillon6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a PQS but you want a little more from Taillon as it’s just nine strikeouts across his last three starts. He’s ending at-bats early very effectively so I’m not too upset, but I’d like to see more than 7/91 whiffs, you know? I think he has it in him with the slide piece, but right now this is working – 3 ER or fewer in all of his last 14 games and guess what! That started when he introduced the slider on May 27th – and I’m cool with it. I may need to lower him just because of the 20.6% strikeout rate in those 14 starts, but a 10.7% whiff rate suggests more of a 23% mark…whatever, I like him as a sturdy ERA/WHIP guy with strikeout upside. Cool? Cool.

Ryan Borucki4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. Four walks. One strikeout. Zero confidence. Bad movie trailers aside, HAISTFMFWT?!

Heath Fillmyer5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Heath, how can you possibly expect me to get on board with you if you walk five guys? What about I walk to Five Guys? Well don’t take a dang Uber there, that’s for sure.

Yovani Gallardo3.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Leave it to YoGa to pile on the HAISTFMFWT?! today. You guys having a party? I’LL BRING THE BUD LIGHT LIMES! Noooo YoGa, please. No.

Blaine Hardy4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. No Blaine, no pain.

Anibal Sanchez5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. Sanchez held a poor 21/82 CSW here as curveball was whack, just 1/15 on splitter whiffs, and it just wasn’t solid. I wouldn’t hesitate to keep starting him and I’m sure his next two starts of Rocky Road + Marlins again should return better.

Gio Gonzalez4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Maybe you thought for a moment that Gio was turning it around. Spoiler alert: He’s not. If he isn’t gonzo from your team yet, I suggest re-thinking it.

Brett Kennedy4.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. BK, it’s not what you crave. Nick, that’s another BK. What, like McDonald’s? No like Brad KellerCup of Schmo, Cup of Schmoe. I don’t get it. Just forget this ever happened.

Jose Quintana5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. We all want to love you. Seriously, we do. But you have to let us love you and this, well, this means you have to hang on that wire like Nathan Drake.

Trevor Richards4.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s kinda hard to expect a kid to not be terrible after his first two pitches of the resulted in back-to-back solo shots. On two pitches. There is still upside in that changeup of his and I wonder if this stumble will mask a possible solid two-start week against the…Yankees and Braves? Ha, just kidding. We can talk again when it’s the Jays in September.

Sal Romano1.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. And sure, why not, one more HAISTFMFWT?! for the road. 

Today’s Streamer

Derek Holland vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – I’m not giving up on him after his last start. There’s also Felix Pena vs. San Diego Padres but I’m not a fan of Pena much anymore.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Sam Gaviglio vs. Kansas City Royals – He suddenly pulled back with heaters and threw breaking balls, leading to a much better performance last time out. Few options anyway, so I’ll take the chance on that different approach sticking.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Los Angeles Angels – A decent amount of options with Joey Lucchesi against the Dbacks (21% owned though, would be the pick otherwise), Matt Boyd against the Twins, and even Jakob Junis against the ChiSox.

Game of the Day

Jose Berrios vs. Chris Archer – Can Archer give the Pirates a dominating start? Will Berrios rebound? Let’s see.

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.

10 responses to “Taking Lito Steps Forward”

  1. Perfect Game says:

    For a standard 5×5 roto redraft league using QS instead of W who do you like in order of preference ROS that won’t kill ratios?

    Fiers (been waiting for him to implode, but he won’t)

  2. Jeremy says:

    Rodon is available to stream today against DET. You like that more than Holland?

    • Maskelyne says:

      Rodon is 50%+ owned so I don’t think he qualifies as a streamer for this section. Holland is like 15% owned.

      I’d go Rodon over Holland.

  3. sk says:

    On no – you really think bauer out for season? should I drop him or wait and see? Also, would you take wheeler over holland today?

  4. Andy says:

    Would you want Rich Hill or Nick Pivetta next week and the rest of the season?


  5. larry says:

    Only 4 weeks until playoffs-would you hold on to T. Bauer or use spot for match ups and streamers.


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