By Marc Lawrence of Playbook.com
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 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 June list.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
*Burnett, A.J. • 8-4 (5-2 A)
It is hard to pitch much better than Burnett has in his announced last season of his career with a 1.81 ERA and WHIP 1.16, both of which would be career lows. The right-hander has been very hard on left-handed hitters who are batting just .200 against him.
*Colon, Bartolo • 11-4 (6-1 H)
The ageless Colon just keeps rolling along. His 7-3 record is better than he’s actually pitched thru May with an ERA approaching five. At 42 years old he’s not tricky, throwing over 70 percent fastballs and he just keeps winning games and typically does so in June.
Cueto, Johnny • 9-4 (6-1 H)
The Cincinnati ace has been on the DL with elbow inflammation and is 3-4 with 3.03 ERA thus far in 2015. When right, Cueto has three what scouts call “plus pitches”, including a darting fastball in the mid-90’s. He commands all his pitches and creates deception by turning back to hitters.
*Dickey, R. A. • 11-5 (7-3 A)
Another pitcher who has reached the 40-year threshold is the Toronto knuckleballer, who also is having a tougher time with a 5.77 ERA as this month commences. His undoing is runners in scoring position, with opposing batters hitting .286. Let’s see if history repeats itself for Dickey this month.
Not having typical Kershaw year to this point with fastball command the reason opponents are hitting .242 vs. career average of .210. However, still four months left in the season the few would think the best pitcher in baseball the last few years will not once again get in a groove where he becomes untouchable.
Lohse, Kyle • 11-5 (6-1 H)
The Milwaukee righty’s season has mirrored the Brewers. A horrible April start (1-4, 7.28 ERA), modest improvement the first 20 days of May (lowered ERA to 5.53) and pounded again to finish the month (ERA back up to 6.50). Lohse is terrible thus far at Miller Park with 7.31 ERA and hopes to come close to past results might have to do it on the road this time.
*Scherzer, Max • 10-5 (5-2 H)
Been everything Washington could have hoped for with puny 1.51 ERA, a WHIP of 0.88 and better than 8-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. RH batters are a feeble .172 against his pitches and the lead off batters in an inning are at .130 BA. Once he gets rolling, by the fifth inning he’s like a caged lion prowling around the mound.
*Zimmermann, Jordan • 12-4 (7-2 H)
If you think the Nationals are set up to have a good month in June, check out Zimmermann’s record and the guy above. The 29-year old right-hander is the perfect No. 2 starter who throws quality strikes in the mid 90’s, a tightly spun curve, slider with late bite and a ‘plus’ change. Good luck against Washington this month!
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Eovaldi, Nate • 3-12 (1-6 H)
Eovaldi has more ability than record shows overall and this month in particular. Has 96 to 100 MPH heater, but it does not always have a lot of movement and his secondary pitches are not consistent enough which is why he’s never approached a strikeout per inning. The Dodgers and Miami both gave up on him though he’s still only 25.
Lincecum’s weak record in June primarily has been the last few seasons, not so much in his Cy Young years. No longer capable of upper 90’s fastball, he went back to work in the off-season with his father who helped him become who he was and the results the first two months have been positive. Whether Tiny Tim has good or bad month will revolve on having command back.
*Nolasco, Ricky • 5-10 (2-5 A)
If you compare Nolasco key peripheral numbers this season to date versus last year, they are very close with an ERA over 5 and being smacked around for a .315 BA, yet he’s 5-1 compared to 6-12 in 2014. He can be thankful for the Twins offense making him better than he is, but don’t worry, this joy ride will end soon.
Peavy, Jake • 2-11 (0-8 A)
Peavy’s lower back recovery suffered a setback on May 29th when it flared up during minor league injury rehab outing and he will be evaluated again to see the next step with no time table for his return, which is probably good based on June results.
Samardzija, Jeff • 5-12 (2-6 H)
The former Notre Dame pass-catcher has an ERA of 3.84 to begin the third month of the season, which is more typical of his numbers before last year. He’s been neither good in away games (.296 BA allowed) nor during the day (.286 BA allowed) and when there been a lone runner on third base, the opposing batter is five for 10, a cool .500.
Stults, Eric • 3-10 (1-6 A)
After a 1-5 record with a 5.85 ERA with Atlanta, Stults was demoted and a thrown in on the Juan Uribe for Alberto Callaspo trade. He was immediately designated for assignment by the Dodgers and frankly why anyone would want this 35-year old even if he is left-handed in unimaginable. (Though we think somebody will pick him up.)
Contributions from Doug Upstone of VegasProInsidersDaily.com