Which Ray Do I Go

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

(Photo by Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire)

We’ve been worried about Robbie Ray in the second half and after last night’s 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks performance against the Braves, those worries for Ray are disappearing with a 2.90 ERA with a 30.7% K rate and 1.21 WHIP across his last nine starts since July 25th. It’s the man you drafted and everything is lovely, right? His curveball has been vastly improved since his opening 11 games – 5.5 pVal in this lovely stretch after a negative mark prior – helping him bump his groundball rate eight points to 46.3% from 38.5%. I have to think the increase in grounders is paired with the plummeting HR/9 – 1.46 vs. 0.91 – but there are some problems. First, his ROS schedule is tough – @HOU, CHC, LAD – though I understand the argument that if Ray is dealing, it doesn’t really matter who he’s facing. The other cause of concern is that I’m seeing the same plate discipline marks across the board, if not worse. Nearly identical Hard/Soft contact rates (above 40%/below 15%) that raise concern, a higher walk rate at 14%, and a worse SIERA at 4.08 vs. his 3.64 mark prior. It all makes me feel like baseball is weird and your guess is as good as mine. At the end of the day, if you’re in need of strikeouts, Ray should be started, no question. If you’re in need of preserving ratios…good luck.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Chase De Jong4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. We don’t like Jongs. That’s why you don’t listen when someone tells you to chase one.

Andrew Heaney7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. Whoaaaaa, I know it was the ChiSox but DANG! His changeup has been missing for a good while and suddenly he found its feel in this game, earning 12/26 SNIP and 8 BIP on 80.6 Exit velocity with this pristine location. Beautiful stuff. It was one game, though, and a 34/96 CSW is wonderful but not something I can tell you will repeat down the stretch. He gets the Mariners, Athletics, and Rangers next and there’s still a decent amount of risk here.

Reynaldo Lopez6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. ReyLo was the initial Call Boy and he got upset and put me in my place with one of his best starts of the season. And sliders + curveballs combined for 10/105 pitches with 0 whiffs and 3 called strikes (6/9 SNIP on sliders though!). This was a heater/changeup focused outing and it worked a lot – 22/72 CSW on just four-seamers is crazy good and 38/105 overall is phenomenal. I think he got away with a little here and I still need to see that strong third option for me to get on board, but hey, this is sure something to be happy about. It’s a Cherry Bomb kind of play moving forward, proceed at your own risk.

Jeffrey Springs3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The Rangers are going the False Start route and Springs, a Cup of Schmo, got his chance. Yay.

Ryne Stanek0.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. More False Starts – this is getting super annoying – with Yonni Chirinos fishing it up with 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Ks, and 7 baserunners. No QS since he didn’t start, but the WHIP and Ks are cool, with his fourth win of the year. Not enough for me to chase, though.

Ian Kennedy6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh hey, Kennedy is back! And he kinda killed it. Killed his chances of doing it again. That doesn’t really work but the sentiment is the same.

Zach Davies5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Ehhhh it’s super boring and I don’t believe Davies to be much of a playoff savior. His stuff just isn’t that great while his command is spotty.

John Gant6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. This is the best start we’ll see from Gant. Be happy if you ran with it, though I’d suggest not depending on him to do it again.

Tyler Mahle3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. 74 pitches through three was enough to give Mahle the early hook and considering this was against the Padres, it would be silly to put faith in him against a legit opponent.

Corey Oswalt3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The False King does what improper royalty does – disappoint the nation.

Thomas Pannone6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I guess you’re happy with the ratios, but just two strikeouts on 19 outs has to raise red flags. This train is headed for the old creaky bridge and we’ve seen this movie before. Superman will come and save me? No Timmy, there is no Superman. Not even you? …I…um…no. *Sniff*

Rick Porcello5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, I’ll take this from Cherry Bomb heavy Porcello against the Astros. I think you don’t have much of a choice to s

Erasmo Ramirez5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. You want boring? You got boring. I see this line from Erasmo and think “yeah, this is what you’re hoping for” IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT!?

CC Sabathia5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m cool with this CC. You’re not a sexy beast, but this is good work from a Toby.

Touki Toussaint5.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s not too pretty, but sitting at 2 ER and 5 Ks earns me the dub here. Streaming Record: 92-43. He only earned 1 whiff and 5/28 CSW on his deuce, which was a major catalyst for the five walks. I question the command not only in the short term, but also in the future from Touki, and I’d imagine if I weren’t so skeptical of ReyLo that I wouldn’t have chosen him as the Call Boy.

Tyler Anderson2.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I really feel like Anderson should be better, but he’s just not giving me what I need to endorse him. Even with a good matchup in San Fran next, I have hesitation.

Trevor Cahill2.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 1 Ks. Drop Cahill. You don’t need a schpiel from me, there’s your green light. We’ll all rest easier after. Oh and one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Mike Clevinger6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. A PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and 9 Ks is quite alright Clev. Yeah, I want the ER to fall just a little, but the rest is so nice that we’re cool.

Michael Fulmer6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. In typical Fulmer fashion, he tossed six shutout frames then fell apart in the seventh – Careful Icarus – allowing four singles – THREE INFIELD! – and a walk before getting the hook. So typical. He still doesn’t have his changeup and his slider was okay. I’m still in the camp to pack this up and reconsider once again in 2019.

Rich Hill5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. All four baserunners scored and Hill killed it otherwise. Keep letting him fly like an eaaaaagggllle.

Madison Bumgarner6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It was a wild series of events in Bumgarner’s sixth inning leading to a massive grand slam after hitting Ryan BraunI still have my concerns about 2019 Bumgarner, but I think you keep starting him now.

Dallas Keuchel6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. The Sawx are no joke for a glorified Toby like Keuchel – I guess he’s just a normal Toby, isn’t he? – and the ROS of ARI, LAA, @TOR should be fine.

Vince Velasquez4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Bleeeegh. VV concluded an underwhelming 9.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Ks two-start week against the Marlins and Mets and he’s as Double Bubble as it gets. It was sweet before but why-oh-why are you still taking part in this?

Jacob Nix4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, okay, I get it. What I saw in his debut isn’t being replicated and he’s just a Young Gun, alright?

Josh Rogers1.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. You still don’t know who Rogers is. That’s fine. This will all be over soon.

Today’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Texas Rangers – Rainouts are fun and pushed back both Miami streamers a day, which means I’m going Barria against the Rangers today. Not bad, not great.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jose Urena vs. New York Mets – The Prime Candidates of Junis/Minor/Giolito are all now over 20%, so I’m going with Urena against that terrible offense.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Trevor Richards vs. New York Mets – It’s the Mets and Richards has the upside to make this well worthwhile. I’d also consider Felix Pena against the Rangers, but there’s a little more risk there.

Game of the Day

Adam Wainwright vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I’m not really going to watch much of this, but I’m more curious if Waino is any decent after such a long DL stint. I don’t expect much of anything – more of a straight answer of no to those considering him as a two-start option.

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.

6 responses to “Which Ray Do I Go”

  1. larry says:

    Would you stream Bieber @ TB tomorrow. Going up against Glasnow.

  2. Frankie says:

    I know St. Louis has been Cardinal red Hot, but would you start Musgrove against them on the road? Musgrove is avail in both my Categories and Points leagues and I am kind of super-duper tempted… drop would be Barria after today’s start.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      In a points league, go ahead. I wouldn’t expect a negative performance.

      Categories, it’s up to you if you want to take the risk. It’s 50/50 to me.

  3. Bob says:

    Thanks for being straight to the point on Cahill. His home splits had to regress at some point. He had a 98% strand rate a few weeks ago at home. He probably needs another DL stint.

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