By Marc Lawrence ………..Horse racing fans recognize May as the month of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. For baseball purists May is simply the 2nd month of the 2016 MLB season. But for die-hard baseball betting fans, namely those who enjoy handicapping America’s pastime, it signals our annual May Good Month/Bad Month pitchers report.
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 May. On the flip side, we’ve also listed pitchers that struggle in May, 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 May list.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
De La Rosa , Jorge • 11-3 (5-1 A)
The Colorado right-hander had a rough April and will look to find his groove this month. The normally reliable right-hander has start and stop windup and still has low 90’s fastball with tail action. He will need to spot pitches better and have more control with slider and changeup to match past numbers. Update – Went on 15-day DL on 4/27 with groin.
Hernandez, Felix • 11-5 (8-3 A)
Though the “King” does not have the same velocity as a few years ago, he has more pitches he throws for strikes. Thus, he’s not going to be as dominant as often, but he’s making the transition away from pure power pitcher to smarter hurler to get batter out.
Hughes, Phil • 10-4 (6-1 H)
Never the ace many envisioned in his younger days with the Yankees, Hughes is a dependable starter for Minnesota, who commands low-90’s fastball and spins a tight-curve. His walk-to-strikeout command is excellent but the biggest problem is staying focused inning after inning and has always been prone of losing concentration.
Porcello, Rick • 11-5 (8-1 A)
Sinker-ball pitcher who tried to become strikeout chucker with big contract in Boston last year and failed miserably. Has gone back to what he does best so far this season, which has batters beating the ball into the ground. A true No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the rotation whose not comfortable being depended on for more.
*Sale, Chris • 10-1 (5-0 A)
A true strikeout machine who, at 27, has gained the confidence to also be clubhouse leader. At 6’6 and thin, all arms and legs with funky left-side delivery, has mid to upper 90’s fastball and catcher seldom has to move once target is set. Headliner of an overabundance of White Sox lefty starters.
*Scherzer, Max • 13-4 (6-1 H)
Since the middle of last season, has been pedestrian performer, more like was with Arizona, with ERA over 4.25. Scherzer depends on clean mechanics for velocity and tilt on breaking pitches. It seems to come and go without warning. Washington is looking for the pitcher they had the first half of last year as right-hand version of Clayton Kershaw when he was unhittable.
*Vogelsong, Ryan • 12-3 (6-1 A)
Now with Pittsburgh, lost starting job in spring training and now works in long relief or as spot starter. Not likely to change at 38 unless injuries occur.
*Weaver, Jered • 10-2 (6-1 H)
After shoulder issues in the spring related to tightness, which had his fastball topping out at 81-82, Weaver got stretched out and is now serviceable mid-rotation pitcher, who knows how to works counts and change speeds. Fastball still only in mid-80’s but throws so many off-speed pitches his fastball is looking quicker to hitter’s thus far.
Zimmermann, Jordan • 11-5 (7-1 H)
The formers Nats pitcher took an immediate liking to the American League and went 24 1/3 innings before giving up a run in 2016. Has four good pitches he can keep in the zone and is frontline hurler. For whatever reason, seldom pitches beyond the seventh inning.
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Hamels, Cole • 5-12 (2-6 A)
Has fit in comfortably at Texas, with still good fastball that moves late when low in the zone, excellent cutter and still one of the best changes in the game. Part of poor record is he’s been on some bad teams of late in Philadelphia and has thrown better when the weather heats up, which is not a problem in Dallas.
Peralta, Wily • 3-12 (1-6 A)
Been hit hard thus far in 2016, not keeping fastball down and delivering too many room service sliders. Peralta lacks great stuff and even when he’s at his best, not many swings and misses. Note: Figures represent career start marks.
Contributions from Doug Upstone of VegasProInsidersDaily.com