Waining Or Waxing?

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

(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

Okay, you might want to pick up Adam Wainwright after going 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks last night against the Dodgers. I normally do this massive dive into pitchers for this opening blurb, but today I wanted to do something different. Something abrupt because I know I’ll be taking questions on Waino’s next start against the Giants and the only reason I’m okay with it is because it’s the horrible horrible Giants. Yes, two horribles. It’s a terrible offense and even though I expected to be telling you all about why this start was a fluke – it still was – and how we can’t expect it to return, it’ll still be a decent gamble for those that need streamers this week to chase him against the Giants. The Cubs after? Not a chance. But you could do worse than Wainwright as long as you can stomach the possible atrocity that is his floor. See? Quick and easy, right to the point. 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Diego Castillo1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. FALSE START. It’s so fun.

Chris Sale3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. They said three frames, he gave you three frames. Next is four and you’re banging your head on the wall as Sale isn’t doing enough when you need him. It sucks, not to mention that I would have loved to have him pegged for the Cy Young, and there’s a question if his 150 vs. Snell’s current 164 is a large enough gap (it’ll be larger by season’s end). I don’t have an answer right now.

Trevor Williams6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Ugggggh. Are you guys also a little frustrated with this? The argument for Williams is that he is essentially the next Kyle Hendricks and I just don’t buy that for a moment, especially when he has a 7.6% whiff rate. Go ahead, Vargas Rule it all you want, I understand it completely given his recent success. I just see someone that is pulling an Andrew Cashner from 2017 where it could crumble at any instant. It’s the Brewers and Cubs next, after all.

Luis Castillo6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. So he did well for team, just not in the way I expected. Seriously, it’s wild to see just five whiffs and 16/98 CSW from Castillo. That’s really bad. Fastball was at 97mph, but 3/26 changeup whiffs with just 3/15 SNIP from his slider says it all. Blegh. I’m a little more cautious about the future outings now, though not enough for me to pull back on it. 

Lance Lynn5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Lovely, lovely upside from Lynn and that’s two solid games after a four-game rough patch that included three starts above 5 ER. If you picked him up for yesterday, you can hold onto him for the O’s as well later this week and maybe the Rays after as well.

Dereck Rodriguez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. And Dereck keeps cruising along as this was a clear start against Rocky Road. I still think he’ll get overdrafted next year with that 2.30 ERA and 3.36 FIP (*cough* 4.41 SIERA *cough*), but I won’t ignore that I can see his skills improving to help balance the expected regression next season. I see a solid Toby and that’s about it. Too bad he misses both matchups against the Padres from the Cardinals + Dodgers, though.

Antonio Senzatela5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Senz-A got the Giants outside of Coors and was serviceable. That’s cool, most guys should be in those circumstances. Awww Nick, that’s harsh. I mean, Senz-a is as average as they come, so congrats? I don’t know. Just don’t start him.

Jose Urena5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. He pulled it off again, this time against the Phillies. A right-hand cramp forced him to leave early, but that’s alright Urena, you already did good work. He gets the Reds next and I’m pretty iffy on that one. I’d prefer not if there were other decent choices. Streaming Record: 96-45.

Justin Verlander7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Verlander earned himself a Gallows Pole with 24 whiffs and life is wonderful. Hope this was the boost you needed on Sunday.

Jhoulys Chacin5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s starts like these that have kept Chacin on your team, as it sits at a 3.60 ERA for the day. I guess you let him fly for the rest of the way against Pittsburgh and Detroit, then forget this season ever happened.

Mike Minor6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Minor got the Padres and did what Minor has done for months. He might be the unsung hero of your staff when all is said and done. He gets the Mariners next and you have not choice but to let it ride.

Thomas Pannone7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. You see this start against the Yankees and the previous 2 ER game against the Tribe and you can’t help but wonder…Is he The Pannone? Probably more like the None, heyyyyyyyo. I just don’t buy his 88mph schtick, even if it came with 33/103 CSW. We already saw the floor with 7 ER against the Orioles and is that changeup really that good? I don’t think it is. Sorry Tommy, you’re not a Young Gun.

Jose Quintana5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s six starts of 2 ER or fewer from Jose. Better late than never I guess…? What has he done differently? I see a much better executed four-seamer. Better fastballs, better results, Papa Johns.

Tanner Roark5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Roark has been all kinds of infuriating lately and this is…so boring. I think we’ll take boring right now.

Jaime Barria5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Speaking of boring, Barria got the M’s and produced a whole lot of blegh. That’s because Barria is a whole lot of blegh.

Jacob deGrom7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. 3 ER though? A 1.78 season ERA just isn’t good enough.

Mike Fiers4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Ahhhh it’s about time we started to see the Fiers we deserve. Yes, deserve. The luck always fades.

Marco Gonzales5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. We were debating who would get a Quality Start in the Discord Server and Marco was an interesting option. He flashed a better cutter in the start prior and it was worse in this one. Not the most terrible line, though, but definitely not what we were looking for. I wouldn’t expect much better in the final two weeks.

David Hess4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. For disappointment this year, the Hess Truck’s here! But seriously, seven Ks? Huh. Still not worth it, but…huh.

Francisco Liriano7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. 7 Ks, a 1.00 WHIP, and a Quality Start is as lovely as it ever gets in Liriano Land. Main attractions are “A Walk To Forget” and “A Distant ERA.”

Jacob Nix6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Nix gave you a PQS with 3 Ks in a decent matchup against the Rangers in San Diego. Yay. I was a bit impressed with his MLB Debut and the results after have been terribly average if not below it…which doesn’t seem right to me. Either way, it’s the Dodgers and Dbacks next and that’s a clear bench.

Nick Pivetta5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Eight strikeouts are cool n stuff, but do you mind not allowing 3 ER as well? Especially against the Marlins? I’m really starting to wonder if this is Samardzija/Pineda 2.0 here and it’ll be an interesting draft season figuring out where Pivetta goes. The bad news here is that Pivetta gets the Braves and Rockies next, which I think is an overall drop for Pivetta. Too much ratio risk despite the Ks. It’ll be a “maybe” for the Braves, but a clear sit in Coors and I wonder if streaming would be a better option for you.

Ross Stripling3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. We didn’t expect a lot of innings here and we got 10 outs. What a sad story given Stripling’s dominance in the middle of the year. Stupid #Dodgeritis.

Zack Greinke6.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Greinke noooo. You were able to survive your first tough game in Coors with a Quality Start, but it wasn’t meant to be with a blegh out against the Astros that gave you nothing. Fortunately, it’s now Rocky Road and if you’re still alive, Greinke will help + he’ll possibly get a bigger discount in drafts next year…?

Lucas Giolito6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Today was the day of the discount starters that I like all failing me. Here’s Giolito against the stupid Orioles and who was the stupid one? LUCAS. Just 15/97 CSW is terrible, as his changeup was gone. GONE. He tried to pitch backwards with his slider to help, and it was okay, four whiffs overall is pitiful, and there isn’t much else to say here. He now gets the Cubs and that’s a clear sit, while he’s a possible stream (I imagine he’ll be dropped enough…?) for the game against the Twins after.

Jake Junis3.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Continuing along, Junis has been red hot and suddenly earned 2 whiffs in 82 pitches against the Twins. What is it will super low whiff counts today? The Tigers are next and I wouldn’t be so scared that you can’t run him out there one more time. And I mean one more time as it’s the Indians next.

Shane Bieber6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Speaking of the Indians, BIEBER COME ON. I even led with you last time and here were the Tigers. A team that you should cruise though, but you let us all down. How dare you. His fastball was super hittable once again – 92mph Exit Velocity on 11 BIP! – and there wasn’t enough of a supporting cast to help. Be better, Biebs. Please. At least we know not to start you against the Sawx, but the Royals after should be fine…right?

Kyle Gibson6.2 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. And then there’s Gibson, who got a bit Singled Out against the Royals. The man has been all over the place, though there is something to be said about his expectations rising after years of fantasy irrelevance. Anyway, bench for the A’s next, start against the ChiSox. Good luck.

Sean Newcomb3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Newcomb’s secondary stuff is whack and it got attacked…again. If his value is essentially undrafted next year, I can imagine him turning into a new Spice Girl type, but it will really hinge on him finding that pitch to pair effectively with his fastball.

Today’s Streamer

Andrew Suarez vs. San Diego Padres – I don’t love Suarez but I think I’d let him fly against the Padres.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Aaron Sanchez vs. Baltimore Orioles – A bit of a gamble here, but he looked good last time and it’s the Orioles. I’d also consider Sandy Alcantara against the Nationals.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Chris Stratton vs. San Diego Padres – He’s on a roll and gets the Padres. What else do you want from a streamer?

Game of the Day

Zack Wheeler vs. Jake Arrieta – I get the feeling that Wheeler’s…wheels are going to come off soon. Or not and his breakout season will continue onward.

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.

19 responses to “Waining Or Waxing?”

  1. John Connors says:

    Sanchez against Baltimore or Holland against the Pads. Looking for a W and going to deep into the game.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Wins are super hard to predict so pure shrug there.

      Holland is the better pitcher, though, and I’d start him over Sanchez.

      • Southern Marylander says:

        Wins are a terrible stat and I desperately want to present my league with a better option.

        I saw on Reddit that some leagues have gone from W, K, ERA, WHIP, and SV/HD to IP, K/9, ERA, WHIP, and SV/HD with a bump in minimum IP per week, because IP correlates to a quality SP better than W. I fear that this still weights too much towards RP and maybe gives SP streaming teams even more of an advantage (somewhat mitigated by adding the extra ratio category).

        Any thoughts on what five commonly available categories give the best balance of SP vs RP and are an accurate representation of good pitching instead of the randomness of W?

        • Chris says:

          This is my primary leagues fine-tuned pitching setup that I’ve grown to quite like: 4xSP, 2xRP, 2xP slots (pretty much everyone runs 4 RP though). Categories: K, QS, ERA, WHIP, K/9, SV+HLD. We have a 4 move/week max. I like that it minimizes saves as a stat but keeps the best relievers still relevant. It allows for plug-and-play on middle relief guys but limits streaming. Having K’s and K/9 seemed redundant but it allows for teams to go SP heavy, RP heavy, or some sort of balanced. ERA isn’t a perfect stat I guess, but if that’s my biggest complaint then I think the system is working as intended.

        • theKraken says:

          Wins are not that terrible of a stat, despite the constant chorus. Wins are not perfect, but neither are QS. QS looked really promising, but given the way MLB teams manage their staffs, I am not sure that it is a great stat either. Wins are not a terrible stat – I just wanted to say that. Every stat is terrible with lack of all other context. That said, let’s help you solve that problem.

          I think IP suffers from the same problems as W and QS. You may or may not be pitching effectively – its more about outside factors like run support and general managing philosophy, which is the problem you are trying to fix. Why K/9? Why not raw Ks? You get to reward guys who pitch innings which seems like what you want. Ratios penalize SP and reward RP. You could bump the minimum IP, but I think using raw Ks also works pretty well to make that happen. You can always cap the starts per week – I really like that solution. What about K, ERA, WHIP, SV, HLD if you want 5 cats. You just bag one of the categories and split SV and HLD. I will say that I play in one H2H league like that and it does suck.You basically win one and lose one category. I have never seen an H2H strategy that feels perfect for pitchers. You have to punt one set of cats for another or just be mediocre in all areas. Personally I like points leagues.

  2. Mike says:


    Suarez or Glasnow, 12 tm H2H league with QS instead of W. This week is the finals.

  3. Jim says:

    Needed 1 Win to advance to the Championship round. Had Bieber, Giolito, Fiers and Minor (the 9th inning left a scar.) Felt really GREAT about my chances to get 1 stinking Win from those 4. Didn’t happen. Playing for 3rd place now. #yaay
    One. Win.

    • theKraken says:

      That SD game was brutal! I owned Yates so I liked it, but it was ridiculous. I liked how TEX didn’t even use their closer lol.

  4. stevek says:

    Would you start Ryu tonight? Other options are Valdez and Keller.

  5. Juice says:

    Nick! You can only choose two for this week’s H2H Points Championship Game:
    Marquez @ Arizona
    Clev vs. Boston
    Flaherty @ Atlanta
    Castillo @ Miami
    Hamels@ Arizona

  6. Balke says:

    Sit or Start happening today? Never needed it as much as I do this week

  7. Chris says:

    Could Waino be Rich Hill? Watching that start last night felt a LOT like watching Rich Hill. I’m not willing to roll the dice in any league that I’m still alive in now, but I’m wondering for future state – do you think he could return top 40 value as a guy who just uses the curve to set up a 90mph fastball and vice versa?

  8. theKraken says:

    I think it is a bit early to declare Pivetta as Samardzija / Pineda 2.0 and I mean that in the worst possible way. Those gentlemen have had several really good / great years and Pivetta hasn’t done that once yet. This would be one of their worst years if they did what Pivetta did in 2018. Its also a weird time on the comp as both missed all year and seem worse than they are. Current Shark/Pineda are worthless, but both were excellent additions to any staff in their primes. If Pivetta regresses at all then he doesn’t really touch those guys. That said, I think he is one of those poor command very hittable guys and I understand the comp – I think you are being generous though. Maybe he is Joe Kelly?

  9. TBI says:

    Nick, is the Start or Sit article for this week going to be posted soon?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Sorry for the delay! I’m writing the two-week Sit/Start right now to replace The List. It’ll be up within the hour!

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