The Facts Aaron Contained

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

I remember way back in February, on the day of launching Pitcher List 4.0, I had ranked Aaron Nola at #10. I knew some would be upset that I could turn my back against my boy, the one I loved for years as he didn’t get enough appreciation and here I was, the year after a Cy Young contending season I had him so far down. Well, it looks like I didn’t push him down far enough as yesterday’s 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks performance brought his season totals to a 3.87 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 27% strikeout rate. Yikes, that’s 2017 all over again + a juiced ball. This isn’t completely fair as Nola’s early-season struggles settled down beginning on June 21st for an incredible three month stretch of 2.21 ERA ball, but it all fell apart in September with yesterday marking his fourth start in his last five allowing at least 4 ER. It’s not great, Bob.

The product of fluctuation has most commonly been his fastball command. There are days where he’s nipping the corners with ease and can go on crazy good stretches attacking with the pitch, allowing him to set up his excellent changeup and deadly curveball. But without the same fastball foundation of Scherzer, deGrom, Cole, Verlander, Buehler, etc., it’s hard to really buy into Nola taking that leap again as he did in 2018. That’s not saying he won’t be a productive arm to own next season, but there’s a good amount of me that’s considering Nola outside the Top 20. It’s an unsettling thought and I haven’t fully decided yet, but don’t be shocked if you see it on Monday.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Mike Clevinger7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Look at these three aces, doing was aces do. Clevinger, you’re so wonderful. I wonder if he’ll pitch on Sunday as it depends on how much the Indians need a win for a wild card spot – it’s the only close race out there left. Monitor the situation to see how this shapes up. Clevinger could theoretically pitch Sunday then on four-days rest for Game #1 the Friday after with Bieber going the WC and Game #3. We’ll see.

Gerrit Cole7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 14 Ks. They let Cole go 101 pitches here as he was cruising as cruising does. Surprisingly didn’t get the Gallows Pole, that went to a surprising arm today…

Jack Flaherty7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. …not Flaherty, but a clear aces gonna ace. Unreal what he’s done in the second half and it’s a bit different than the German Marquez of 2018 run though I imagine people paying closer to the second half price than they should be. I haven’t settled on his too-early rank for 2020 yet, so we’ll see how controversial I actually am on Monday.

Rich Hill2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. We knew this wouldn’t be long for Hill, but let’s be happy he made the most of it…?

Jordan Montgomery2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. The Yanks went bullpen heavy and will again today as they set their rotation for the playoffs, soooo yeah. Lots of bullpen games.

Blake Parker2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The first game of this double-header was full-on bullpen, with Parker pitching two clean innings. Good job, fella.

Yonny Chirinos3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Huh. We expected Brendan McKay to get the bulk innings, but 38 pitches resulted in 1.2 frames and we’re left with a whole lot of nothing from Tampa Bay starters here.

Mitch Keller5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s what’s up, Keller. Streaming Record: 101-66. Three straight and five of his last six starts with seven strikeouts and he leaned heavily on his slider down-and-away to good measure. 17 whiffs, 34% CSW, and increasing intrigue for 2020. Don’t worry, I won’t go nuts as I did with Pivetta – the Pirates do him no favors – but I’ll certainly be looking his way at the end of drafts.

Jake Odorizzi6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. If you’re curious about Odorizzi painting red on the top of the strikezone plot, yes, it’s there. Keep an eye on what the Twins do this weekend – they could let Odorizzi start Sunday and still be in line for Game #2 of the ALDS on Saturday (Berrios in Game #1), or they could give him the rest.

Joe Ross4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ross got the start in the afternoon double-header game and didn’t do a terrible job. We’re oh-so-proud, buddy. Still little fantasy relevance heading into 2020.

Sandy Alcantara7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. We didn’t know if we’d see the ultra raw Alcantara or the polished and it’s great to see him bounce back so quickly, helping owners in a start against the Mets in the final week of the season for the second year in a row. He’s slated to end the season on Sunday against the Phillies and that’s a decent risk to take. Look at that, Sandy is a hot item on the final day once again. I’m crossing my fingers with you.

Dylan Bundy7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Ayyyy Bundy did it! That’s a 3.46 ERA across his last seven starts with a better changeup than earlier in the year. Not soooo much better, but enough to let him take advantage of starts against the Royals and Blue Jays. He could get one more outing on Sunday against the Red Sox or the Orioles can tell him to enjoy the off-season. Either way, you’re done with him.

Adrian Houser4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. He was pitching just fine, with only 70 pitches thrown and more ammunition ready to spend, but nay, he was counseled by Craig (the Brewers did Win, so I can’t really criticize) and we’re left with four innings of mediocrity. Yep, this is the high probability outcome of Brewers starts.

Dillon Peters5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m impressed Peters not only survived against the A’s, but did so across five full frames. He earned you a Win if you were so daring, don’t push your luck, kid.

Spencer Turnbull6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Turnbull spun a solid outing here against the Twins, missing only a deserving Win. Sometimes life ain’t fair. His fastball and slider have been much better as of late, though he got a bit lucky on heaters down the middle in this one. Good secondary stuff low, though.

Thomas Pannone1.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. More bullpen shenanigans as Pannone was one of Font & Friends today. Yay.

Homer Bailey5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. And thus ends the season for Bailey as the A’s announced their rotation through the end of the year and it doesn’t include Bailey. Expect him as an option out of the pen in the Wild Card game, though he’ll likely just be planned to start a game in the possible ALDS. A little underwhelming of an outing here against the Angels as nothing helped here – no win, no QS, blegh ratios, and only three strikeouts. Really surprising, but at least it didn’t kill you.

Danny Duffy5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Same goes for Duffy…except he got that Win you were praying for, despite facing the Braves. That’s probably it for Duffy, so let him loose if you picked him up here. As for 2020, he’s hoping to be a Toby. That’s not what you want.

Sonny Gray5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Ehhh, a bit of a Dusty Donut here as Gray couldn’t stave off that third run. No dub to his name either and we all want a little more from our secret second half ace. There’s an outside chance he starts again on Sunday, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Jeff Hoffman3.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Awwww I thought this was a sneaky play, but the sneaky ones are sneaky for a reason. Hoffman went to Oracle Park and didn’t do a whole lot for you. Womp womp, til next time, which will likely be never. What a time that will be.

Tommy Milone – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Milone Schmilone. The magic faded like three months ago.

Madison Bumgarner – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Hey, it’s the winner of today’s Gallows Pole! Bummy had 22 whiffs as he hosted the Rockies and gave us a Dusty Donut, unable to get a QS and hurting our ERA and no win in sight. But hey, we’ll take that WHIP and Ks, so that’s nice. He’s going to get Sunday’s game as he wants to start in Bochy’s final game as manager, so here’s to something special.

Ronald Bolaños3.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. The man’s mechanics are as violent as any, making his five walks as surprising the Tigers missing the playoffs this year. 

Hector Santiago – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. This game was opened by Carson Fulmer’s one inning of four earned runs, a man leaving his game thinking he ruined the game completely for his team. Then Santiago showed up. “Hold my beer.”

Max Scherzer6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Ugh, Max, we don’t want a Dusty Donut, we want a smooth 1 ER, 2 ER MAX. Now we’re unlikely to see you again – I’d be shocked if he isn’t their guy for the WC game given they locked up the spot, making Max’s Sunday game unlikely to happen. Now they could save him as the potential Game #1 starter, but with Corbin + Stras available, you pitch Max for the much-needed clinching WC game. So yeah, don’t expect Sunday, it’s been a good and weird year, Max. You’re not my #1 for 2020. Mild Shock.

Noah Syndergaard5.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Thor, please. Stop. It was the Marlins. I know we all like consistency, but that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to allowed 4 ER in each of your last four starts. He’s currently slated to start on Sunday as well against the Braves and hooo boy that has to scare some of you, no? Honestly, if he gets the start and you need volume, you still do it, but I’ll be nervous with the rest of you.

Ariel Jurado – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. It doesn’t help to face the Red Sox, nor having your opener allow 4 ER without escaping the first, forcing you to enter before you expected. I don’t want to be a part of this world.

Kyle Hendricks6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Hendricks, not you too. Half of your starts in your last six have been fantastic, the other half…this bloated mess. Still, at the end of the day you can expect a better-than-average ERA with a strong WHIP. That’s not going to change. Just don’t expect a 20% strikeout rate to get better.

Julio Teheran2.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Bleeeggggggh. This was supposed to be a safe start against the Royals, but nah. Just kidding. What a way to cap off Teheran’s 2019 season, showcasing the lowest swinging-strike rate of his career (save for sub 20 IP seasons his first two years) and worst SIERA at 5.12. His 3.81 ERA seemed like an illusion all year (at least it was raised a bit here?) and that 1.32 WHIP is as plain as day. Y’all know this won’t be for me.

Eduardo Rodriguez5.0 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. And he got the Win. THE WIN IS A DUMB STAT. Even dumber, though, may be Eduardo’s run of killing it against tough lineups then taking a night off against the Rangers. In some ways this start should be a good thing as it corrects though that would be preaching for Eduardo in 2020 before the off-season hits, on the other hand, I was expecting to be the low guy on him and without a doubt, this will bring more people to my level. September games do that. He could get one more on Sunday against Bundy and the O’s and I’d still start him there.

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.


Tyler Mahle vs. Milwaukee Brewers – This isn’t the greatest stream, but I can see Mahle earning a good amount of strikeouts against a Brewers squad missing Yelich, even if they have some of that September magic.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Dylan Cease vs. Cleveland Indians – I know the Indians are a bit scary right now and if I could take a safer ratio arm today, I would. But among the options – Tyler Beede hosting the Rockies or Jordan Yamamoto vs. Mets – I’d side with the ceiling of Cease.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jose Urquidy vs. Los Angeles Angels – This may be my stream of the week as Urquidy could unload on the Angels. The question is how many innings the Astros will let him go, but 5/6 are not out of the question and it could be a difference-maker. Anthony DeSclafani against the Pirates is safer, but not streamable for most, while Justus Sheffield and Reynaldo Lopez are similar plays but with more risk.


Game of the Day


Frankie Montas vs. Andrew HeaneyHey, he gets a start in before the season ends! And it’s against Heaney! Sweet.


(Photo by Gavin Baker/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.

9 responses to “The Facts Aaron Contained”

  1. Dennis says:

    Start Heaney today? He’s been awful his last two and OAK is hungry.

  2. Firtree Baseball says:

    We are considering a 1.80 WHIP for Keller a streaming win? Oh how the pitching landscape has fallen

  3. J says:

    Hendricks got seriously singled out. Didn’t give up a baserunner through the first 5 innings except through errors. Just some really awful sequencing luck.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Great point. He’s getting the start from me on Sunday if he gets the matchup against the Cardinals, for those wondering.

  4. Steve Faveri says:

    I need help with my last 2 starts this week. The win is the most important stat I need. Pick 2 please.
    Urquidy at LAA
    Nova vs DET
    Nola vs MIA
    Boyd at CWS
    Dobnak at DET (tonight)

    Thanks for the great articles and pods this year!

    • J says:

      Obviously you go with Nola for one of them. Since you’re looking for wins, wouldn’t do Urquidy despite the nice matchup he rarely goes 5. I don’t like Boyd because I don’t trust the Tigers to score enough runs to get him the win. Dobnak will probably go 5 innings and that’s a cushy matchup. Nova who knows with his recent usage and pitching in such a hitter friendly park. I’m going with Nola and Dobnak.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Tough call here, I’d go with:

      Nola vs. MIA (Hopefully he gets it!)

      The second is the tough one. I’m leaning Boyd, personally, but I could be convinced to go with Nova instead. Really hard to say.

  5. King Donko of Punchstania says:

    At this point, is the best solution for Syndergaard a change of scenery? How is a guy with this level of stuff so mediocre?

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