The Ill of the Chase

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

There hasn’t been a whole lot of chatter surrounding Chase Anderson, but I have to expect him to be quietly picked up and held over the past month, especially after last night’s 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, Chase made it six frames this time! Just his first time since June 9, i.e. 11 starts ago. And across his past eight starts, the man has a 2.55 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP. It’s been a great ride for those that went after it, but it’s such a TEEs. This really shouldn’t last as the HOTEL preaches a 6.6% HR/FB, .226 BABIP, and 80% LOB rate across these starts. Strikeouts are fine at 21%, walks are good under 7%, but the end result is a 3.72 FIP and 4.61 SIERA. Ouch. There hasn’t been a massive change in approach, either: not fastball velocity, increased whiffs, etc. Just a whole lot of fortune with cutters and changeups, fortune that is sure not to stick through September. So fine, Vargas Rule this if you like; I think Anderson will hit the wall very soon. If there’s a stream that you really need for the weekend, I really don’t think you’ll be kicking rocks if you let Anderson go back to the wire now, even. Remember, the volume isn’t good with his low inning counts. Most of these good starts don’t even help that much.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Jack Flaherty7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 K’s. We’ve been waiting for the Flaherty run to save his season, and we’re in the thick of it now with just four earned runs allowed in his past five games with 39 strikeouts to boot against teams such as the Astros and now the Cubs. 19 whiffs here (Gallows Pole), aided by a curveball thrown 12 times and earning eight strikes along the way, and things are looking lovely. You didn’t sell Flaherty as his value dropped; now we’re holding our breath that he can produce across the next eight weeks. No problem, just withstand the … Dodgers next?! Sometimes life ain’t fair. Good luck, Flahertyk we’re all counting on you.

Zack Wheeler7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 K’s. I can hear Keith’s “Mmmmmm” now as Wheeler earned 31-88 CSW with 18 whiffs, demoralizing the ChiSox with a variety of secondary pitcheshis split-change earned 5-12 whiffs, and his slider earned five as well but did more damage earning quick outs off weak contact and spotting the breaker well. Velocity was 96/97 mph, and we have to feel better about Wheeler right now, especially with Miami up next. It’s the time we’ve all been waiting for.

Jake Arrieta4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 K’s. Arrieta stated that his elbow wasn’t feeling well, leading to an early exit here. You’re playing with fire starting Arrieta right now, a mediocre pitcher even when healthy, now dealing with elbow pain. I’d look elsewhere.

Gerrit Cole7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 K’s. Aces Gonna Ace. Just four strikeouts though? I feel like he deserves the famous tag just because we want more out of Cole. MORE.

Max Fried6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 K’s. Fried only tossed 76 pitches here but killed it with 34% CSW as he finally had his curveball back at the bottom of the zone. Slider did well to get strikes, and heater danced around effectively. This is the man I’ve been waiting for in the second half; please go off and do it again. And again. AND AGAIN.

Michael Pineda6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 K’s. Pineda had a date with the Fish and didn’t capitalize nearly as much as we’d want him to. Maybe it was because of a 90.6 mph fastball. Seriously?! You had 94/95 mph just a month ago, and we got a little worried when it was about 92 mph. Now you’re 90/91?! Yeah, I’m scared for that Braves start next. Very scared.

Trent Thornton6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 K’s. The Discount Hotel (Double Tee) took full advantage of a start against the O’s … and returned 20/87 CSW with just six whiffs. Oh. Yeah. This isn’t something I’d be jumping for.

Homer Bailey6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 K’s. Remember when I said that I thought Bailey would be starting on Saturday? JUST KIDDING. He really focused on high heaters, though I’m not liking his secondary stuff to complement in the bottom half of the zone. I know this was the Brewers, but 24-101 CSW here and just not enough oomph makes me think this is a bit of smoke and mirrors.

Clayton Kershaw6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 K’s. Aces Gonna Ace but kind of kill your WHIP. Seriously, five walks?! Kershaw didn’t have his best deuce here and focused nearly exclusively glove-side, failing to hit his spots away to right-handers. Whatever, I’m not worried, just be a little better, K? K.

Danny Salazar4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 K’s. Salazar finally returned and gave us 88 mph on his heaters. Yikes. He was pulled a little early because of a groin injury, though, and it’s possible his velocity was a product of the injury. At the same time, we want to see 94/95 mph from Danny; did this injury really sap a full 6 ticks? I wouldn’t expect that. This rebound isn’t the savior you’re looking for.

Dylan Cease7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 K’s. It’s not the prettiest of starts, but I’ll certainly take this from Cease. Streaming Record: 68-47. There’s still plenty of room to growsliders were better, but still not great, curveballs/changeups need developmentbut 96-plus mph on heaters worked super well up in the zone, and Cease worked seven strong for your fantasy team. Tigers are next, and I’m definitely in.

Anthony DeSclafani5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 K’s. It’s super middling but not enough for me to jump off the Tony Disco train, even if it was just 18-92 CSW, which is downright sad for the Disco. The Angels are next, though, and I think we aim to hold for that.

Jon Lester5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 K’s. Blegh. I mean, the six K’s are cool and all, but the rest hurts against the Cards. He’s a Toby, alright.

Brendan McKay5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 K’s. McKay is back as we expected, and he did fine against the Sawx. Getting a PQS would have softened the blow a bit, though a win is a win and it’s great to see the strikeouts rise … but weird that he barely touched his cutter. That’s the pitch that really got me excited for McKay, and going essentially two-pitch with heaters and curveballs is a bit shocking. Hold tight as I expect the pitch to return and McKay to be a legit arm for you down the stretch. I don’t expect him to head down to the minors again with both Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow on the IL.

Joey Lucchesi5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 K’s. A longball to Cody Bellinger on a meatball down the middle was the only true damage dealt to Lucchesi, as he went 30% CSW. I’m definitely happy with this if I had the brass to start him against the Dodgers, and he’s still a slightly above a Toby. Slightly. Update: I completely forgot about the HRs tacked on by Will Smith’s grand-slam, which makes this line plenty worse. Still doesn’t change anything moving forward, but blegh.

Dereck Rodriguez3.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 K’s. Yep, there’s the D-Rop we all know and hate. I understand it was Coors, (Update: Nope, Philly because I’m dumb. THAT’S WORSE) but not even one strikeout? Seriously? HAISTFMFWT?!

Asher Wojciechowski4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 K’s. And so ends the tale of the Woj. This start against Toronto was the last solid matchup for a good while, and it clearly didn’t work out. He was apparently dealing with a sore hip, which would explain how he went 0-17 CSW on curveballs. Yep. 0% on his best pitch. You can drop him now; it’s been a fun and wild ride. Don’t forget him entering 2020.

Jordan Yamamoto6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 K’s. Whoa, eight K’s! 31% CSW as his slider did a ton of work14-31 CSW on its own!and while the four earned runs hurt, this is impressive against the Twins. I still don’t love the guy and question if that slider really is that good, but I guess it means we’re holding him for the Mets next week.

Andrew Cashner5.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 K’s. Hooooo boy. Boston, I know he gave you one good start against the Yanks, but you didn’t make a deadline move save for Cashner and it’s not looking so hot. You thought you Drew a sword, but it was a spoon. That’s not a knife. No, no it’s not.


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.


Aaron Sanchez vs. Baltimore Orioles – Yeah, I know. You could go Jason Vargas against the ChiSox in his new Philly uniform, but I’m going with Sanchez, who had his lowest fastball usage of the year last time out and returned 10 K’s. That could stick, right? Dustin May vs. San Diego Padres – He’s getting the call, and Sanchez is no longer a Jay. I’m normally against rolling with debuts, but this one has an air of fun with his glorious hair.

Trevor Williams vs. New York Mets – Fine, y’all jumped on May. WHATEVER. Guess I’m going with Williams, who showcased a better slider last time out, even if the Mets have been “hot” lately and all.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Homer Bailey vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Hooooo boy. This ain’t good. There are a lot of rotations still figuring out their starters, so this may change, but there are very few choices at the moment. I’ll take the shot at Bailey making it work in O.Co against a middling lineup.

Aaron Sanchez vs. Seattle Mariners – Bailey went Thursday, and Sanchez will be starting for the Astros. I’m a little surprised I’m going for this, but I do believe his recent reduction of heaters will align with Houston’s approach and this could turn into a strong outing once again.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Pedro Payano vs. Detroit Tigers – Yep, I’m going it. The Tigers are even worse now, and Payano has surprisingly good stuff.


Game of the Day 


James Paxton vs. Eduardo Rodriguez – Can Paxton please get himself out of this rut? Will Eduardo survive the pinstripes? WE’LL SEE. Oh, and Dustin May is making his MLB Debut. Watch that too :)


(Photo by Kyusung Gong/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.

12 responses to “The Ill of the Chase”

  1. OG Pitcherlist Superfan says:

    Hey nick,

    I believe the luccessi line is correct for when he left the game but another 2-3 runs came in when will smith hit the grand slam with luccessi’s men on base

    Cant wait for the reddit AMA for deadline questions!!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It’s funny, it felt wrong seeing just 1 ER, thanks for catching that!

      The AMA will start in 10 minutes as I’ll be on the road at noon, see you there!

      Also, the PL superfan stuff is cracking me up :)

  2. Nick says:

    Would you rather have McKay or Gallen ROS? Your list says McKay, but do their recent starts change how you feel?

  3. NickFolesMVP says:

    D-Rod in Philly, not Coors. Not that it really matters much

  4. al says:

    Is Aaron Sanchez appealing as an Astro with there tendencies to turn pitchers with high spin rates into stars? He has the pedigree and we’ve seen him do it before and now that he’s on a team with a great offense behind him??

  5. Original Pitcherlist Homie says:

    Haha I go way back with you guys to the pitcher gifs days and I for one am so proud of how far pitcher list has come – it couldn’t happen to a better group of guys. Keep up the great work!

  6. Ryan says:

    Would you take Wheeler over Minor ROS?

  7. Brian says:

    I’ve got a request for this section… I was hoping you might lend a tad more focus on HR/9 for those of us in points leagues. Not asking for a regular mention in most or all blurbs, just keep it in mind and keep an eye out for any outliers or trends emerging? That would be awesome, thanks.

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