Zzzzzzzack Greinke

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Zack Greinke @ TOR (W) – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 102 pitches.

It can be really hard playing fantasy baseball. When you see Zack Greinke at age 37 allowing 11 ER across three starts of twelve total innings, you think this is it. The cliff everyone inevitably hits. But you stuck with it and despite facing the Dodgers, Padres, and now Jays, Greinke has made it work, represented by Friday’s 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks performance across 102 pitches. Is it exciting? Sure not, nearly sleep-inducing with just three strikeouts across 10 whiffs and 27% CSW, but that’s what this whole opener is about. If Greinke wasn’t such a household name and heavily rostered, he’d be the Spider-Man this year as he carries a 3.37 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and measly 18% strikeout rate across his 82.2 IP thus far. He’s not the stud of the year, but he’s the rock you drafted and let’s do all of us a favor by recognizing the ebbs and flows to come. Yes, he’ll have another rough patch at some point – a sub 30% CSW implies turmoil at the hands of the BABIP gods – but the ship will right itself through the full six months and we can debate all we want over the winter about the continued decline in 2022. For now, just keep starting him and spend your breath on more important things.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Blake Snell vs NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 101 pitches.

HE WENT SEVEN INNINGS. I know, you thought I was going to lead with Snell, but we just did that and Greinke is important too! Anyway, Snell even came out and said that he put his changeup in timeout and I absolutely love it. Funny story, when I originally came up with the BSB back in 2018, I regarded his changeup as the #4 pitch, even though it has been the main secondary offering for a long time. I just loved the break on his curveball and slider that much. Axing the slow ball forced Snell to use his breakers for strikes and just look at these sliders. I have so many thoughts and I’ll try my best to communicate it out here. So sorry for the poor writing. His changeup was dropping in zone rates while his breakers weren’t doing enough to compensate. Meanwhile, his heater was erratic, leading to inefficient at-bats and mistakes getting crushed. Removing the changeup forced him to throw more sliders for strikes, turning to curveballs under the zone, and opening up his fastball to succeed over the plate. It’s the true BSBNow, I did want to see a few more chases on that curveball down but what matters most is how much he lived inside the zone with heaters and sliders. His stuff is too good to reward patient batters – just look at Robbie Ray and how he’s ascended by throwing heaters far inside the zone. Snell can do that with better secondaries (and possibly a better fastball!). The question is if this will stick or not at hey, so far so good.

Jean Carlos Mejia @ BAL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 50 pitches.

So here’s the thing. Mejia has a 92-94 mph sinker that has a ton of depth to it. We’re talking full-on “bowling ball sinker” and it would allow him to chance a long start on a given night, hoping the grounders find gloves for quick outs. There’s just nothing else after that. He flicked sliders, changeups, a pair of curveballs, and all of it was…not great. I can see a desperate stream here if Cleveland elects to stretch Mejia out in the season and that’s about it.

Keegan Akin vs CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

Ayyyy Akins is doing things again! And by “things” I mean not doing terribly! You’re looking at this full line, seeing the 22% CSW and have already stopped reading this blurb, which is great because I had zero intention of finishing this senten

Kyle Gibson vs TB (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 73 pitches.

Gibson returned, tossing 73 pitches of legit quality as if nothing happened. The man cannot be stopped…well, maybe by the Dodgers and Twins across the next two starts. That should be interesting and despite this, I’d lean bench against the Dodgers. The ceiling is slightly capped given he tossed just 73 pitches here – he’s no Ryan Yarbrough or Framber Valdez with their 30+ pitch jumps, you know.

Freddy Peralta vs ARI (W) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 109 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He’s earned it as he holds a 2.25 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP, and 37% strikeout rate, while tallying at least six frames in five of his last six games. I still have my long-term concerns (a super cross-body delivery doesn’t breed consistency), but for now, he’s an ace and that’s great.

Julio Urias @ ATL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 83 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’m glad we’re back on track…kinda. His stuff wasn’t nearly as good as we’ve seen this year but he made it work. Way to be, Julio.

Max Scherzer @ PHI (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That’s another Gallows Pole for Scherzer as he holds a 2.22 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 36% K rate this year across 77 innings. Just stay healthy…just stay healthy…

Nathan Eovaldi @ NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

Were the secondary pitches there today? With a line like that, of course they were. His cutter and curveball were the winners, going 14/29 CSW as they acted as the perfect complement to Eovaldi’s 98 mph heater. It sure seems like I’ve been undervaluing that repertoire with Eovaldi, though it is Houston + Atlanta next. I hate how uneasy that makes me feel.

Luis Castillo @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

THE MAD MAN DID IT. Well, kinda. He sat 98 mph on his heater and had a wonderful 36% CSW with sliders as his changeups earned outs but sadly the slow ball went just 3/21 on whiffs, leading to that low strikeout mark. It feels like he’s on the right path as the heater wasn’t flat-out destroyed, but until I see his changeup demolish a lineup, he won’t be back in full.

Dallas Keuchel vs DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 80 pitches.

Ahhhhh, there he is. Keuchel had a delicious matchup against Detroit and did exactly what we expected. It feels like the world is at peace when things go just as planned. It’s a rare moment, don’t take it for granted.

Joey Lucchesi @ SD (L) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 67 pitches.

Hey, he went more than four innings! This is the most praise I can give Lucchesi and I’m sad about that.

Spencer Turnbull @ CWS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 56 pitches.

An abnormal amount of pitchers left their starts early with injuries Friday evening. For Turnbull, he was pitching fine – 7% CSW on 14 sinkers (25% usage) is still maddening – and left this one with a forearm “scare”. They say he’s okay, but was placed on the IL today. Yay. 

Scott Kazmir vs CHC (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 30 pitches.

Ha! I won’t stop getting a kick out of seeing Kazmir doing things again. This was a bullpen game, though, and we can ignore it, but ha!

Shohei Ohtani vs SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 76 pitches.

The four-seamer is still at 94/95 instead of 96/97, but the splitter was filth and his cutter + slider did the things it was supposed to do against Seattle. And now he gets the Sneks + Tigers?! SIGN ME UP. It’s wonderful seeing Ohtani begin to get into a rhythm as he’s had just three walks total across three of his last four games.

Mitch Keller vs MIA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 45 pitches.

Keller left early with a “heat illness”. Cool cool cool, no doubt no doubt. Hope he’s alright.

Robert Dugger @ LAA (ND) – 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 38 pitches.

It was a bullpen game and if you remember his time with Miami, there is some deep stream value here…if he starts proper. So yeah, let’s move on.

Zack Wheeler vs WSH (L) – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 101 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’m pleasantly surprised seeing the strikeouts stay afloat for Wheeler, amassing another eight strikeouts as he torpedoed into the eighth frame. You’d think the slider has to do with the strikeout rate, but really, it’s just that good of a fastball and sometimes things like his curveball show up to make things interesting (hello 7/13 CSW!). Stupid Scherzer turning this into a Loss.

Brad Keller vs MIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

Hey, I’ll take this from Keller against the Twins. Does it speak to success in the future? Nah, not with a slider earning just 15% CSW, but at least he’s 93/94 mph with heaters. That’s cool.

Matt Peacock @ MIL (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 83 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Peacock again! And he failed to take advantage of the Brewers. Sadly, it means we end our exclamations early. It’s a bird! It’s a…right, just a bird. Nothing special. I still can’t understand why someone would look up and in absolute wonder and astonishment, point to the sky and shout “IT’S A BIRD!” Yeah, man, and this is a coffee. These are things.

Cody Poteet @ PIT (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 57 pitches.

Womp womp. Poteet left this game with trainers as he clearly wasn’t on his game. Just drop him, I don’t care if it’s Rockie Road next.

Kwang Hyun Kim vs CIN (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 47 pitches.

Kim left this one with a back injury. Just let him go like an 86-year-old locket from a sunken ship.

Frankie Montas @ COL (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 69 pitches.

Montas went to Coors and wasn’t the worst thing you’ve seen. That’s a positive, right? This is Coors y’all, don’t spend time on this one, his fastball will be much better against the Royals in O.Co next time out.

Michael King vs BOS (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 66 pitches.

The man tossed an immaculate inning, earned a King Colehad a 1.13 WHIP, and…I still can’t get over the 4 ER and his repertoire’s foundation of sinkers. Not to mention, he tossed just 66 pitches here and that low pitch count will likely stick around. It just doesn’t preach a starter who you can rely on and we don’t even know how much we’ll see of King in the future. I wouldn’t chase it.

Ian Anderson vs LAD (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 98 pitches.

Ouch. Anderson was terribly inefficient, missing glove-side with fastballs a bit too often, while his curveball didn’t quite find the zone enough + changeups often hung or badly missing. I’m in constant conflict with Anderson as the stuff & deception are legit, but he hasn’t quite nailed down that consistent command yet. When he does, he will go off, but it may take a while. In the meantime, he should be solid against non-elite teams and that’s cool with us.

Jon Gray vs OAK (L) – 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 48 pitches.

Annnnnd all the theories about Gray performing way better at home can be put to bed. Okay fine, it’s one start and you can’t, but I don’t think any of us truly bought into that, right? It’s Coors! Anyway, here’s zero strikeouts – HAISTFMFWT?! – and we start him in Miami next time.

Josh Fleming @ TEX (L) – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 100 pitches.

Noooo. Streaming Record: 39-24. The Rays let him go a full 100 pitches after Yarbrough went 113 and I can’t help but feel like Jim Halpert. Are the Rays shifting their philosophies?! Annnnyway, it was the same old from Fleming, save for his cutters failing to Bond with the glove-side of the plate, while he left too many pitches over the middle for the Rangers. Blegh. he could get the Orioles next and that could work.

Hyun Jin Ryu vs HOU (L) – 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

Nooooo. It felt in some ways that Greinke was showing the younger Ryu he still has it. Those dang legit veterans. His changeup and cutter normally steer this ship and they simply didn’t get it done here, leading to just one strikeout – HAISTFMFWT?! – and disappointment. Whatever, it’s a One Night Bland

Jake Arrieta @ SF (L) – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 58 pitches.

Arrieta hasn’t been a starter to trust for something like three seasons now. It’s sad to see just one strikeout – HAISTFMFWT?! – but that’s just the way of things.

Matt Shoemaker @ KC (L) – 0.1 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 38 pitches.

Sooooo The Cobbler is shining brews instead of shoes. Let him foot loose.

Game of the Day 


Jacob deGrom vs. Joe Musgrove – Watch. This. Game. JUST DO IT.


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


Photo by Mark LoMoglio/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.

4 responses to “Zzzzzzzack Greinke”

  1. inextension says:

    I had a legit sell-low offer from the Snell owner in my league yesterday and turned it down. Did I miss the boat on this one?

    Is Castillo going to be a ‘Probably’ against MIL this week?

  2. William Lankford says:

    Should we read more into the Rays high pitch counts so far this week or just wait and see. Here’s to hoping McClanahan hits 90, and as always, love the awesome work Nick.

    • theKraken says:

      Unfortunately that is not how it works. The Rays do ride starters on occasion – it has been going on since last season. Don’t go thinking that this is a new era or something like that. Just look at the way they have been jerking around Rich Hill lately, which was preceded by some long outings. McClanahan is a really bad bet to ever give anyone any length. I suspect that a few interns in the Rays analytics department get really excited at the idea of yanking a left-handed starter at a predetermined point #Snell. I think that the long-term hope with SM is a swingman – it would make too much sense and really fit the Rays narrative. Please do give Rich Hill’s game log a look to properly temper those expectations.

  3. BB says:

    The elbow flexor strain that landed Gray on the IL today clearly affected his performance. Hard to tell when we’ll be seeing him again.

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