August Pitchers Report
August 6, 2014
By Marc Lawrence
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With the MLB trade deadline having closed and the NFL preseason whetting our pigskin appetite, the month of August sets the table for the stretch run of the baseball season. Which pitchers can we count on to satisfy our tastes, and which ones figure to turn our stomach? Take a look below.
Listed below are hurlers that have enjoyed a two-to-one or better success ratio in team starts the last three seasons during the month of August. On the flip side, we’ve also listed pitchers that struggle in August team starts, winning 33% percent or less of their efforts. To qualify pitchers must have made a minimum of 10 starts, with at least one start each August over the last three years. *Designates this pitcher appeared on the list last season.
I’ll be back next month with September’s Good Month Pitchers. Until then, enjoy the hot August nights.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS
Buehrle, Mark (11-5)
After a phenomenal start, the Toronto left-hander has returned to career norms, but if the Blue Jays are to make the postseason, Buehrle will have to play a large role. Toronto overall has flourished with the Missouri native on the mound with a 15-7 overall record and a sharp 10-3 when he’s been the favorite.
*Chen, Bruce (12-6)
Chen has only been back in the Kansas City rotations since the end of June and frankly has not been effective. Because the Royals offense runs cold and warm, they are dependent on their starters like Chen to keep them in games. They will need the Chen of August’s past to stay in wild card contention.
*Gallardo, Yovani (12-1)
The Brewers ace has not put up the kind of numbers Milwaukee fans have come to expect. In his last 11 starts he’s just 3-2, but Gallardo has lowered his ERA just over a run, which shows progress. The Brew Crew does not figure to win the division without one of their key elements and they need him to own this month like in the past.
Greinke, Zack (13-4)
Manager Don Mattingly is receiving just what he needs from his No. 2 pitcher... consistency. What makes Greinke unique is his approach since he has an array of pitches he can throw for strikes. On days maybe when the fastball lacks the usual juice or location is an issue, he can turn to various breaking pitches to get batters out and keep changing speeds to keep them off-balance.
Hamels, Cole (11-4)
After a slow start coming back from injury, Hamels has been brilliant with a sparking 1.77 ERA in his last 10 starts. He’s averaging better than a strikeout an inning and on the season and has a 1.70 ERA on the road, doing his best on aging team that will be rebuilding go forward.
Lohse, Kyle (11-4)
Though not the official ace of the Brewers, he’s pitched like one all season. The Crew is 15-7 when Lohse takes the ball and they are a gritty 5-2 as underdogs. Milwaukee’s right-hander is bulldog on the road, as he and his teammates are 9-4 away from Miller Park.
Minor, Mike (10-5)
To say this has not been a good season for Minor is an understatement, as his ERA has risen by 3.5 runs in his last 10 starts and the left-hander has surrendered a head-shaking .393 batting average against lefties no less. Despite Atlanta averaging just 3.9 runs a game, they have scored a full run more in Minor’s 16 outings, which why they are .500 when he’s pitched. It’s hard to imagine a quick about face.
*Santana, Ervin (12-5)
This turned out to be a great pickup for Atlanta after suffering heavy losses to its starting staff in the spring. Santana does not overpower opposing hitters, but he’s really kept right-handed batters off balance as they are hitting only .206 against. Santana has always pitched better at home than on the road and be sure to play him this month at Turner Field.
*Scherzer, Max (13-4)
Some baseball pundits wondered if Scherzer found lightning in a bottle last season in winning the Cy Young, but he’s come right back with another solid campaign. Among his strengths is he doesn’t beat himself and has a 4-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s also known for his relentless determination, making him tough to bet against.
*Shields, James (13-4)
Shields is a true professional and David Price of Tampa Bay credits him for setting the standard for hard work and enhancing his career. The righty might not have the lowest ERA or flashiest numbers, yet he will more often than not hold the opposition to one less run than his team scores, which piles up the W’s.
BAD MONTH PITCHERS
Hernandez, Roberto (4-8)
Since winning 19 games in 2007, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona is 44-72, had two stints in the minors and is primarily a fifth starter trying to hold on to a big league paycheck (Maybe the Cubs could use him). Whatever name he signs on the back of his paycheck these days is definite play against material here.
*Correia, Kevin (2-10)
Though the Twins soft-tossing starter had a good stretch over seven starts beginning on June 10, the fact of the matter is 5-13 with an ERA of 5.06 this season. (As of 7-31-14) Since this is the fourth different team he’s been a starting pitcher for since 2008, don’t expect any real improvement this month.
Hellickson, Jeremy (5-11)
Hellickson began the season on the disabled list due to right elbow surgery and has spent most of the season at Double and Triple-A, trying to work his way back to the big club. He made two spot starts in July and it is not guaranteed he will do anything more than that in August.
Jimenez, Ubaldo (5-12)
Jimenez last pitched for Baltimore on July 5th after suffering a right ankle sprain. He’s scheduled to make two rehab starts in the first part of August before returning to the Orioles. However, the Birds have been playing very good baseball without him and his 3-8 record and 4.52 ERA, thus you have to wonder if he moves back into Buck Showalter’s rotation.
*Maholm, Paul (3-8)
Strictly a reliever and spot starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who has an ERA of almost five and just 34 punch-outs to go along with 27 walks.
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