To ER Is Human

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Eduardo Rodriguez vs HOU (ND) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 106 pitches.

This should be relatively quick. After going 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks against the Astros today, Eduardo Rodríguez holds a 6.03 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP. That hurts. A lot. He is striking out batters above a 25% rate, and there were some signs of encouragement as he earned 13 whiffs between his four-seamer and changeup, but the slow ball isn’t good enough at the moment and there wasn’t much else to offer. It’s a problem.

If you’re still holding onto Eduardo at the moment, simply put: don’t. He gets Atlanta next, and while there will be some great starts ahead through the year, there’s just too much risk in the way. This wasn’t a game where he pitched well but the results weren’t there. This was a game where he had hints of success but made too many mistakes. Don’t let him keep bringing you down.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Ian Anderson @ PHI (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 98 pitches.

To forgive is divine. Anderson did a phenomenal job getting his changeup to land at the bottom of the zone while keeping his fastballs alluring and mixing in a decent amount of hooks. He’s not totally there yet, but it’s an improvement. I think I’m okay starting him next time against the Sox.

Zack Wheeler vs ATL (ND) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 105 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He’s just too dang good, even earning 53% CSW on 32 sliders in this one. My heart is at its fullest.

Tyler Alexander vs SEA (ND) – 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 56 pitches.

Hey, it’s T-Lex! And he only went 2.2 pitches in this bullpen game. Yay.

Freddy Peralta @ CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 75 pitches.

Aces gonna…toss just four innings. Ugh. His four-seamer wasn’t nearly as good as we’ve seen in the past, carrying just a 17% CSW in this one, leading to an early hook as he failed to give us the efficiency he needs. Sure, this will happen every so often, and it’s a feature, not a bug. Don’t worry about it. Note: I should mention that a 30+ minute rain delay did ultimately kick Peralta from the game, though 75 pitches/4 IP is still inefficient and should be taken into consideration.

Mike Minor @ OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 106 pitches.

Whoaaa, solid stuff here from Minor as he…sat 89.8 mph. Jeeeeez. Yeah, it’s getting worse, yet he earned 12 whiffs on the pitch. His spin rates were down with that velocity dip, but he was able to command the pitch in the upper third, doing his best BSB impression and it clearly worked. I don’t buy it, but if he continues to have this command I guess we have to listen? I dunno, it feels like a trap.

Frankie Montas vs KC (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 96 pitches.

Solid stuff from Montas, who recognized his splitter was gone and leaned instead on 23% sliders, returning 32% CSW on the pitch. His fastballs were excellent and having that one secondary offering to perform well is all he needed to succeed against the mediocre Royals. I’m not terribly thrilled given that we have yet to see a start where his fastballs + splitter + slider are all working in tandem, but I’m still starting Montas indefinitely, especially against LAA + @TEX + @SFG next.

Trevor Rogers vs COL (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 87 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a King Cole. There’s a reason we call it Rockie Road, and it’s good to see Trevor take full advantage. Fun fact: All three pitches earned at least 35% CSW. So fun.

Dallas Keuchel vs TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 104 pitches.

Wait what. Keuchel earned 21 whiffs and a Gallows Pole?! Have I changed timelines? Am I a Variant?! I’m in shock here, but his cutter earned 10/35 whiffs while the changeup went 9/38 on its own. Unreal. And here I was sad that he wasn’t facing the Tigers tomorrow. He gets the Rays next and I guess we have no choice but to start him there. Just 30% fastballs in the one.

Michael King @ MIN (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 69 pitches.

Yeaaaah, there is nothing of interest here. Seriously, nothing. I wouldn’t be considering King in any capacity, kinda like the Minutemen of old. No King! No King!

Hyun Jin Ryu @ CWS (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna earn a PQS with just three strikeouts. Not all of us can be Robbie RayHis cutter and changeup weren’t at its peak — again — and I’m hoping they’ll both return next time out.

Justus Sheffield @ DET (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.

Nooooo. Streaming Record: 41-28. Sheff was able to get whiffs with his slider + earn a 35% CSW on changeups, but it’s a product of his sinker performing like a glove filled with molasses. Why is that the image you wanted to give us. Because he’s forced to deal with it and we’re all so sorry about the circumstance. If you can’t handle the Tigers as a southpaw, you can’t be trusted to handle anything. Not even your taxes? Not even your taxes. Gasp.

Julio Urías @ PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

Aces gonna disappoint…? I feel like we all wanted more from Urías than a PQS against the Pirates, but hey, I guess this helps. So yeah, be better but I’m happy you’re not terrible?

Luis Castillo vs MIL (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

That’s two straight productive starts from Castillo, though the three earned runs sure are annoying. He got more whiffs with changeups as he sat 97/98 mph as we’re starting to get confident slotting Castillo into our lineups. He has one more start against the Brewers next to get on a roll before San Diego + Atlanta next, and let’s hope he makes us feel better about that gauntlet.

Zack Greinke @ BOS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 64 pitches.

Bleeeegh. Greinke was a Questionable Start like Eduardo on the opposite side of this slugfest matchup and Greinke wasn’t able to do a whole lot with anything but his sub 90 mph heater. Brush it off, you have success waiting for you ahead as he gets TEX, @BAL, @DET ahead. It’s about to get lovely up in here.

Mitch Keller vs LAD (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches.

I had no expectations for Mitch against the Dodgers, yet I’m somehow still disappointed. Maybe it’s the 0/16 whiffs on curveballs. Yeah, that’ll do it.

J.A. Happ vs NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 101 pitches.

Happ just isn’t something you want to consider, like getting a third remote for your TV when you’re living in a studio apartment. I just don’t see the point. Neither do I.

Chi Chi González @ MIA (L) – 5.0 IP, 8 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 88 pitches.

Womp womp. I was considering this one a deep stream as Chi Chi has a long leash and faced a poor offense outside Coors, and boy was barking up the wrong tree. That’s the last time I look at Ginkgo the same way. Let’s not make this mistake again.


Game of the Day 


Blake Snell vs Jacob deGromIt’s deGOAT and we can’t take him for granted, while Snell should build off his dominance last time out. You need to watch this.


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


Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare

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.

14 responses to “To ER Is Human”

  1. TruthTeller says:

    If wheeler isn’t above Bieber in the next week update… i don’t know if I can trust this as a helpful tool anymore. Bieber and nola’a biased love needs to come down to reality.
    1. deGrom (and by a long shot)
    2. Cole
    3. Woodruff
    4. Wheeler
    Prove me wrong.

    • DB says:

      I hear ya on Woodruff, he’s definitely performing better than a lot of people give him credit for thus far, but Pollack has a point about the innings limit. I’ve been thinking about this hard for a few weeks now, and regardless of whether the Brewers are treating him conservatively or not, (which they’re not right now,) he likely WILL hit a wall whether it’s manufactured or physical. He’s only ever pitched 120ish innings max and usually well below 100.

      I think I’m gonna trade him for something juicy a little while before my league’s deadline if he makes it that far without injury… I have that luxury as I’ve got both Severino and Sale stashed in IL slots and I’m killing that league right now.

      As far as Wheeler, I’m not well versed enough in his work this season other than write-ups like these to make a judgement call, but it DOES seem like Bieber is getting the opposite of recency bias in A LOT of places… and I’m not just worried about his offense and bullpen leading to fewer W’s and QS’s, if I were, I wouldn’t be as high as I am on Woodruff. It’s a minor case of Castillo Syndrome, I think.

    • DB says:

      TBF, The List has never pretended to be anything but the result of one man’s opinion who is very well educated on pitching and fantasy baseball. I’ve never taken it as gospel, and I’m very, very grateful for the insights Nick has provided me over the years, even if I will often disagree with certain specifics.

      It is also based, every week, on his ROS projections, rather than performance up until now, hence the hesitation to move Woodruff up over the last couple months.

      That being said, the TATIAGA tiara (lol) definitely deserves to be bestowed on deGrom. Kershaw’s been slowly on the way down since his first serious back-related IL stint.

      • Jayson says:

        “It is also based, every week, on his ROS projections, rather than performance up until now, hence the hesitation to move Woodruff up over the last couple months.”

        That’s literally the issue, no?
        Maybe The List is subjective and has never pretended to be objective, but subjectivity doesn’t mean illogicality! The List is a ranking of SP. What’s the point of The List is the ranking isn’t based on what has been done so far in the season? Over 1/3 of the season consumed already. At some point it just doesn’t make any sense to rank some SPs higher than others based on pre-season projection. Here we already crossed the line of “it’s because The List is subjective”.

        At this point of the season, unless you’re blind it’s safe for anybody around the world to state that Wheeler is nowhere a T3 SP. T3 box where you have the so-called ace Nola lol. Rodon is T4 and Nola T3? It’s not about subjectivity here. You may love one and hate the other it doesn’t change anything about the unbreakable fact for 99.99% of people who watch baseball that Rodon is way better than Nola. The fact that Rodon wasn’t announced as good or the fact he is an injury-prone guy doesn’t change anything. When Rodon is healthy to pitch, he has a Nola in each arm. That’s what everybody has been seeing for over 1/3 of the season.

        The other guy and even myself do understand The List is subjective. What we don’t understand is the illogicality going along. Corbin Burnes also has a IP limit issue yet it’s funny how it doesn’t apply for him like it applies for Woodruff. Rodon is an injury prone guy but magically it doesn’t apply to Darvish when doing the ranking of The List.
        Subjectivity is fine! But here it’s more than that! The List isn’t a ranking reflecting the best to the worst pitcher any longer. And it’s all good. But it’s a fact so just make it clear. Advertise it otherwise it’s intellectually dishonest.

        PS: I don’t know how The List could have been helpful for you cause The List is telling you that you would win if you would trade away Rodon to grab Nola! Can we just stop being clowns here?

        • zomgie says:

          Good grief.

        • Mallex P. Keaton says:

          If you read the notes instead of just going off the rankings, you’d know that Nick has consistently said that Burnes’ consistent ability to pack big time production on a per-IP basis increases his value, so much so that it blunts the IP limit hanging over his ROS outlook.

          • Jayson says:

            Although English isn’t my mother tongue, I think that I clearly wrote about this point, no? I read the notes just like most people. And the point is that some rules cited in the so-called notes apply for some pitchers but not for others…

            Finally, let me ask you a simple question. Do you prefer a pitcher pitching like an ace for 100 IP or a pitcher pitching like a below-average pitcher for 160 IP? The IP limit argument doesn’t make any sense. That’s just a fact lol. You will get more benefits to run guys like Burnes, Woodruff, Trevor Rogers, Glasnow, or even Rodon who are likely to suffer from IP limit or injury until they indeed get injured or shut down than to run guys like Nola and few other names who don’t justify at all their so high position in The List. And those guys with IP limit or injury threats will be down, you can just find a replacement for them. Not as good, but at the end it’s just statistically unbreakable it’s going to give you more win/points than to run Nola and some other names so high in The List for no reason apart from pre-season projections.

        • DB says:

          You realize “ROS projections” stands for “Rest Of Season projections” rather than pre-season projections, right?

          No one is ignoring what’s happened during the season when this is created, they just weigh those results differently than you obviously do.

          I don’t understand why it would make you rant this way unless you are taking it as the main reason why you make decisions for your team, and if you’re doing that… ummm… I don’t know what to tell you.

    • TruthTeller says:

      I get woody with the inning limit. I’m more so saying that bieber and nola just arent where they were when they dominated. And just like castillo, its been long enough that they should dip some. I own these guys and understand i want them to do well. But what i want shouldn’t bias what they are showing us. Not saying they are terrible pitchers, but some have made huge strides upwards this year and worked gradually toward this over a couple seasons so isnt just a small sample birthday party (wheeler). Bieber/Nola have stepped back a tier or 2.

  2. Jake says:

    Freddy would’ve kept pitching if not for the rain delay in the 4th. Might’ve only gone 5, but it wasn’t a hook

  3. R says:

    Peralta was pulled because of rain delay. Otherwise was fine.

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