There Can Only Be One Verlander

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

I very rarely lead with an AGA arm that performs well like we expected him to, but Justin Verlander threw a glorious no-hitter – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 14 Ks – and I do what I want. Aces Gonna HOT DANG ACE. 23 whiffs for a Gallows Pole with 42/120 CSW, for those wondering, as Verlander took care of the Jays in one of the more dominating performances you’ll see. With Max Scherzer hitting the IL earlier this year, Verlander slid into the No. 1 spot over Cole and has given us no reason to question it. We wanted a repeat of his excellent 2018 campaign and have gotten it almost to a T – .04 difference in ERA, .03% difference in strikeouts rate – but he even improved his already 0.90 WHIP to a sparkling 0.77 mark (albeit, there is another month left). Now imagine if all those HRs didn’t leave the park …

For those wondering how Verlander does it at age 36, pumping 97 mph on his 120th and final pitch of the game, it’s a product of his mechanics. They’re perfect. Straight to the plate, minimal wasted movement, arm and ball up early – it’s all conducive to being consistent and reducing arm strain. I don’t expect him to slow down next season either, and I expect him to be going consistently in the top 20 picks. This is legit. Again.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Wilmer Font2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Gaviglio and Godley also tossed 3 IP here as I think the Jays are just going to use this rotation spot as a proper “September call-up bullpen” spot. Have fun, kiddos.

Gio Gonzalez3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeesh, four walks? Gio, buddy, there’s no way I’m trusting you against the Cubs next. Marlins after, sure, but let’s have some wonderful times on the bench. It can be a cool place, you know. Cool? I thought he was supposed to warm it. You. Out. Already got my hat.

J. A. Happ6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, solid stuff Happ, enduring the A’s offense with ease. He’s a Toby – and not my favorite one at that – with a generally good schedule the rest of the way, including the Tigers next. Don’t overlook him.

Sean Manaea5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. He’s back! I didn’t expect us to see Manaea at all during the preseason, but here he was against the Yanks, slinging heaters effectively. Slider and changeup need a little work still, and now he gets Detroit. Sweet. Perfect time to polish his craft.

David Price2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. The word was three innings, but these two were a bit laborious and Price was pulled early in his DLH start. He may need one more to get right on track – maybe five frames? – but I’d be happy owning Price in the back half of September.

Ross Stripling3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Stripling opened with Dustin May following … who left the game after a scary liner struck him in the head. Really great to see May walk off on his own. With May and Stripling, we could be seeing this tandem moving forward, and it’s just more Dodgeritis finding it’s way to annoying us once again. I wouldn’t own Stripling, and I’d look to see if there are more dependable options, streams included, for May.

Steven Brault6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Starting Steven after this is nobody’s Brault but yours.

Tyler Chatwood3.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Chatwood started this one out of nowhere after Yu Darvish was scratched because of a “minor” forearm injury. Apparently he’s been pitching through it across the past month. You know, those games where he was DEALING. Wild. He’s expected to make his next start, though, so we should be OK. What about Chatwood? Why. Why would you want anything to do with him.

Zach Eflin7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Eflin pumped strikes against the Mets, and they didn’t take advantage. It’s a BABIP game with Eflin, which turns him into a classic Toby, and it’s up to you if you want to put your week in the hands of the Baseball Gods above.

Tyler Mahle6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, Mahle is back! Ahhhh right, double-header. Weird to see only 41/90 four-seamers here, exclusively thrown up in the zone as he introduced a cutter to mix in with splitters and deuces. It could be something to monitor for next year, but there isn’t room for Mahle to get a rotation spot now.

Charlie Morton5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. One more month, Morton. You got this.

Jeff Hoffman5.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Oh Hoffman, we were so intrigued back in the day. But now it’s today. This day is not your day. What about the next day? That day? Pay day. Seriously? What, no.

Michael Pineda6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. This is a great example of why matchups matter. Here we have the Tigers – a lovely afternoon, of course – and next are the Indians. We don’t want to start Pineda against the Indians.

Marcus Stroman6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Will we ever see a Stroman start on the Mets that doesn’t come with a WHIP over 1.00? It’s getting a bit crazy now, but good on Stroman for working through the Phillies and those baserunners to produce. Not my favorite arm because of that consistently high reliance on BABIP with a terrible defense behind him.

Julio Teheran6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Good work, Teheran, taking full advantage of a start against the ChiSox. Now I’d throw you back on the wire with the Nationals and Phillies up next. It’s playoff time, don’t let him ruin it for you.

Alex Young4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Now with this Dodgers start out of the way, it’s a good schedule the rest of the way for Young. I’d consider holding in Quality Start leagues.

Aaron Brooks4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Don’t go chasing Brooks. Stick to the streams that you’re used to.

Luis Castillo6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Ehhhhh, alright, only because of the Win but I want more than a PQS from Casty. He’s acting like an ace in giving you something to salvage still via eight punchouts, but I want a little better, you know? It’s gametime.

Patrick Corbin6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Same goes for you Patrick, especially against the Marlins. Still better with a 1.00 WHIP n all and that lovely dub as well, but just remove that P from PQS, OK?

Danny Duffy6.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, a near PQS in a DLH start is lovely from Duffy. It’s interesting to see him feature his highest fastball velocity of the season at 93.4 mph, but I wonder if that was a product of excitement to be back on the hill again. Maybe worth a deep stream against the Marlins next.

Yusei Kikuchi5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Kikuchi had a luscious matchup against the Rangers and served us only one strikeout in five frames. HAISTFMFWT?! If he can’t make you happy here, where can he?

Miles Mikolas6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. This is a solid effort from 8-Miles, and we’ll take that low WHIP with a PQS any day from him. The talk on the Discord shifted from his home/road splits to his day/night splits, and I honestly don’t believe we’ll be able to pinpoint a stat from these starts that confidently suggests success or failure moving forward. It’s a dang coin-flip. Good luck.

Daniel Poncedeleon4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Womp womp. Even though “Ponce” doesn’t mean King, I still want to call him Simba, but I digress. We were hoping Simba Daniel would be a sneaky stream against the Reds, possibly going deep here after doing so in the minors previously. It wasn’t meant to be, and it’s unclear if we’ll see him again this month. Even if we do, is he really worth the chance? I’m not inclined to take the leap unless it’s an excellent matchup and there’s nothing else to chase.

Lucas Giolito6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Home Runs, that’s where they get ya. Well, Freddie Freeman specifically, who launched both a changeup and heater out of the park. At the same time?! Maybe if it was Zack Greinke pitching, but no, obviously not. That’s just how it goes some days, obviously keep starting Giolito wherever.

Andrew Heaney5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. It wasn’t a recommended start even with his recent success as he faced the Sawx, but I was still hoping he’d defy the odds and make it work. His curveball and changeup weren’t nearly as effective as we’ve seen, earning just 6/39 CSW across them both. That’ll do it. Good news is that he gets the White Sox next, and that should be a lovely time.

Eric Lauer6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. You guys tell me. Lauer earned a Win with a 1.00 WHIP and 9 Ks. That’s a streaming victory, even with the 4 ER … right? I think so. Streaming 90-57. Please don’t hesitate to tell me that I’m wrong here. Anyway, I can see some wanting to stick it out with Lauer next time against Rocky Road, but I won’t be one of them. Too low of a floor.

Brett Martin0.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. This was a bullpen game for the Rangers, with Martin not even acting as a proper opener, and it still didn’t work. Poor fella.

Adam Plutko4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s almost like his last start was good because it came against the Tigers and not the Rays. As my high basketball coach would say, WHAT A CONCEPT! WHAT A CONCEPT!

Jeff Samardzija5.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. And the wall has been hit, just in time for Loose Lips’ nickname to come into play. He will sink your (champion)ships. Don’t do it.

Caleb Smith5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Man, people have been throwing Caleb in with Matt Boyd and Trevor Bauer, and I don’t blame ’em. To be faaaaaiiiiir, this one was against the Nationals, but his changeup wasn’t there and it hurt him. So we enter matchup-ville with Caleb, and I would personally start him next time at home hosting the Brewers (Update: Royals, sorry I looked one start too far ahead!). I think he’ll help more than hurt.

Spencer Turnbull4.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Yeaaaah, Turnbull is a Young Gun. And that’s cool, just let him get his innings in September without being listed on a piece of paper as collateral damage.


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.


Mike Leake vs. San Diego Padres – It’s him or a Woj Bomb and I don’t trust Asher quite yet against the Rays. Joe Ross vs. New York Mets – He’s confirmed for the start, and I’d prefer to take this gamble than Leake in a non-QS league. There’s a slightly better floor with Leake, but give me that strikeout potential with Ross.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Mitch Keller vs. Miami Marlins – Yes he did just blow up. Against the Phillies. With eight strikeouts. Now it’s the Marlins. I’ll take this gamble. Mike Montgomery against the Tigers is another great play here. The ceiling is higher for Keller, but there’s a sturdier floor in Monty. Sandy Alcantara on the other side of Keller isn’t a terrible choice, either. A solid day for streams.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Trevor Williams vs. Miami Marlins – His opponent, Robert Dugger, isn’t the worst option out there, either, while there should be consideration for Jakob Junis against the Tigers as well.


Game of the Day


Gerrit Cole vs. Adrian Houser – Let’s see how Cole responds to Verlander being the de facto ace.

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/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.

8 responses to “There Can Only Be One Verlander”

  1. Matthew says:

    I believe C Smith’s next start is vs the KC Royals where he should have a good game. Hopefully he turns it around. I’ve clinched playoff bye for next week with both Bauer and Smith and I’m really hoping they both see daylight for the playoffs.

  2. Jim says:

    Caleb is facing the Royals next no?

    • Moelicious says:

      Yes – Caleb Smith gets Royals next

      I dropped him in one 12 team league and am benching him in another. A 1.97 HR/9 is horrific. No wins, doesn’t go deep enough to get Ks and a FIP near 5.00. Yuck

      • Jim says:

        I drafted him. Rode him most of the year. Dropped him recently, only to add him again and get burned. But now I figure this is his last stand for owners. If he gets blown up against KC at home, it’s over. Duh. Maybe it’s a case of not being able to Quit him. Not sure.

  3. Facenda says:

    Nick: You need to take another look at the schedule. You are consistently off on many of your next-ups.

  4. larry says:

    Currently have Samardzija who’s getting ready to face LAD in LA.

    Should I drop him for Alcantara and continue to stream that spot?

    Thanks again

  5. Christian says:

    Is Snell a hold? Shallow league but should make the playoffs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login