By Marc Lawrence of Playbook.com with August Good Month/Bad Month Pitchers for betting baseball.
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. 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 legendary singer and songwriter Neil Diamond would say, enjoy the hot August nights.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
Arrieta, Jake• 10-5 (6-3 A)
After being Clayton Kershaw like for nearly 12 months, the Cubs starter has “regressed” back to just being among the best starters in baseball. Arrieta has a nearly 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and only allows a base hit 70 percent of the time in innings pitched this season, among the finest in the majors.
Duffy, Danny • 11-4 (6-1 H)
After starting the season as a reliever, the Kansas City left-hander was forced back into the rotation based on need and he has responded. Since June after a pair of starts, Duffy has put up an ERA of just over 3.00 and opposing batters have just a .289 on-base percentage against him.
*Gallardo, Yovani • 9-4 (5-2 A)
Not close to the same pitcher he used to be with Milwaukee, with ERA so far this season approaching almost two runs higher than career average (5.37 vs. 3.73). The lost velocity is to blame and secondary pitches have less bite. For Baltimore to win AL East, Gallardo has to find some old magic.
Greinke, Zack • 10-5 (5-2 H)
After being on the shelf with oblique injury since late June, Greinke is close to returning for Arizona if no reoccurrence were to take place after a rehab start or two this month. After pathetic start to season, the D-Backs prized starter has cut ERA by 2 1/2 runs and is close to career norms in all major categories. Elite starter.
*Hamels, Cole • 12-6 (8-4 H)
Having typical Hamels season, with low numbers across the board. In bigger picture, underrated high level hurler who has not been getting acclaim after Phillies fall, but has been ace with Texas. As usual, left-handed batters have no chance with .176 batting average and .287 slugging percentage.
*Iwakuma, Hisashi • 12-5 (7-1 A)
Not having normal season for Seattle, with hits allowed much higher than usual for Iwakuma. However, has won four of five starts and the Mariners are 10-3 when the righty has toed the rubber since May 20. With Felix Hernandez back, this pair could lead Seattle charge to postseason.
Milone, Tom • 7-3 (4-1 A)
Milone starts for bad Minnesota club and is inconsistent as ever. Of his 74 hits allowed in only 59 2/3 innings, 11 have gone the yard. Maybe he can keep the ball down and spot his pitches better like previous August’s.
*Sanchez, Anibal • 9-3 (5-1 H)
With decreased velocity and no action on breaking pitches, Sanchez ERA has been six or higher almost all season. Not sure if he can respond this month, with opponents having BA over .300 and owning a WHIP of 1.64.
*Strasburg, Stephen • 13-3 (8-1 H)
Only July 21st, Strasburg suffered first loss of entire season after 13 consecutive wins. Though the fastball is no longer in upper 90’s all the time, the breaking pitches disappear from batter’s view and he’s been exceptional. If Strasburg has true to form month, he will have real shot at 20 wins in 2016.
Teheran, Julio • 11-5 (7-2 H)
Suffered lat strain in late July and has been a victim of no run support from bad Braves club with 2.81 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and opposing batters at only .205 batting average.
X – Note: Teheran’s record also represents his MLB career team start mark during the month of August.
Weaver, Jered • 12-5 (7-3 A)
Shell of former self at 33. Never a hard thrower, Weaver’s fastball only occasionally makes the upper 80’s these days and once dominating changeup is pitches batter’s wait on now with lack of variance of speed of pitches. Will blend good and really awful performances these days.
*Zimmermann, Jordan • 12-6 (8-3 H)
On July 24th had excellent rehab start and will be rejoining Detroit this month. After sensational start with Tigers, Zimmermann was tagged for at least five runs in four of his last five outings. Detroit needs the Zimmermann they had early to have chance to catch Cleveland in AL Central.
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Given Gray’s troubles this month, his woes of all season are very likely to continue. Gray simply has been more hittable the entire season, permitting those with bats to hit almost 50 points higher than normal batting average permitted of .233.
X – Note: Gray’s record also represents his MLB career team start mark during the month of August.
*Hellickson, Jeremy • 4-11 (2-9 A)
Back of the rotation starter, Hellickson has largely performed better than expected for Philadelphia and as this article went live, he was rumored to be traded. His K-to-W ratio is significantly higher at 4 to 1 compared to 3 to 1 for his career. Will he be able to maintain the rest of season?
Kazmir, Scott • 5-11 (1-7 A)
The Dodgers port-sider has 9-4 record, but his 4.41 ERA is still above career average of 3.98. Durability has been issue all season, with too many starts around five innings for what is supposed to be Los Angeles No. 2 or 3 starter.
Koehler, Tom • 4-13 (0-10 A)
Above average arm but always up or down and unless he pulls a Rich Hill, at 30 is not likely to change. At 8-8 record, 4.18 ERA and WHIP of 1.46, about what we have come to expect from Mr. Koehler.
X – Note: Koehler’s record also represents his MLB career team start mark during the month of August.
*Miley, Wade • 5-11 (1-6 A)
Overrated lefty who does not miss many bats and fails to come anywhere close to averaging punch-out an inning. Strictly innings-eater and provides nothing more than 50-50 chance to win. (Update, trade to Baltimore)
Miller, Shelby • 5-11 (2-8 H)
Demoted to Triple-A in July after disastrous campaign. Miller hopes to regain confidence and repair mechanics that are really out of whack and return to Arizona yet this season.
Samardzija, Jeff • 5-13 (3-8 H)
After appearing as the No.3 starter San Francisco wanted for two months, Smards has returned to same old inaccordant pitcher of the past and seen his ERA climb from 2.84 to present 4.30 heading into this month.
Contributions from Doug Upstone of www.vegasproinsidersdaily.com.