August Pitchers Report
August 1, 2017
By Marc Lawrence
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With the MLB trading deadline officially closed, and the NFL preseason whetting our pigskin palates, the month of August sets the table for the stretch run of the baseball season. The question is which pitchers can we count on to satisfy our tastes, and which ones figure to sour our stomachs? Take a look below.
Listed below are hurlers that have enjoyed a two-to-one or better success ratio in team-starts over the course of the last three seasons during the month of August. On the flip side, we've also listed pitchers that struggle in August, winning 33% percent or less of their team-start efforts.
To qualify pitchers must have made a minimum of 10 starts, with at least one start each April over the last three years. And for your convenience alongside each record we break down each pitcher’s greatest success or greatest failure rate either home (H) or away (A) within his good or bad month.
Note: * designates a categorical repeat appearance by this pitcher, maintaining status quo from last season’s August list.
I’ll be back next month with September’s Good Month Pitchers. Until then, as classic singer and songwriter Neil Diamond would say, enjoy the hot August nights.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
*Arrieta, Jake - 13-2 (6-1 A)
Like the Cubs, Arrieta has gotten increasing better as the season has progressed with 3.30 ERA over his past 10 starts and he and his teammates have arrived when needed this time of year.
Bauer, Trevor - 12-6 (8-2 H)
Not the most consistent pitcher when it comes to pounding the strike zone, Bauer does have his moments when he can be very good. As his record shows here, he has given Cleveland a chance to win in August and they have taken advantage of it.
Bumgarner, Madison - 12-5 (8-1 H)
Rough season for Mad Bum and San Francisco (1-7 in his team starts thru July, despite a 2.92 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP) but this tough hombre is not about to let up and while the season will be lost, he's right at career levels for batting average allowed and assuredly his ERA will continue to sink, which give the Giants a better chance of winning.
Dickey, R.A. - 11-5 (6-2)
Atlanta has gotten about what they expected from the 42-year knuckleballer, at around .500 record and mostly keeping the Braves in games. If Dickey can duplicate the past, Atlanta would be thrilled.
Fiers, Mike - 11-4 (6-1 H)
Back of the rotation hurler who relies on deception, as fastball only occasionally passes 90 MPH. He's helped by being backed by Houston awesome offense and the Astros have won 12 of 20 starts this season. Dependable if not spectacular.
Hendricks, Kyle - 14-4 (8-2 A)
Now back from injury, Hendricks is expected to be a catalyst in the World Series champs efforts to make the playoffs and repeat. This season, he's given up more home runs than in the past and the Cubs organization hopes the injury time off will make his stronger for the stretch run.
Hernandez, Felix - 11-5 (7-2 H)
Not the pitcher he used to be with declining stuff and who has yet to reach double digits in strikeouts in any outing. King Felix now relies on more changeups and two-seam fastball and will make mistakes and taken deep. Let's see how he fares this month.
Lester, Jon - 11-5 (8-1 H)
Similar story to Arrieta, Lester has gotten better as the year progressed. Lester is a real expert on keeping the ball down and working the outside corner to right-handed batters and little reason to think he will not still have ample success.
Keuchel, Dallas - 11-5 (8-2 H)
Now back from the DL, Houston has such a big lead they can take their time with Keuchel and get him to ready to pitch like he was in the first half of the season and have him 100 percent for October.
Kluber, Corey - 11-5 (7-0 H)
Maybe Cleveland should place Kluber on the DL in April, which is annually his worst month. Kluber has now gone at least seven innings while recording double-digit strikeouts in seven of his last eight starts, posting an excellent 90/10 K/BB during that stretch. His season ERA now sits at a sterling 2.74 Expect more of the same.
*Strasburg, Stephen - 10-5 (6-2 H)
Once again in the midst of an outstanding season, Strasburg has gotten hurt, with the elbow this time and is on the DL. Washington can survive without him in August, though he is scheduled to return, but not in the postseason.
Volquez, Edinson - 12-6 (7-3 A)
Volquez had a no-hitter on June 3rd, otherwise, the season has been a bit is mess. The right-hander last pitched on July 5th after hurting his knee and on July 24th tried to test it and manager Don Mattingly said "it did not go well." No timetable for his return
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Cashner, Andrew - 3-8 (1-5 H)
With a 37-61 career record, hard to imagine Cashner's still in the big leagues. He's again under .500 this season with Texas, but has not pitched that poorly with 3.48 ERA to start August, nonetheless, 51 K's and 43 W's is noteworthy.
Gonzalez, Miguel - 3-9 (1-6 A)
Veteran pitcher on a bad White Sox club and his chances are not good to pick many victories unless he can pitch seven innings each time and allow two runs or less, because of Chicago's offense and depleted bullpen through trades.
*Gray, Sonny - 5-11 (0-7 A)
After scuffling with an ERA of 4.84 on June 20, Gray has gone into another gear over his last six starts (1.37 ERA) and lowered that figure nearly a run and a half to 3.43. Yankees are hoping his recent August meltdowns area thing of the past.
*Miley, Wade - 4-13 (1-6 A)
If Miley was not left-handed, he likely would not have a job in the majors. Sure, he is striking out close to a hitter an inning (0.88), yet permits 1.18 hits per inning and has better than one walk for every six outs he collects. Simply a lousy pitcher.
*Samardzija, Jeff - 5-13 (3-8 H)
You would have thought San Francisco would have learned from Matt Cain's contract, but they did now and are stuck with Samardzija thru 2020. The occasional good start does not counter the other three rotten ones.
Tomlin, Josh - 4-8 (1-4 A)
Though never an ace, Tomlin has given up a .304 batting average and he's been taken yard 19 times already. The Tribe is expecting far better production from the right-hander.
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