Timid Tarik

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Tarik Skubal vs TB (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 49 pitches.

I like Tarik SkubalOn top of being a super nice guy, he also has a solid repertoire that’s easy to latch onto. His four-seamer flirts with a 12% SwStr rate, and he carries two secondaries with a 32% CSW in his slider and changeup. Given another full season in the bigs, I think there’s something legit to look forward to in 2022 and I’m excited to see him grow.

But it’s still the 2021 season and after going 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 49 pitches, the writing is on the wall that we simply won’t see a whole lot more of Skubal in September. He’s now just under 140 frames and I imagine 150 is close to the limit we’ll get. You can do better with that roster spot than a trio of frames every five days and it’s time to let him go…if there’s something decent on the wire. Don’t just drop him for anything – there’s an outside chance he can push four or even frames next time out. At least that chance is better than trusting, you know, that pitcher. You know who I’m talking about.

Sidenote: If you’re wondering where the whole “hey, it’s free real estate” thing comes from, it’s from Tim and Eric, i.e. today’s stupid headline pun. #TheMoreYouKnow.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:


Nick Pivetta @ CWS (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

This felt…wrong. His command was a bit over the place and nothing stuck out to me as a guy who deserved to go nearly six scoreless. But hey, that’s the chaotic world of Pivetta and we’re just spectators.

J.A. Happ vs CIN (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.

Oh, now you do well against the Reds? On the day I didn’t stream you? It’s weird to see Happ favor sinkers over four-seamers for a change, and they worked to earn plenty of outs as he almost went a full six. Let’s be honest, we’re happy he didn’t push his luck. No, I’m not considering Happ as a streamer now. Not a chance.

Max Scherzer vs SD (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Gallows PoleHe flirted with perfection here, even earning an Immaculate Inning along the way. There’s a reason he was the #1 SP in the final proper edition of The List two weeks ago.

Blake Snell @ LAD (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 8 pitches.

Snell left this one with a groin injury in the first and it stinks. That could be the last we see of Snell this year and I sure hope he keeps what he learned in the second half for 2022. Quick question, do you draft Snell or Nola first next year? Not easy, is it.

Lance Lynn vs BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 70 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’m pretty sure I’m going to break down Lynn’s start for tomorrow’s YouTube video, outlining how a guy with just a cutter and four-seamer can constantly perform at this level. I’m happy he was able to perform so well at just 70 pitches against the fantastic Sawx offense (even if they’re dealing with COVID) and I’m excited for the final few weeks.

Yusei Kikuchi vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 76 pitches.

Atta boy Kikuchi! The four-seamer was still down in velocity (just 94.2 mph), but that didn’t stop the heater from dominating the zone, while the cutter did most of the heavy lifting with 40% CSW and 53% usage, landing for a ton of called strikes. This is all wonderful and dandy (still a 1.40 WHIP, by the way) and I think it makes us okay with the Royals next. The Athletics for two after that? Probably not. Let’s end on a great note against Kansas City, please.

Eric Lauer @ CLE (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 88 pitches.

Man, Lauer just keeps cruising. He could get the Cubs + Mets up next and that’s a pretty dang cool thing when his cutter is earning 38% CSW + his curveball has come to play with 44% CSW across 16 thrown. That certainly plays. Keep it up, Eric.

Jaime Barria @ HOU (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

Sure, the WHIP is terrible, but six strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA are kinda fantastic for Barria against the mighty Astros. It’s still fastball/slider all the way and the deeper ain’t the greatest (4/39 whiffs), but two starts against the Mariners are on the horizon after a stop against the Athletics. Sit that out, mark down the Mariners for later.

Lance McCullers Jr. vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 102 pitches.

Great work McCullers. The slider has evaded you for a bit, but the curve is as classic as ever. As long as one of those works, things are just fine. In other words, things are just fine.

Ryan Feltner @ PHI (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 81 pitches.

This showed a bit more promise, but we’re still not there yet, especially with the whole being a Rockies SP thing. Sit it out until something legit happens, of course.

Patrick Corbin @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 101 pitches.

AHA! YOU DID IT. The velocity is still up at 93.6 mph, while the slider did good work and you survived a start, even if it was just the Pirates. And now it’s Rockie Road + Miami. Why must you tempt us so.

Kris Bubic @ MIN (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! The changeup performed well, though he’s still leaving it up far too often. Four-seamer was decent, the curveball got outs, and there you go. It’s not a start that makes me reconsider Bubic, sadly, but I’ll put him in the group of arms who at least have a shot of doing something against the Mariners and Tigers next. I’d hate to rely on it, though.

Luis Patino @ DET (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 76 pitches.

Noooooooooo. He had three great starts, then a stumble, and now…this. Patiño, I know you’re better than a 1/15 CSW clip on your slider. Your fastball is great n all (even gained a full tick of velocity to 96/97 mph!), but without that slider, you’re not gonna excel as we know you should. Up to you if you want to risk him getting that sweeper back in a repeat start against the Tigers.

Tyler Gilbert @ SEA (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 81 pitches.

I felt it in my bones that I actually wanted to stream Gilbert over Ober, but I didn’t have the guts to change it this morning. Womp womp. Anyway, Gilbert did the normal thing of being a Toby and pushed a Win against the lowly Mariners. It works and now he has three horrible matchups so we can forget all about this until June 3rd next year, when he gets a random start vs. the Pirates and we all say Oh, right.

Sonny Gray @ STL (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches.

Despite the Loss, Gray pitched well here, using the cutter and curveball effectively + earning outs with sinkers and sliders. We’ll take this one all day and it does make for a tough call next week against the Dodgers. I’m leaning start as he’s in a decent place at the moment. It’s not the best form of Sonny – not one secondary earned more than three whiffs – but he has enough stuff in his arsenal to make it work.

Edward Cabrera @ ATL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 75 pitches.

Nah, we’re still waiting. Seeing just 2/40 whiffs on secondaries is far from what we need from Cabrera. At least he’s still throwing 97 mph, though.

Clarke Schmidt @ NYM (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 90 pitches.

He got the call with Taillon’s injury and I don’t expect he’ll stick in the rotation with Gil, Kluber, and Cortes present. What we saw was a lack of elite pitch and nothing tangible to get excited about if he were to find another start this season.

Carlos Carrasco vs NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

You’ll take the 3.60 ERA, but he’s not classic Carrasco until he has both his slider and changeup working. Here, the slider did more work than the slow ball – atypical from Carrasco’s recent focus on changeups over sliders – and it’s possible he shifted away from changeups since they simply weren’t working (1/12 CSW!). It’s not the most encouraging of performances and hopefully it will all come together across the final weeks.

Bailey Ober vs KC (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 75 pitches.

Bleeeegh. Streaming Record: 84-68. The heater is still good and the man earned six strikeouts with 16 whiffs, but a few too many ER and failure to last five ain’t it. I’m curious about Ober for 2022 as a sneaky play, but for now, we move on. That schedule is too rough with 2x Toronto ahead. Yikes.

Max Fried vs MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 89 pitches.

Like Morton, Fried allowed a trio of ER as we all expected a touch better, but the WHIP and strikeouts are why we adore him. The curveball and fastball did great work, while batters were able to get a piece of his slider far too often – 10 fouls and just 2 whiffs – and I hope that whiffability returns at some point.

Taylor Hearn @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 80 pitches.

PQS from Hearn with a Win? That’s a fantastic performance. The fastball sat a little lower at 94/95 instead of 95/96, but he got outs with the sinker and the slider was…okay. So you’re saying he’s a TobySure am. Too bad it’s the ChiSox next.

Aaron Nola vs COL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 83 pitches.

OH COME ON. This is getting ridiculous. That’s a King Cole with a crazy good 10/0 strikeout-to-walk and a pair of HRs + a ball lost in the sun + horrendous BABIP is just cruel at this point. I wonder, where are you drafting Nola in drafts next year? I can see some completely giving up and given the ability of, oh I don’t know, a 71% CSW on 24 curveballs in one game, I just can’t do that. We’ll see where things land and I’ll likely be on the favorable side. Then again, there are so many solid arms for 2022 as y’all embrace the depth of pitching and Nola could fall to the end of a large group of talent. It’ll be interesting to see. Okay, sure, but what about nowOh. Right. Start the dang man. Okay.

Logan Webb @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 81 pitches.

I was tempted to lead with Webb today, but I couldn’t figure out a (s)Logan for the headline. Annnyway this start sums up my hesitation for Webb in 2022: His sinker command wasn’t the same and his slider/changeup are good, but weren’t able to save him completely. It’s one start and far from enough to dissuade us after his ridiculous 2021 campaign, but it could be the story of September and I won’t forget it heading into next year.

James Kaprielian vs TEX (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 70 pitches.

It’s unreal. Kap just can’t handle the Rangers. Dunno what it is about them, but Jimmy can’t swing it. He didn’t have a secondary pitch working for him, including the slider that has done so dang well most of the year, and that tanked him. Fortunately for him, it’s the Angels next and that should get him in a good place to take down the Mariners after.

Bryse Wilson vs WSH (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 77 pitches.

Oh Wilson. There’s some talent in there that could come out with time, but today? Not so much. Not a single strikeout here (HAISTBMBWT?!without a single whiff on 22 secondaries. Yikes.

Steven Matz @ BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 103 pitches.

Hmmmm. Matz is a Toby who stole a Win, but didn’t do a whole for us to feel good in two starts against the Twins. That’s a close one, if you’re chasing QS + Wins, I get it. Otherwise…you may want something else.

Justin Steele vs SF (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 101 pitches.

I still can’t resist saying his name like he’s a Grindhouse character. Justin Steeeele. Anyway, he doesn’t bring the ferocity the name demands, sadly, and he needs better command if he’s going to make his stuff play next year.

Zac Lowther vs TOR (L) – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 53 pitches.

I’m speechless.

Aaron Civale vs MIL (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 64 pitches.

Jeeeeeez that’s a rough one. I still adore his curveball, but the sinker command wasn’t great, a hung curveball was smacked, and a splitter floated as well. That’s really it, and I think Civale still has legit talent to make this work. Take a start off against the Yankees where it’s too risky + the pitch count is down, but he could still be helpful against the Royals after. Don’t forget about him.


Game of the Day 


Zac Gallen vs. Clayton Kershaw – I hope Gallen gets his cutter + changeup back & it’s the return of Kershaw. Can’t wait.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch Livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

One response to “Timid Tarik”

  1. DB says:

    Webb should have had a PQS, there was some SEVERE home cooking by the score keeper in Chicago where an obvious error was called a triple, and it wasn’t the only time his defense failed him.

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