Then I Saw His Face

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

(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)

I’ve talked a lot Shane Bieber as a “hittable” pitcher. A guy who doesn’t have the pristine command – not control – of his fastball that makes him throw plenty of strikes that can be easier than others to slap into play. His last five starts have been exactly that, with a terrible 5.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in those starts. You may have dropped him, I was cool with it. Suddenly, he showed up last night and was an animal going 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks against the Rays. 38/100 CSW is astonishing, while his slider was all kinds of dope with 9/28 whiffs. He’s actually had whiff rates above 12% overall in each of his last four starts. You may be wondering if he’s figured it out. If suddenly Bieber has changed his approach to finally be the man we want him to be. Well, if I am going to buy that, it’s because of that walk rate going up. Yes, he threw a good amount of heaters down the middle, but plenty more along the corners, nibbling both inside and out inside of constantly giving in. I’m curious if it was just one day or if it was truly a change in approach, so I’m going to tell you to avoid unless you need a high upside play. It could work, but there are safer plays out there than this.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Alex Cobb2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. He was removed from this one with a finger injury, which is too bad he clearly was going to cruise to dominance here. On the real, I can see some people going for Cobb prior and I think this is a blessing in disguise.

Erick Fedde5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. You probably thought I’d lead with Fedde, but in short, you know not to trust the Feddes. His fastball was better than usual in this game, that’s about it. Seriously. Just an 11% whiff rate – nothing crazy – and his slider was thrown for strikes, still with a sub 20% usage. Don’t forget, he still has an ERA north of 5.00. This isn’t your playoff savior.

Jim Johnson1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Yes that Jim Johnson was the recipient of a False Start for the Angels as they went full bullpen. I guess some people go FULL bullpen.

Jose Quintana6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Quintana has finally reduced his ERA to a sub 4.00 ERA mark at 3.97 with this out, marking the fifth straight start with 2 ER or fewer. His fastball command has been much better over the past month and success is there. If he was dropped, you’re safe picking him up.

Chris Sale1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Weird to see a False Start from Sale, but we all knew it was coming…kinda. We were promised 40 pitches or two frames! WHAT IS THIS.

Luis Castillo6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Sooooo how excited am I allowed to be? 97mph average on his sinker, 11/38 whiffs on his changeup, and 30/92 CSW overall. Just 10 sliders with four over the plate is a bit meh, but the other stuff was easily good enough to dismantle the Dodgers. Don’t you dare get off this ride and I wonder where I put him in 2019…

Jhoulys Chacin5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Fast and I talked about it on the OTC Podcast, and I’ll ask here. Is Chacin the Brewers’ Game 1/Wild Card starter? What a ridiculously weird season that you have to continue through the end of the year but don’t touch even for a moment in 2019.

Tyler Duffey2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. The Angels went bullpen as well, following Duffey with Kohl StewartCarry on.

Mike Fiers6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. And the Fiers train continues. Is he starting for the A’s in Game 1/Wild Card? Wild.

Mike Foltynewicz9.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Hot dang! What’s most surprising here is the 30/108 changeups + curveballs that went for 14/30 CSW, using his curveball plenty for called strikes. It’s now six of his last seven starts with 1 ER or fewer and it’s a wonderful thing.

Marco Gonzales5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. A bit of a DLH here for Marco, but he was able to work through five easily against the Padres. About a third of his cutters were solid at the bottom of the zone, the others…not so much. I’m not sold he’s now fixed.

Brad Keller7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I know it’s a 3.26 ERA for his 18 starts this year. I know it’s been 8 ER total in six starts, with none of 3 ER. It’s also a 1.35 WHIP as a sstarter and a 17% K rate. You’re chasing a good ERA at the cost of Ks and WHIP, while that low ERA is backed by a 4.61 SIERA. His 7.0% HR/FB rate isn’t going to stick around – sub 10% IFFB – and I just don’t see a guy that can be a proper Toby for you. Sorry, he’s just a TEEs. Use at your own risk.

Miles Mikolas7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Hoooo baby Mikolas, look at those strikeouts! You’re not supposed to do that. 15 whiffs with 8/53 on sliders and curveballs. That’s not a great whiff rate, and 27/107 isn’t a good overall CSW. Hmmmmm. What I get here is early foul balls (30/107) and the ability to put guys away…this time. This 14% swinging strike rate is the highest of the season, don’t get used to it.

Bryan Mitchell6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Whoa, Mitchell’s command wasn’t so bad! Whoa, the reward is not nearly worth the risk we took starting him.

Adrian Sampson5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. “Hello everyone! Hi, yes, yes, please settle down. I know you all have questions. I’ll get to everyone, I promise. Yes, ma’am in the front row?” “Is he a Cup of Schmo?” “Without a doubt…any more questions? Anyone? No?”

Jose Urena6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Our Call Boy did good work against the Mets, helping across the board, even earning a win against deGrom. Streaming Record: 93-44. Now just tell your teammates to do the same for the next three days.

Ryan Borucki6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, that’s nice Borucki. I won’t roster you, I’ll just give the nod of “hey what’s up” from across the street.

Jacob deGrom7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sorry deGrom, 2 ER are too many when facing the mighty Jose Urenalooks like you’ll have to get your win elsewhere. Congrats on the Gallows Pole with 17 whiffs, though, and, you know, still being dope.

Tyler Glasnow7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. After his horrid start last week, clearly he was going to kill it against the Indians the next time out. Clearly. Are you upset? NO NOT AT ALL. I’m not saying this is what to expect, but at the same time it’s easy to buy into this being closer to our expectations than the clunker prior.

Sonny Gray3.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Gray got another chance to start and it was as blegh as it gets. He will not be fantasy relevant this year, it’s okay.

Nick Pivetta4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. He was pulled at 91 pitches, though I’m a little surprised given that it was game 1 of a doubleheader. Incredibly underwhelming, though at least it’s better than the other two times he faced the Nationals…? Blegh, and just one strikeout! HAISTFMFWT?! I’d still start him down the stretch and there’s a part of me that is a bit excited to take a late pick on Pivetta next year to see how it plays out. He has more talent than the ERA suggests.

Jake Arrieta5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. This is a solid Dusty Donut as a 5.40 ERA is super blegh but the 1.00 WHIP and 7 Ks definitely help. Sounds like a Spiderman to me.

Zack Greinke6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Solid from Greinke here in Coors. Not pristine, but solid. He has a tough schedule the rest of the way, but I think you ignore it and start start start.

Hyun-Jin Ryu5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. Just one fewer ER and two baserunners would make this digestible, but nah, that’s not Ryu’s plan against the Reds. I see the man’s schtick – that sounds wrong – and I see a smoke and mirrors. Nevertheless, worth the start ROS, just ignore in drafts save for the last round in 2019.

Andrew Suarez6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. A VPQS with 3 Ks? This is kinda what you chased for Suarez, right?

Joe Musgrove6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Fast wins our live OTC bet as Musgrove had 8 Ks, making this a Dusty Donut with 1.00 WHIP but terrible 6.00 ERA. It’s a difficult road ahead for the rest of September and I’m 50/50 if he’s worth it for 12-teamers. Maybe slightly leaning roster, but definitely explore all streaming options.

Antonio Senzatela6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember when Senz-a had some hype last year? That was interesting stuff. Very different from his actual stuff, which is pretty pedestrian. Preeee-tay preee-tay pedestrian.

Framber Valdez4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. I haven’t been much of a fan of Framber despite the decent amount of hoopla surrounding him, and it doesn’t shock me that this one didn’t go too well. I still would have considered starting him against the Tigers, but a man with a two-pitch mix where neither pitch is all that great inherently makes he skeptical of success.

Jordan Zimmermann5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Well, yeah, it’s Jay-Z.

Dylan Covey4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember kids, Don’t Covey Thy Dylan.

Tanner Roark4.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Roark has been a rollercoaster this year, with a strong stretch in the second half hitting a hard stop in the last three starts, now tallying 15 ER among them. Yeesh. That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.

Today’s Streamer

Trevor Richards vs. New York Mets – It’s the Mets and Richards has the upside to make this well worthwhile. I’d also consider Felix Pena against the Rangers, but there’s a little more risk there.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Sandy Alcantara vs. New York Mets – I know it’s three days against the Mets. Thing is, the Marlins pitchers ain’t all that bad and no one cares about them. Alcantara can get through this and help.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Wei-Yin Chen vs. Philadelphia Phillies The Marlins rotation is super underrated y’all! Now they get the Phillies and this could still work, even after Chen’s last start letting me down a bit.

Game of the Day

Aaron Nola vs. Stephen Strasburg – Because duh. Happy Nola Day!

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.

15 responses to “Then I Saw His Face”

  1. David Colasurdo says:

    Are you starting Matz tomorrow vs. Mia?

    Are you starting Castillo Sunday @ CHC?

    Keep in mind, this is my finals!

  2. larry says:

    How confident in Alcantara are you. I can either stream him or hold off and stream Chen vs Eflin or go Eflin,
    Gibson @ KC,
    T. Anderson at SF

    In the quarterfinals and need to make sound moves.

    thank you

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d rank those five options as…

      Gibson >>>> Alcantara > Chen > Tyler > Eflin.

      I’m not incredibly confident in Alcantara, but the other options aren’t too great either.

      • larry says:

        The only other options are
        Pivetta vs MIA
        Lynn vs Tor.
        B. Anderson @ Balt.
        Leake @ LAA

        Any of them strike you as better places. Have been burned by Pivetta.

  3. Jiggy says:

    ROS pick:

    A – Castillo @Mil, @ Mia, v Pit (note Castillo has 3.51, 1.07 home era/whip vs. 5.94/1.44 road era/whip).

    B – Chen @Phi, Cin, @ Was (Chen 1.77/.99 home era/whip vs. 9.13/1.82 road era/whip).

    C – Matz Mia, @Phi, @ Wash (3.82/1.11 home vs. 4.60/1.43 road).

    League rules require me to keep any pickups for 3 starts so I take them all or none. I’m in a dogfight in ERA, WHIP, QS and W.

    Thanks for your help all season!!

  4. Josh A. says:

    Nick, it’s playoff time!! Do I dare start Corbin tonight in Coors??

  5. Southern Marylander says:

    Do you think the Rays will call up Poche after the International League playoffs are over or will they hold off since he’s already closing in on 70 IP?

    I’d really like to see him face some MLB hitters this year.

  6. Frankie says:

    To sum up: I dropped Arrieta, loved Bieber’s ceiling, will obey your Stream picks after dissing Urena and Pivetta is officially DTM.

  7. Big League S. Choo says:

    Castillo should be TOP TEN! Dude is a MONSTER

  8. Paul De Surra says:

    Sorry for the last minute advice, I have a starts limit in my league. Would you go LeBlanc V. Padres or Greinke @Hou?

  9. Perfect Game says:

    Do I want Pax or Wheeler ROS in a standard roto league for QS w/o killing my ratios? Pax has a virus and will miss Friday’s start and he has OAK and HOU on the schedule. Wheeler has been a QS machine the last month or so with great ratios.

  10. Steve says:

    Just fyi Nick, biebers peripherals were always good. He was getting extremely unlucky in that stretch. Nobody should have dropped him.

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