MLB Game Day Recap Day 23: Pitching

April 24, 2021

It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 23, which means it’s time to talk about pitching. Today’s topic is a simplistic one. Every baseball game features pitching, and every baseball team is in a neverending cycle attempting to acquire pitching. Whether it’s good or bad, pitching is always the focal point of a game. We saw the marquee matchup of Yu Darvish at Clayton Kershaw. There was an ideal matchup between who guys who use their initials in JA Happ vs JT Brubaker. Alex Wood came out of the woodwork [pun intended] to one hit Sandy Alcantara and the Marlins. And then there was Jacob deGrom. Sometimes there isn’t enough focus on the main component of the game, pitching. Watch, learn, and enjoy. We are in a golden age of pitching, and it’s entertaining. Chicks don’t dig the longball.

Climbing Up

He was mentioned briefly in the intro, but Alex Wood is back. The only hit Alex allowed over 7.0 innings was a Jazz Chisholm solo dinger. He almost allowed another Jazz Chisholm hit but the ball somehow found his mitt. This is the second elite outing for Wood since his activation from the injured list. The Giants appear to have found some secret pitching juju to start the season, with Johnny Cueto, Aaron Sanchez, Kevin Gausman, and Anthony Desclafani all performing far better than their initial expectations. Wood looks to have found something amazing, so get him on your roster before your competition does.

Letdown

Sonny Gray stunk up the joint tonight against the Cardinals. 5 earned across 3.2 innings won’t cut it for a Top 30 starter. He did avoid an absolute disaster by getting his managers 6 K’s. It’s not even like the Cardinals hit the cover off the ball, they were held hitless once Gray left the game. Sonny is a very good pitcher and while the Cardinals are in last place, they are a very good offensive team. Look for him to bounce back in his next start, and maybe also look to trade for Gray while his numbers look gross.

Who’s Hot

6.0 innings, 1 earned run, 5 hits, 2 walks, 7 K’s, 1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP. They are individually the worse numbers Jacob deGrom has put up in any of his four starts this season. That’s an elite start for any pitcher, yet it’s deGrom’s cherry-picked worst stat for each category. It’d be hyperbole to say the Stetson product is pitching in a league of his own right now, as Corbin Burnes and Shane Bieber are the clear 1B and 1C to deGrom’s 1A, but damn, this guy is good. Famously almost traded for Kelly Shoppach, the best pitcher in the past 4 years is doing everything he can to show he is a Hall of Fame level pitcher despite debuting at age 26. He’s also a Hall of Fame asset this season and worth of being traded for any, and I mean any, player.

Who’s Not

Brett Anderson left his start against the Cubs today after recording only 1 out as the Cubs scored 10 runs across the first two innings. This sentence is pretty deceiving as Anderson only faced four hitters before leaving with an injury. Quietly looking the part with a 2.65 ERA through 3 starts entering tonight [we’ll ignore the 5.65 FIP], Anderson has been an elite #5 starter in Milwaukee. Hopefully, Brett’s knee discomfort is minor and he’ll be back for his next start, as he could continue to be a sneaky asset pitching in the NL Central.

The Emilio Bonifacio Award

Isiah Kiner-Falefa qualifies at C, 3B, and SS. That’s more Bonifacio than even Bonifacio can handle. The man known as IKF went 3 for 5 tonight with a run scored, stolen base, and RBI. He is now 6 for his past 15 and more importantly has started 12 of 13 games. As a player who catcher qualification, IKF is a goldmine for accumulating at-bats under a position where that’s a rarity. Dynasty managers can either flip Kiner-Falefa to a short-term needy owner before he loses his catcher eligibility next year, or they can acquire Kiner-Falefa at a discounted price due to the fact he will lose his eligibility at C next year. Either way, he gets a Bonifacio on his mantle tonight.

The James Shields Award

Jacob deGrom, Alex Wood, JA Happ, JT Brubaker, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Andrew Heaney, and Yu Darvish won themselves a Shields tonight. One of our largest classes of the season, some of these names need no explanations. We all know exactly who Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Yu Darvish are. We’ve already talked at length about Jacob deGrom and Alex Wood, so let’s turn out attention to the guys whose names start with J. JT Brubaker appears to be the breakout pitcher of the year. An absolute nobody heading into the season, his 2.57 ERA and 0.71 WHIP are right in line with his season numbers 1.76 and 1.04. JA Happ flirted with a no-hitter as he continues his quest to never age out of fantasy relevance. Casual reminder, but both of these guys belong on your fantasy roster.

The Brad Lidge Award

Raisel Iglesias is not a costal elite. That is, a costal elite closer. Since moving to Los Angeles [definitely not Anaheim] Iglesias has already allowed more homers and the same amount of runs as he did in all of 2020. The Angels don’t have much of a bullpen so outside of Mike Mayers there isn’t another arm that could take this job, but Iglesias has certainly struggled. The Reds were laughed at for dumping Raisel for Noe Ramirez and then cutting Noe before the season started, but at least they’re not paying for blowup after blowup. I do expect Iglesias to turn things around, but it’s been a rough first month.

Conclusion

The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Pitching is the focus of all baseball games. The hitting and offense is what drives eyeballs to the game, but pitching is the backbone. Just like the quarterback in football, teams cannot win it all without good pitching. Hitting alone can only take you so far. Today was a day where pitching was simply to be enjoyed, so enjoy it. Pitching is beautiful. Baseball is beautiful. Enjoy the beauty.

Goodnight