The Fiers At Midnight

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

You may have gotten a notification in the middle of the night that Mike Fiers threw a no-hitter, thought of it as a moment of delirium and went back to bed. Nope, the madlad actually did it – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – and great, now I need to talk about it. Do I really though? After throwing the second no-no of his career, Fiers still has a 5.48 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. That’s what we’re dealing with here, a Philip Humber case where on any given night, a player can showcase why they are allowed to step on the field. I’m amazed if any of you ran with this, congrats if you did, and if there’s one hilarious thing I want to say, it’s this. Blame it on the Reds. Seriously, they have a sub .300 wOBA right now, it’s unreal. And yes, that is a Blackmore’s Night headline, it’s been stuck in my head since the moment I heard the news and I won’t do yet another “you didn’t start the Fiers” pun. We can be better.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Jose Berrios7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. The Jays aren’t a good offense, but Berrios is in the AL Central and will get plenty more poor lineups. Meanwhile, his curveball was good enough to get the job done and things are lovely for Berrios owners.

Lucas Giolito7.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Look at Gio 2.0 go. Not the greatest CSW out there – 31/105 – but so many strikes with his changeup as he went 22/34 in the zone, neglecting his curveball and slider nearly entirely (just four breakers total!). His heater was the really winner here, sitting 93/94 and topping out just under 96 mph and that’s a lovely thing…but I wanted more from those breakers for me to completely get on board. It’s awesome to see him succeed after that meh bottom line against the Sawx and I think he can keep it up against the Jays next time out. Streaming Record: 22-16.

Adrian Houser2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s clear what Adrian’s nickname is – Houser M.D. i.e. Houser Must Drop. It is known. Y’all didn’t own him anyway, but whatever this is what it is now.

Jon Lester6.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ll take this all days of the week, even Wednesdays. 2/43 whiffs on cutters is a bit ehhhhh, but he threw 31/43 and we’ll definitely take that. He’s fighting off the regression like last year, though I believe in him a bit more than during #TheGreatRegressionOf2018.

Hyun-Jin Ryu9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Unreal. I’m so regretting not getting shares of Ryu as I didn’t fully buy into his changeup + his injury history as he’s cruising along as well as anyone out there. If you can get a major prize in return, go trade him because he will get hurt, but otherwise just keep riding it and enjoy it while it lasts.

Ryne Stanek2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Beeks came in after for just 3.1 frames of 1 ER ball…and it earned a Win. Wow,  what a great stat.

Marco Gonzales6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Gonzo had a test against the Yankees and passed despite the low punchout total. The man is Spider-Man, alright.

Tyler Mahle6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Mahle is becoming an interesting pickup as he’s done a fantastic job of the BSB – Blake Snell Blueprint – of going up in the zone with heat and down with his curveball. 34/102 CSW is lovely and the A’s, even without Khris Davisare a solid offense. It’s likely a Cherry Bomb situation, but I’d consider Mahle for those hurting in the K department.

Aaron Nola6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. 37% CSW is a wonderful thing as his curveball finally earned whiffs with 8/39. I’ll take that all day. He still doesn’t throw up in the zone effectively, but now that we’ve seen his two-seamer working + his curveball in action like before, he’s got it back. Aces Gonna Ace.

Steven Brault4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. You’re at fault if you start Brault. If you did this today, please, please don’t do it twice. That would be a Double Brault. 

Griffin Canning5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. If you haven’t listened to the new On The Corner podcast yet, do it now (it’ll have a post later this morning, but it’s up on our feed) as I have a new term to replace Spice Girl – FunYuns. It squishes “Fun” and “Young” to detail a young arm that we love to chase for their future potential to kill it this season + they are super cheap to purchase. It’s not exactly the same as Spice Girl, but considering I was using Spice Girl nearly exclusively to talk about rookies or sophomores anyway, I think this will be a good replacement moving forward. ANYWAY, Canning fits the bill easily and I love this kid’s stuff. Fastballs where he wants em, sliders down-and-away to RHB and curveballs galore for strikes + the occasional changeup to mess with lefties. His final frame was cut short on three consecutive hits on actually solid pitches – heater top of the zone, heater low outside corner, heater jammed inside corner – but it didn’t go his way. Grab him everywhere if you still can. Now. I expect him to stick around and get the Orioles on Sunday at the very least, if not push out the likes of Matt Harvey or Felix Pena once Andrew Heaney returns. The dude is legit.

Taylor Clarke6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Clarke took over in the rotation for Zack Godley, making his first career and has been quickly handed the Cup of Schmo label. Womp womp. There just isn’t enough here.

Danny Duffy6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Huh. Last time out I was impressed by his slider doing wonderful things. This time…his slider was okay while his curveball and more of the work. Not the most impressive start, but the Astros are strong and Duffy made it work and earned 11% whiffs. That should raise an eyebrow. It could turn out horribly, but I’m not against the desperate picking up Duffy for his next start against the Rangers in Kansas City.

Dakota Hudson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. He’s a sinker-baller who will have him WHIP totals through the year without the strikeouts. Why oh why would I trust this man, especially when he can’t decide his direction. Are you North or South Dakota? Is it East Hudson or not? FIGURE IT OUT.

Cal Quantrill4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. That WHIP is ghastly and I’m not seeing a whole lot to get me excited here from Quantrill. There was a time when I was intrigued, but that intrigue has disappeared like the crowd at last night’s A’s game. WE GOT WORK IN THE MORNING.

Jefry Rodriguez6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh hey, Jefry pitched again and he has a 2.41 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP, with his first game of legit strikeout production. But here’s the thing and I still can’t believe this is correct, but it’s unreal. Jefry’s CSW in this start was 14% and that’s rounding up. 13/95 is the lowest I can remember and hooooooo boy I am staying so far away from this. I’m going to give this a term. For the lowest CSW rate of the year with 90+ pitches, it’s CSWS – Can’t Start, Won’t Start. Atta boy Jefry, you’ve now become memorable. Update: Totally forgot about Yonny Chirinos‘ 9/93 over the weekend soooo sorry Jefry, you’re forgettable again.

Caleb Smith6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. He. Can’t. Be. Stopped. This was absolutely wild. WILD! Smith threw 112 pitches…and just 3 changeups with 55 sliders. That’s absurd, though the man felt the pitch – 20/55 CSW on sliders – and it clearly worked. Fastballs were up and in on both sides of the plate, and save for how he didn’t want to trust his slow ball, I have little qualms with this one. KEEP HIM GOING.

Masahiro Tanaka6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. This is fine with me. He faced the team with the highest HR total in the majors and gave you decent ratios with four strikeouts as the rain came down hard. I’m still wary of Tanaka moving forward, though.

Hector Velazquez3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Y’all know Velazquez, you don’t need me to tell you this isn’t worth our time. I don’t know who this player is. Really? Do you need a Hector Guide? 

Madison Bumgarner6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. A VPQS with 8 Ks? Are we okay with this? With Bumgarner heading to Coors, I think we are.

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

Daniel Norris5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeaaaaah, Norris just isn’t someone we can trust in anyway. It was an inning of four singles to score those 3 ER, but I got the sense this was more of a fortunate start with one unlucky frame instead of a dude cruising and getting shafted.

Aaron Sanchez7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I think we’re okay with this as he went deeper than most. Like holding your breath for four minutes? Sure, something like that.

Max Fried1.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. He took a liner to the forearm and left the game in the second, but it’s not like 3 ER in the first didn’t happen. I want to cough this up to one of those nights and with X-Rays coming back negative, we could see Fried for his next scheduled start. 

Stephen Strasburg6.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. On one hand, he earned a Gallows Pole with 21 whiffs and earned a 40/106 CSW, which is all kinds of amazing. On the other, it was a Careful Icarus as the Brewers scored all their runs in the seventh with two outs, including a bases-clearing double to Lorenzo CainWe were so close to salvation y’all. So close. 

Noah Syndergaard6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Disappointing. A solid 33/101 CSW and 7/24 whiffs on his changeup, but just 5/77 on everything else is whaaaaaack. I’m still not seeing a dominant slider and those sinkers that have missed bats up in the zone? Yeah, those were much lower today. You have to figure this out Thor.

Adrian Sampson5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Does he have his hair? YES?! Then I don’t know how to save this man.

Antonio Senzatela4.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. You don’t want to study under Senz-A. You have come to the wrong Dojo! Yes, because you’ll learn nothing. This is horse stance. NO IT’S NOT. Get those toes pointed straight.

Collin McHugh3.0 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Looks like we are no longer Collin his name. He couldn’t handle the Royals, his slider isn’t there, I’m out.


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.


Reynaldo Lopez vs. Cleveland Indians – The Sawx game didn’t go perfectly, though his raw stuff was much better than the line suggested. Now against the Tribe, this could work well. I’d also consider Brandon Woodruff as he faces a banged up Nats lineup.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Wade Miley vs. Texas Rangers – It’s Miley or Bassitt vs the Reds and while I’m going for the cheap Win over Bassitt, both are solid.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Pablo Lopez vs. New York Mets – It’s the only real choice I have and I don’t love it, but PabLo obviously has the ability to have a productive night.


Game of the Day


Clayton Kershaw vs. Mike Foltynewicz – Hopefully Kershaw has somewhat better velocity + we see some of Folty’s rust shake off. Literally.


(Photo by Samuel Stringer/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.

19 responses to “The Fiers At Midnight”

  1. Jordan says:

    What’d you think of Freddy Peralta’s fake start?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I probably should have mentioned it. He’s too volatile for my taste.

      • Jordan says:

        The archetypal cherry bomb! I’m still pretty wounded and recovering from his three starts prior to last night.

  2. Jason says:

    Would you drop either Strahm, Montas, Folty, or Luke Weaver to pick up Canning?

  3. Ionescorhino says:

    I just want to thank you. I am in first place with a pitching staff of Glasnow, Kikuchi, Musgrove, Giolito, Canning, Holland, Pablo Lopez, and Soroka, while holding onto Stripling and Urias. I read you consistently every day. Your insight has gotten sharper. Where you excel beyond others in the fantasy world is pinpointing the predictors for future success. And you make it fun.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Ionesco! It’s been great having you around across the years.

      Good luck with that staff :)

      • Ionescorhino says:

        I’m probably going to need it. But obviously, a fluid situation. Better than instability in hitting. I didn’t draft an SP until 12th round, which was Happ, who I’ve already traded away for a bat. Without speculative pitching, it gets boring.

  4. Swfcdan says:

    McHugh yet another abomination, can’t believe how much damage this sucker has done to my ratios. Adios loser, that FB is garbage and even his breaking stuffs getting thwomped now.

    Instead welcome Mahle. Suprised you aren’t buying in more? K’s are impressive, walks are way down from prev years (41/8!). I’m wary of Reds pitchers too but Castillo is more than flourishing. His home runs aren’t horrible either (5/41 IP). I need a guy to hold after dumping McHugh, is Mahle a better option than Bassitt going forward?

  5. Phil says:

    I am more than okay with what Madbum did at Coors last night. Borderline thrilled.

    Not sure where you stand on this, but from what I’m seeing(yes i know the curveball isn’t good!), I think this guy’s demise has been way overhyped.

    • Morgan says:

      Its interesting because he had the notable velocity drop last year and even starting this year with cutters at 85mph and fastballs at 90mph, but now all of the sudden he’s back with cutters at 88mph and fastballs at 92mph and strikeouts are up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps marching forward if the velocity stays.

  6. Gigorilla says:

    Hi Nick — Darvish. Please throw some of your technical excellence as to why all the walks? He’s not throwing strikes, I get it. But is there something hidden regarding regression or injury?

    • Nick says:

      Hey man! Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner.

      I don’t have a detailed answer yet, and my gut is down to training his arm again. It could be a small tweak away or as simple as getting more time on the hill to lock in.

      I don’t think it’s a year long problem, though. I’d be shocked if it took him past June 1st, honestly.

  7. Dan says:

    I’m a big Canning fan as well and enjoyed watching him pitch last night. You got any numbers for the start? How was his CSW? Glad you’re on board, if you trust him, I’m in!

  8. Saint says:

    Any updated Heaney or Luzardo news?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback

  9. Jack says:

    No Loaisiga today, Nick? Ok, I’ll do it alone then.

  10. theKraken says:

    Fiers has the ability to put it together for a start or even a few months like probably no other pitcher. Remember the second half of last year? I am not sure what it is about him, but he can really be on for a while. He is a lot better than people give him credit for being… that said I own him in 0 leagues nor do I trust him, but he is an interesting player for sure.

  11. Perfect Game says:

    Canning or Weaver in a standard roto that uses QS?

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