Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Nathan Eovaldi vs DET (ND) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 79 pitches.

It was the start we dream of, a time of bliss for Nathan Eovaldi across his first three starts of the year, allowing just four earned runs and fanning 14. We even gave him a pass for a 4 ER affair next time out as he paired it with 10 Ks and coasted to a win in a blowout. But then he allowed 5 ER to the Mariners, and now watched six more cross the plate against the Tigers two starts later – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Wait, that ain’t right.

The talk of the town was how Eovaldi – a man who has famously had upper 90s heat and on an endless journey trying to find the right pitch to pair it with – was suddenly equipped with many effective secondary pitches. Sliders, curveballs, splitters, cutters, he had them all working and while it didn’t seem right, here he was with a trio of fantastic matchups that we just couldn’t resist.

But now he gets Oakland after failing to effectively command his deep arsenal for the second game in three and I’m wondering if it’s time to move on. It seems harsh, but he’s never been this kind of pitcher and it may be crashing down to Earth. He failed against the Mariners & Tigers. That’s a hard sell. But hey, maybe he just got Singled Out and his plethora of options in that repertoire ultimately make it so he has something that works on a given day – his curveball did go 9/17 CSW, after all. It’s a close call with Oakland next and I’ll leave that to you. At least consider the alternatives on the wire.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Taijuan Walker @ STL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

Here I was, talking about how Walker doesn’t have a repertoire I trust to bail out his above-average heater when it’s missing and what does he do? Dominate just with his four-seamer (94.5 mph!), moments after looking back over his shoulder to mutter “My fastball doesn’t need your help.” Well excuuuuse me, Walker. It is pretty hilarious watching his splitter + curveball + slider return just 3/47 whiffs and by hilarious I mean torturous, like watching a chess novice think for five minutes and then move their knight to the edge of the board. YOU COULD BE SO MUCH MORE. It really does make you wonder if I should be calling him a Cherry Bomb more than a Toby given starts like these when his fastball works paired with the atrocities that occur when it’s gone. At the very least, he gets Baltimore next and as a right-hander, he should feast. You mean eat crow, just like you? HA Ha ha. Yes.

Andrew Heaney vs TB (ND) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 110 pitches.

On one hand, that’s a King Cole with ten strikeouts and a fantastic BSB approach…for the most part. His four-seamers were up and jamming left-handers while curveballs and changeups were mostly down. The problem here is his four-seamer dropping to 91.6 mph after we saw him sitting above 94 mph earlier in the year. Sure, that was a moment for excitement and not a new standard and we even saw it in the first two frames, but it slowed down in the third and stayed there. I really, really, want to buy this and lean into his heater’s 12/59 whiffs, but I’ve experienced these days of excitement in the past and I know the hurt when he makes too many mistakes – he just allowed 4 ER to the Mariners in his previous outing! It’s why he’s labeled as a Cherry Bomb to me but hey, that’s a 2.19 ERA now if you remove his season debut. Maybe this is the year, after all. Maybe.

Collin McHugh @ LAA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 61% CSW, 23 pitches.

It’s cool to see McHugh “starting”, but it was really Josh Fleming going 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks across 67 pitches. It’s not enough for me to chase unless I’m dire for a Win – he’ll be the guy completing the fifth often. If that’s what you’re into, then go right ahead, but the repertoire is pretty forgettable, sadly.

Zack Wheeler vs MIL (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 118 pitches.

I want to say AGA, but Wheeler has more games at 3 ER or more (4) than not (3). It really does feel like Wheeler should do this a ton as the Phillies let him go deep at 118 pitches. Okay fine, the Brewers are an atrocious offense right now with Yelich indefinitely on the IL and the disappointment that is Hiura’s 2021, but that doesn’t change the fact that Wheeler earned 8/36 whiffs on sliders and was stupid good with his fastball. He’s one of the more relaxing pitchers to watch as he always hovers his spot with smooth heaters. Just like the ocean, under the moon Smooth heaters.

Pablo Lopez vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

PabLo is far and away the best starter in baseball without a Win. That’s baseball, Suzyn. I’m still digging his four-seamer command to jam batters and we even saw some effective cutters to left-handers as well + one or two curveballs that had a nice shape to them. There’s still work to be done with those latter two offerings, but the changeup found the zone and got strikes + outs, and as long as he has that slowball, everything should be fine.

Drew Smyly @ WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 98 pitches.

Ha! This actually worked. Streaming Record: 22-11. Remember what got us excited about Smyly? It was his 93/94 mph velocity from September last year that somewhat carried over into this season. Here? Smyly sat 92.1 mph. Whooooops. Don’t look at this and think Smyly is back to being that legit arm, he should stay firmly on your wire instead, especially with the Jays up next.

Triston McKenzie @ KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

We debated this one a lot this week, from the OTC Podcast to the morning Twitch stream (I’m live and answer all your questions from 8:30 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday!) and I leaned start in the end. Now that it’s over, I hated this. I watched the full outing and I just can’t buy into where McKenzie is at the moment. His heater at 91 mph and was difficult to watch as it constantly missed its location and while his slider had some wonderful moments that showcased its true upside with tight break at 85/86 mph, the rest of them were poor misses that forced McKenzie to try with his fastball instead. It was truly rough. I feel guilty that I had him as high on The List as I did back in April and I’d be avoiding that Cubs start next. And hey, if he pans out later this year and he’s someone else’s team, bless ’em. You don’t need to rely on McKenzie putting it together to win your league.

Brandon Woodruff @ PHI (L) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I feel like we don’t appreciate Woodruff enough as he, once again, coasting through nearly seven full innings. It was a lot of fun watching him and Wheeler go toe-to-toe and I’ll be honest, it felt a lot better watching Wheeler’s four-seamer than Woodruff’s. But hey, Woodruff knows how to get whiffs with it and there’s a little more consistency with the full repertoire. It’s why he earned 23 whiffs and a Gallows Pole and all Wheeler got was a…CGSHO. Yeah, Brandon, you showed him…

John Gant vs NYM (L) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 98 pitches.

Let’s head to our checklist. He failed to go five full frames despite nearly tossing 100 pitches. He returned a 2.54 WHIP. But he also gave you a good ERA and 16 whiffs are cool…? You know this isn’t the life you want.

Madison Bumgarner @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 85 pitches.

Two starts down, one to go. Bumgarner has coasted like we expected him to, first with Rockie Road and now Miami. He gets one more date with the fish next time out and with that fastball still at 91 mph, you know we’re starting him again. I may even want to hold for the Nationals after, too.

Gerrit Cole vs HOU (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna…only earn four strikeouts?! Whaaaaaat. His changeup was the talk of the town in April and failed to show up, while his slider and curveball nearly earned more outs than CSW. Just one of those games, I guess, he still helped y’all out plenty.

Michael Pineda vs TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

The slider returned in his last start and Pineda took this lovely gift of the Rangers offense and churned yet another productive start. Now he’ll get a proper challenge for once as he faces the White Sox but I don’t you’ll be able to resist. I don’t blame you, just make sure you’re at peace with your decision. Inner turmoil is a terrible thing and you have the power to change it. It’s a choice and we all want you to make it.

Spencer Turnbull @ BOS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 80 pitches.

Throw in a pair of unearned runs as Turnbull had to throw more than he should have, which was sad since all it of is pain. Sorry, sorry, it’s just tough to endure only two whiffs on secondary pitches as Turnbull is so far from “locked-in”. At least he’s throwing more four-seamers than sinkers, though. That’s cool, I guess. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t come with legit breakers!

Lance McCullers Jr. @ NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 105 pitches.

McCullers looked a bit shaky early and ultimately settled down, even if it was for a VVPQS in the end. The Yankees are no joke and it’s good to see the strikeouts alive as he’s getting pushed over 100 pitches. It is very weird to see him have this much success without his slider or curveball doing major things (yes, I know the ratios are bad, but it’s six innings, this is real baseball good) – he relied on his changeup 23% of the time for 38% CSW. That’s not typical and you have to think he’s even better next time out against the Angels.

Jordan Lyles @ MIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 83 pitches.

The new slider was BACK BAYBE with 37% CSW and 7/30 whiffs and honestly, I kinda dug the whole approach with four-seamers as well. His curveball was horrendous, though, and he made too many mistakes, resulting in a ghastly 1.80 WHIP that I swear made my apartment building’s dogs howl like it was Frau Blucher. Anyway, there may be some sneaky starters with Lyles down the road and I could even see a desperate deep league consider him against the Giants in Oracle Park. I’d avoid for 12-teamers, though.

Danny Duffy vs CLE (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 107 pitches.

Noooo the man is mortal after all. The fastball was still coming in hawt at 93.6 mph – slightly lower, but still great – and his slider was working well, but he got Singled Out and that was that. Keep starting Duffy.

Jon Lester vs ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

Mmmmm nah. He had decent cutter command here, but there ain’t enough in the tank to make me think Lester is anything more than a rare streamer against the worst offenses, and even then I’m a little shaky.

Hyun Jin Ryu @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.

Whoa, maybe it was a Still ILL after all? I’m glad he tossed 91 pitches, but his command was a bit off, failing to land outside the zone and force chases like he normally does. Shake this off and be glad he’s not hurt anymore. He’ll rebound.

Mike Fiers vs TOR (L) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 69 pitches.

The Jays are solid and Fiers isn’t. That’s it? That’s it. I’m honestly impressed he was able to get two strikeouts with those four whiffs.


Game of the Day 


Patrick Corbin vs. Jameson Taillon – Can Corbin get it together? We will see that slider taking shape for Taillon? I need to know.


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


Photo by Brian Rothmuller/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.

10 responses to “UnfortuNate”

  1. Bbboston says:

    If you haven’t, see addition to note ion Hentges at Signing the Cease

  2. DJ PINK KOOLAID says:

    Would you drop Turnbyll for Laeur?

  3. Chris says:

    Pablo threw one curveball yesterday that arguably was the best I had seen from him this year. Had actually a lot of horizontal movement which was pretty sneaky.

    • theKraken says:

      Thats a slurve. Guys that throw a slurve will not have consistent CB shape – that would be my prediction anyways.

  4. Dave says:

    Would you drop Patrick Corbin for Kenta Maeda?

  5. Sam says:

    I watched both of those Eovaldi starts, and he was plagued with unlucky BABIP and some shitty defense. Not sure I’d be “moving on” from a guy with a 60% LOB, no homers allowed, good to great xera/fip/xfip/sierra, and a top 40 K-BB%.

    • theKraken says:

      Move on based on the track record spanning his entire career. HR allowed is the most worthless stat there is – there is absolutely no precedent for him having any ability to mitigate hard contact in his career or manage HR at all (mythical skill for the most part). All of those metrics you cited are fueled by HR avoidance. Its like saying a guy has a high barrel rate, hard rate and number of barrels… or a million other examples of derivative metrics. Chronically high BABIPs like his are his fault – it means his command is poor and he misses in the middle of the plate and lacks general pitchability. It is common in hard throwers as they relied on talent through their development. I would say that is about the scouting report on him. I think what he is is OK at best. His ratios should be manageable thanks to command, but he will get smashed too much and lacks the Ks to tolerate much bad. I have not seen him pitch – maybe something has changed. In most cases, you don’t need to when there is a track record like his that has been well understood for years. You are better off assuming this is still the same guy as an injury isn’t far off either which realistically stunts many ideas about growth. I am not aware of anyone ever fixing the hard contact bug who has it like this guy.

      • Sam says:

        You mean the track record where he’s a 3.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and good to great K-BB% guy his last 2 healthy seasons, with underlying and advanced stats that back it up since his skills and pitch mix changed? Because everything he’s doing right now is in line with those seasons, which is a very useful fantasy pitcher

  6. theKraken says:

    Isn’t it interesting that TMac always misses bats even with poor velo and command? It has been that way since he signed a pro contract. What is most interesting is that he has never had less than great command until thus year. I don’t know what to make of it. Maybe its luck but it goes back as far as his history goes. He clearly doesn’t fit the power pitcher/ glorified reliever mold, which isn’t a crime. I suspect it is more of a pitcher package as opposed to the thrower package where his FB doesn’t play on its own, but in relation to the rest of the arsenal. Think Greinke or Rich Hill. Lynn is of that mold as well but he throws harder. I hate to throw this around, but maybe there is a bit of Kenley deception there. I don’t know why he puts up the results he does, he just does and since people can pin down why he gets knocked for it. The era where we appreciate superficial analysis more than performance. I’, not saying that he is an ace, but the positives are really interesting for a guy with so little on the surface. It won’t be pretty to watch, but the BB which have no roots in past performance are the only issue performance wise. I do think it is fairly likely that he is injured considering the velo and BB, but maybe the dude just knows how to pitch. Literally every rate is a career worst as I look at it, so an injury is somewhat likely, but then again he has succeeded without overwhelming stuff all the way up the ladder. My favorite guys are the the ones that get consistent results without the power arsenal. Those guys don’t get many opportunities in today’s game and they have always proven to be as good at anyone at pitching. Isn’t it weird that Greg Maddux would not be particularly valued in this era? Like Kenley Jansen, we would be talking about what he isn’t because he has no need be anything else. I can’t say I would have TMac much higher than top 50, but he is interesting.

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