Top of the Hill

I’m not incredibly impressed with pitchers often, but I have to hand it to Rich Hill after he made many owners who benched him against the mighty Tigers regret their life choices...

I’m not incredibly impressed with pitchers often, but I have to hand it to Rich Hill after he made many owners who benched him against the mighty Tigers regret their life choices after posting a luscious line of 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks.  Hill’s Curveball is just so good these days that he’s able to mix in his 89 MPH Fastball effectively enough to blow it past Miguel Cabrera for strikeouts.  It’s absurd and defies all logic from a 36-year-old starter, but it’s happening right in front of us.  Hill has a decent schedule ahead, but it really doesn’t matter unless he were facing the Jays or heading to Coors at this point.  Throw him out there until this madness ends and we can lean back reminiscing about that time an old southpaw was pitching like a Cy Young contender.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Johnny Cueto – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. I almost led with Cueto instead, but there really isn’t much to say.  You should be starting Cueto if you own him – espeically against the Padres – and this makes him hold 3 good starts vs. 2 bad ones on the season.  That sounds about right to me.  I know some of you will see this as a major defiance to my anti-Cueto schtick, and I hope you realize that if Cueto didn’t take advantage of the Padres, he wouldn’t be ranked as #27 right now.  Feel me?

Carlos Martinez – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Soooo CMart hasn’t collected more than six Ks in any of his four starts so far.  And he now holds a 4.26 xFIP.  It’s super early, I know, but that’s a bit peculiar coming from a guy we at least expected a 8.50 K/9 from, right?  FYI, I know we haven’t been doing Minimalist Scores yet this year, but CMart got himself what may be our lowest of the year thus far with an 8.  If there has been a lower one this year, let me know in the comments.

Nate Karns – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I was worried about Karns vs the Stros given his walk habits lately, and while they didn’t slow down this time out, he got fortunate with BABIP and he gave you a decent amount of Ks.  I believe I was a bit too high on Karns in the preseason, though he is serviceable against weaker teamers for a stream in deep 12 teamers.

A.J. Griffin – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Before Griffin succumbed to TJS and took three years to return to the game, he wasn’t a bad pitcher, just not all too great.  It doesn’t shock me all too much that he can do something like this, but note that he holds a 4.82 xFIP and just a 6.12 K/9 with a 3.12 BB/9 after this outing.

Chris Sale – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace.  Even against the Jays.

David Price – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 14 Ks. I told you how frustrating it is to own Price.  One day it’s 8 ER, the next 14 strikeouts.  Just stick him in there and don’t take him out.

James Shields – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks.  The low ERA/WHIP is cool, the lack of strikeouts are not.  Aren’t racking up Ks supposed to be what you’re good for these days?

Kyle Hendricks – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks.  Solid rebound for Hendricks as he’s only in there to grab you a Win without killing your peripherals.  *Whisper in ear*  Wait, he didn’t get the Win?  Dude.  Bro.  What’s the hold up.  *More whispers in ear*.  Maddon pulled him for a pinch hitter after just 69 pitches to take advantage of a bases-loaded situation?  I don’t care if it worked, that’s as whack as a murder on The Sopranos.

Ricky Nolasco – 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. The Nolasco train keeps rolling along, and he’s pretty much survived being moved to the pen after both Kyle Gibson and Ervin Santana have been moved to the DL.  You know what that means!?  Jose Berrios HERE WE COME.  Seriously, grab Berrios wherever possible as he debuts Wednesday night.  What about Nolasco?  What about him?  Two solid starts in a row don’t mean squat versus a history of more suckage than a vacuum cleaner going in for the kiss.

Jimmy Nelson – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. You know, Nelson could be a productive starter one day if he knocks out the walks and maintains his ~7.50 K/9.  That “if” is bigger than Dusty’s love for toothpicks, but it’s possible.

Clayton Kershaw – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks.  Kershaw was absolutely dominating the Fish until the 7th when it all fell apart, climaxed by a Monster Dong from Giancarlo Stanton.  Whatever, he’s still Kersh and everything but that ERA is superb.

Brandon Finnegan – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks.  In today’s edition of pitchers being left in too long, Finnegan was A-OK until the 7th when Yoenis popped a three run bomb on Finnegan’s 107th pitch.  I wish pitchers were able to pitch strongly well past 100 like back in the old days (I’m talking like 1999 old days), but it’s not the case anymore and it’s really tough to endure pitchers – especially young guns – get over extended deep into games and get burned for it.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Ubaldno, amiright?  Really Nick?  It’s late, I got sleep to do.

Vincent Velasquez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I still like Velasquez, but I hope you sold him when I told you to after his glorious Padres outing.

Tom Koehler – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks.  I’m as shocked as Darth Vader when the Emperor attacked him in Episode VI.  But the Emperor only shocked Luke, not Darth Vader.  Exactly.  Ohhhhhhhhhh.

Max Scherzer – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. We’re all guilty of it (even me in this article!), but Scherzer is a great example of why we shouldn’t put too much weight on rate stats and ERA/FIP/xFIP this early in the year.  Scherzer’s xFIP is at 3.93 right now and I’ll be you a shiny quarter that he won’t be anywhere near a 4.00 ERA this year.  Yeah, it’s not going his way right now, but he’ll figure it out.  The stuff is still there to dominate.

Jake Odorizzi – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Hmmmm.  The strikeouts haven’t showed up since his 10 K debut, and how hard can it be to strike out more than one Oriole batter?  I wouldn’t be buying Odorizzi right now.

Gerrit Cole – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh.  I find it really hard to be all-in on Cole.  I can’t be alone in this, right?

Dallas Keuchel – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Oh boy, yet another “ace” is taking a major step back in April.  There is obviously something very wrong with Keuchel and I’ll have to take some time to decipher exactly what that is.  Have too many people incorrectly pronounced his name?  Did his beard grow slightly too long?  Has he discovered the irony that his name is Dallas but he plays in Houston?  Questions just lead to more questions…

Bartolo Colon – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The Big Apple served as our Call Boy and was…okay.  Alright Colon, maybe I’ll see you in a week or two again.

Jered Weaver – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Seriously Weaver, why are you still making me write about you.  Why are you still in the majors.  Why are you doing this.  WHY?  Y?

Shelby Miller – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks.  Miller is looking like this these days.  That’s the wrong Miller.  You’re the wrong Miller.  Yes you should drop him if you haven’t already.

Mike Pelfrey – 6.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I pray for the man that is forced to start Pelfrey in his leagues.

Matt Wisler – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. There may come a time that Wisler is actually a serviceable starter.  Now is not that time.

Jorge De La Rosa – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. De La Rosa has limited upside, pitches his home games at Coors Field, and doesn’t deserve a spot on your team. This should be the blurb for every Colorado starter.

R.A. Dickey – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Dickey told me he could do a cartwheel.  It was a somersault.  Don’t trust a knuckleballer.

Cody Anderson – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks.  I prefer Agent Cody Banks to this.  Seriously.

Luis Severino – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Alright alright I concede that I’ve dropped the ball with Severino quite a bit.  After his last start, I believed he was trending in the right direction, but clearly the kid has a lot left to figure out before taking it to the next level.  He has Top 30 stuff in the tank with an electric Fastball and a plus Slider, but he’s taking too much advice from Pineda clearly and making mistakes too often.  I’m obviously dropping him near #50 come next week (maybe further), though I do truly believe he will turn it around this season not before long.  My apologies to those who stuck it through with me.

Edinson Volquez – 5.0 IP, 8 ER, 12 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Welp, so much for Volquez turning the corner and becoming a new man.  Pack this one up boys.

Today’s Streamer

Josh Tomlin vs. Minnesota Twins – How he’s owned in just 10.2% of ESPN leagues is unknown to me, but now you can be a part of a minority and feel awesome about it.  Sweeeeet.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tanner Roark vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I can’t believe I’m actually endorsing Roark, but it’s either a guy who just struck out 15 batters and now faces another poor offensive ballclub or relying on Anibal Sanchez to not continue his painful struggles as he faces the Athletics.  Give me the strikeout anomaly guy.

Game of the Day

Jose Berrios vs. Cleveland Indians – It’s our second stud prospect debut in the past week and there will be a fresh GIF Breakdown waiting for you guys come Thursday morning.  Grab your popcorn and let’s enjoy a fun debut.

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.

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