July's Good Month Bad Month Pitchers
By Marc Lawrence
Fireworks and the MLB All-Star game signal the month of July. It also signifies the start of the 2nd half of the MLB campaign. The key to each and every team’s fortune lies on the pitching staff. Can they sustain or will they fold like an ‘all-in’ on the river? Stay tuned. What we do know is 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 the last three seasons during the month of July. On the flip side, we’ve also listed pitchers that struggle in July team starts, winning 33% percent or less of their efforts. To qualify pitchers must have made a minimum of 10 starts, with at least one start each July over the last three years.
I’ll be back next month with August’s Good Month Pitchers. Until then, take me out to the ballgame…
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
Buehrle, Mark • 10-5
After a repugnant start to the season with his new team, Buehrle has lowered his ERA by over two runs and been a contributor to the Blue Jays turning around their season. With the warmer weather on the way, the left-hander is expected to use all four of his pitches and move them around the edges of the strike zone and win games as per usual.
Correia, Kevin • 10-4
Correia is a bit of a dinosaur these days, with a fastball topping out in the high 80’s. What he does do for the teams he’s played for is keep them in games and more often than not places them in a position to win, something the right-hander has been very good at this month.
Halladay, Roy • 10-3 (DL)
“Doc” has begun long tossing for his damaged wing and is expected back sometime in August for the Phillies.
Hudson, Tim • 12-5
The Braves starter will turn 38 years old this month and is having a season more typical when he first joined Atlanta in 2005, giving up quite a few home runs and not hitting his spots. Chances are Hudson will find a good groove, but needs more run support if he is going to continue racking up wins in July.
Kennedy, Ian • 10-5
Kennedy is back after his 10-game suspension by Major League baseball after his part in the D-Backs/Dodgers brawl. To date, the Snakes righty has not been very good and though many of his peripherals are similar to the past, he’s given up 25 percent more home runs than his career average. Arizona needs Kennedy if they are to remain atop the NL West.
Kershaw, Clayton • 11-5
It has certainly been an unusual year for Kershaw with a 6-5 record, in spite of being on pace for a career-lows in earned run average and batting average allowed. His problems have been giving up the big hit at the wrong moment and the lack of support from the Dodger bats. Even a few runs would take the pressure off and let this 25-year old stud get in his regular groove.
Porcello, Rick • 8-4
Once thought to be ace material, Porcello is a back of the rotation hurler for Detroit. His skill set is a ground ball pitcher and the Tigers infielders cover about the least amount of ground as any team in baseball according to fielding metrics, which beefs up his hits allowed. When Porcello is right, he wins a lot of 5-3 games, helping his club in the win column.
Sabathia, CC • 10-4
It has not been business as usual for the big left-hander and if Sabathia is going to have a typical July, he has to keep the ball in the park. In 2012, he surrendered a career-worst 22 long balls and has conceded 17 already this year. The Yankees need the CC they are accustomed to seeing in the highly competitive AL East.
Weaver, Jered • 13-5
It is hard to fathom, even with an injury, Weaver enters this month with just one victory in 2013. However, do not be surprised if this number rises rapidly, as the Angels ace closed last month strong and his velocity has been rising to normal levels. With more speed on his four-seam fastball, the array of spinning sliders, slow curves and changeups keep opposing hitters off balance.
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Chen, Bruce • 4-11
After leading Kansas City in wins each of the last three years, Chen has been a fixture in the Royals bullpen this season.
Fister, Doug • 5-12
Being supported by Detroit’s lineup card is a far better option than being backed for Seattle’s, Fister’s former team. Yet it is curious to note, this month has been extremely tough for the California native, as he’s seven games below .500 this month, but just 10 under break even for his career (36-46).
Guthrie, Jeremy • 5-12
After a sensational start, Guthrie has witnessed his ERA jump from 2.28 on May 9, to 4.11 as July begins. The adjusted figure is more similar to his big league track record and the superior downward movement he had early on his fastball has dissipated, leaving more pitches up in the zone.
Norris, Bud • 4-11
Pitching for the Astros since 2009 has not helped Norris when it comes to wins and losses. Houston is already listening to trade deadline offers for the 28-year old who can be overwhelming at times. Yet for any pennant contender, Norris has an ERA of 5.49 the past three years on the road, which plays a factor in his miserable numbers in July.
Romero, Ricky • 4-12 (DL)
After a couple of ugly starts in early May, Romero was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, trying to reboot his career.
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