By Marc Lawrence of Playbook.com
You know the saying, “May flowers bring June showers.” For Major League Baseball pitchers hurling during the month of June, showers are hopefully not in their immediate plans. Instead, it’s the hope of all MLB starting pitchers to stay in the game long enough to avoid having to clean up early.
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 June. On the flip side, we’ve also listed pitchers that struggle in June, 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 June 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 June list.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
Chen, Wei-Yin. • 11-5 (8-2 H X)
Chen was 2-3 this season before being shut down after his May 1st start. His right elbow received a platelet-rich plasma injection and there is still no timetable for his return from the DL.
Lester, Jon • 12-5 (6-1 H)
After a series of fine starts, Lester was roughed up by Los Angeles at the end of May, which raised his ERA to 3.86. But like the weather, the left-hander warms up and has experienced several strong June’s and when pitching at Wrigley Field this season, opposing hitters are at only .179 batting average.
Baseball’s best pitcher continues to shine and with how the L.A. Dodgers enter this month, Kershaw should pile up the victories. While Kershaw is still sensational, he’s been plagued for the first time in allowing home runs, with 10 already surrendered.
Martinez, Carlos • 9-4 (5-2 A)
After a really slow start, the Cards Martinez has lowered his ERA more than 1.50 runs and is back to typical career numbers. One area this is not ordinary is batting averaged allowed, which is at .217, compared to .244 for his St. Louis career.
*Sanchez, Anibal • 8-4 (2-0 A)
With low velocity and sharpness to his breaking pitches gone, Sanchez has been sent to the bullpen with his substantial contract and only being used in mop up roles and even then his ERA is still at 9.00.
*Tillman, Chris • 12-4 (8-2 H)
Tillman started the season with shoulder woes and did not make first start until May 7th. After five starts he still seems to searching for location and command and he will be worth watching given his prior June numbers.
Eovaldi, Nate • 5-11 (2-5 H)
Still recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Liriano, Francisco • 3-9 (2-6 H)
The 33-year old lefty has been on the DL since mid-May with bum shoulder and is scheduled to start for Toronto on June 2nd. Once possessing one of the best curveballs in baseball, age and injuries seem to be taking their toll.
*Miller, Shelby • 4-10 (2-5 H)
After a much better start to this season compared to last, Miller blew out his elbow and is another Tommy John victim.
Samardzija, Jeff • 5-11 (2-5 H)
San Francisco has made few front office mistakes in the last nine years. After not learning their lesson about long contracts for starting pitchers like Matt Cain, they signed Samardzija to five-deal deal and are not reaping the benefits. There was a reason he was 47-61 BEFORE going the Giants and he is 13-18 with them.
Santana, Ervin • 2-8 (1-5 A)
The right-hander is easily off to the best start of his career in 2017, pitching for Minnesota. He will enter this month with a 1.75 ERA (career 4.01), however, in past seasons after quick starts, Santana has eventually regressed towards the norm.
*Weaver, Jered • 5-11 (3-8 H)
With an 0-5 record and 7.94 ERA after nine starts with San Diego, the Padres placed this former ace on the DL. Weaver is a shell of his former prominence and the separation between fastballs, curves and change-ups, no longer fools batters. In truth, sad to watch from a hurler who really understood how to pitch side and side and up and down without overpowering heater.
Contributions from Doug Upstone of VegasProInsidersDaily.com