July Pitchers Report
July 1, 2017
By Marc Lawrence
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Independence Day Fireworks and the MLB All-Star game go hand-in-hand during the month of July. It’s also the start of the second-half of the MLB campaign. And as we’ve come to learn the key to each and every team’s fortune lies on the pitching staff.
Can they sustain or will they unravel like a hand-me-down suit? Stay tuned. What we do know is that certain pitchers love hurling this time of the season while others tend to get lit up like a roman candle on the 4th of July.
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 July. On the flip side, we've also listed pitchers that struggle in July, 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 July 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 July list.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
Duffy, Danny - 11-4 (8-1 H)
Duffy been on the shelf since late-May with an oblique strain and will likely need multiple rehab outings to build up his pitch count before returning to action. It appears that Duffy won't be back before the All-Star break, unless everything really goes exceedingly well. Before being injured, the Kansas City lefty was like his team, rather ordinary at 4-4, with a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts, with opposing batters hitting .272 against his tosses. If the Royals are to remain in the AL Central chase, they will need a healthy Duffy.
Hamels, Cole - 11-4 (4-1 H)
Hamels first start after being on the DL for two months was an ugly one, permitting seven runs on eight hits, plus four walks, in just 4 1/3 innings. He deserves a pass after that much time off. However, the greater concern for the left-hander is strikeouts. Hamels for his career has averaged 0.95 punch-outs per inning and this season has only 16 in 37 innings of work. Batters last season started laying off the cutters and curves, that were actually balls, and sitting on his fastball which has dropped from the mid-90's to the low 90's. Critical month for the 33-year old Hamels.
Iwakuma, Hisashi - 11-5 (6-2 A)
The Seattle right-hander made six starts to begin the season, before going down with a bum shoulder. After doing rehab work in Triple-A Tacoma, on June 23rd he was shut down for further medical evaluation and there is no time table for his return.
*Liriano, Francisco - 11-4 (7-1 H)
Toronto has won seven of Liriano's last eight starts (thru June 25th), however, that is mostly because of the Blue Jays offense and not how effective the lefty has been. Liriano starts the month with an ERA well over 5 and because his command has been so poor, his WHIP is over 1.60. At 33, he no longer has the good fastball or wicked curve and we will have to wait and see if he can produce past results this month.
Lynn, Lance - 7-3 (6-1 H)
Lance Lynn had an ERA of only 2.53 after eight strong innings in a 2-1 setback to the Dodgers on May 23rd. Since, Lynn has been regularly taken deep and averaged better than two walks a start, with most outings lasting only five innings. His recent lack of success is strictly placement, as opposing hitters are batting only .209 against him, but the walks and home runs surrendered (19) have been his downfall and why his ERA is up to 3.90.
Martinez, Carlos - 9-4 (5-2 H)
The St. Louis ace might only start July with a 6-6 record, nevertheless, he's pitched much better than that in dropping his ERA a full run to 2.88 in his past nine outings. He's only given up 75 hits in 106 1/3 innings and Martinez is really mowing down the other team's batters with 121 strikeouts. If the Cardinals are to get back in their division race, they need to hit and field better for their top hurler, because it sure looks like he will hold up his end of the bargain.
Tanaka, Masahiro - 9-3 (6-0 H)
It has been incredible to watch Tanaka turn into a batting practice pitcher the last two months. Teams are hitting .279 against his tosses, which is nearly 40 points higher than his career norm of .240. Though the strikeout and walk ratios are similar to the past, the righty is permitting a home run for every 12 outs he gathers. The Yankees claim Tanaka is healthy and just not hitting his spots. If true, he is REALLY grooving pitches over the plate. In this era of “juiced baseballs” the Japanese import needs to do better.
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Archer, Chris - 4-10 (1-5 H)
For all the ability Archer possesses, the results do not back it up. No longer a prospect at 28, when you review Archer's stats and watch him throw, it is hard to fathom this guy has a 47-56 record, even if he's been on a few poor Tampa Bay clubs. The right-hander is one of those pitchers who is sailing along and runs into one bad inning and ends up losing games. In the immortal words of Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, hurlers like Archer "pitch good enough to lose."
Miller, Shelby - 2-9 (0-6 H)
Out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
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