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One of these days we'll figure out who Chris Sale is in 2019 and I'll stop leading this column with analysis of his most recent start. Today is not that day.
Sale set a season-high with 10 strikeouts and 13 swinging strikes Tuesday, and lowered both his ERA and his WHIP. He also gave up laser beams to the Detroit Tigers whenever they put the bat on the ball and only lasted five innings. Sale's velocity was somewhere in between where it started the year and where it was in his most recent start.
I think we've seen enough to eliminate the possibility of Sale being a complete disaster, but this start was not an indication that he's almost back to his ace form. It was still somewhere in between. And we'll still be over-analyzing his next start.
Sale's counterpart in Tuesday's game, Matthew Boyd, is another interesting case. He started the season on fire with 23 strikeouts in his first 11 innings. In his past three starts he's whiffed 16 batters in 20 innings. The interesting thing is the swinging strikes have mostly still been there (14 on Tuesday) and he has gone seven innings in his last two starts. I'm not ready to move Boyd into the Tyler Glasnow/Luis Castillo range of breakout pitchers, but he's strengthened his case as a top-35 starting pitcher.
Six Players to add from Tuesday
Pablo Lopez (32%) -- The results were finally good for Lopez on Tuesday. He threw 6.1 innings, struck out six and only gave up one unearned run. It was just his first quality start of the season, but the peripherals have been pretty great all year. He now owns a 2.81 FIP and a 3.45 SIERA with 29 strikeouts and five walks in 26.1 innings.
Dwight Smith (53%) -- Smith returned to the lineup after a one-day absence and picked up right where he left off, with another home run. He's shown good plate discipline and more power than expected so far this season and he's locked into a top-three spot in the Orioles lineup.
Mike Zunino (40%) -- I wrote about Zunino yesterday, but he earned another mention with three hits and a dong on Wednesday. In his eight-game hitting streak he has five doubles, two home runs and only two strikeouts.
Emilio Pagan (2%) -- I'm only adding Pagan in deep leagues right now, but we have to watch this situation closely. He's earned the Rays last two saves and we knew coming into the year this was a situation that had the potential to get messy.
Rowdy Tellez (15%) -- Tellez has now played slightly more than a quarter of a season in the major leagues and he has nine home runs, 29 RBI and a .289 average. The average won't last, but Tellez should be a good source of power from the corner infield spot.
Winners and Losers from Tuesday
Trevor Williams -- We've ignored Williams for far too long. He had a 3.11 ERA over 170.2 innings in 2018 and has been even better this year. He doesn't strike anyone out, but his control is elite and he has done a good job of limiting hard contact.
Luke Weaver -- Weaver was very good again on Tuesday, striking out seven Pirates and walking just one in 6.1 innings. His peripherals look very much like the 2017 version of Weaver that we all thought was a breakout.
Raisel Iglesias -- It was a bumpy start to the year for Iglesias, but Tuesday was his fourth straight outing without allowing a run and he earned a save in three of those. You should feel confident starting him again.
Travis Shaw -- I'm not ready to say he's back, but a double dong is a nice reward for those of us who haven't given up on him yet.
Zack Wheeler -- Wheeler was phenomenal on Tuesday, striking out 11 Phillies over seven shutout innings and hitting a home run. The zero walks were very encouraging as well.
Domingo German -- German gave up just one unearned run on Tuesday and is starting to look like a legitimate breakout pitcher. His control has been very good and he's only given five earned runs in 25.2 innings this season.
Homer Bailey -- Another two-start streamer blew up on us on Tuesday. Bailey didn't even get an out in the second inning and walked four while striking out zero. You can drop him.
Kevin Gausman -- I was really encouraged after Gausman's last start but he got lit up by a Reds team that has really struggled offensively. We're going to have to see something before I trust him as a starter again.
Lance Lynn -- Yep, he's bad.