July’s Good and Bad Hurlers

Capping the calendar: July’s best and worst pitchers

By Marc Lawrence   You can read more from Marc at www.covers.com

Firecrackers and the All-Star Game signal the month of July. It also signifies the second half of the MLB campaign. The key to each and every teams’ fortunes lies in the pitching staff.

Listed below are hurlers that have enjoyed a 2-to-1 or better success ratio in team starts during the month of July over the last three seasons. 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.

GOOD JULY PITCHERS:

Beckett, Josh • 8-4

The Red Sox right hander has been battling a nasty illness which caused him to miss a start in the latter stages of June. Otherwise, he is having a career year in terms of ERA and holding hitters well below .200 BA for the first time ever and should prosper this month.

Burnett, A.J. • 12-4

Burnett’s ERA has been steadily climbing since early May. However, the hot summer months are when the Arkansas native usually flourishes. And if he can avoid the hanging breaking pitches, no reason he can’t match previous Julys.

Carpenter, Chris • 9-3

It’s been all about location for Carpenter this season. He’s been catching too much of the plate and has permitted his highest batting average allowed as a regular starter since 2002. The Cardinals will need him to regain form to stay in NL Central race without Albert Pujols in the lineup.

Hamels, Cole • 12-5

The left hander added a cutter this season and hitters are batting under .225 against Hamels and he’s only surrendered six bombs, with his previous season low total at 19 in 2006.

Johnson, Josh • 11-3

Good news from the doctors, no shoulder surgery necessary. If all goes well with rehab assignments, Florida’s ace is expected to return on July 16.

Lackey, John • 12-4

The former Angels ace always maintained at least a 2.5-to-1 strikeouts-to-walk ratio throughout his career. However, this season he’s not even 1.5-to-1 and has no command of his increasing mediocre stuff. He’ll need a major turnaround to be the hurler he’s been in the past this month.

Lester, Jon • 10-4

Lester’s stats this season are remarkably similar to what he’s done in the past and he can be expected to come through again for Boston this month. The only bugaboo is that he’s given up as many home runs (10) as he surrendered all of 2010.

Nolasco, Ricky • 12-5

After a sensational start, this Marlins pitcher hasn’t been able to close out hitters like he did early in the season. With the lack of strikeouts, more contact has meant more runs by the opposition. If Florida is going to get back in the wildcard hunt, it will need a big second half from Nolasco.

Pineiro, Joel • 12-3

Strictly a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, he has to keep the ball down or gives up hits in volume. For whatever reason, July has been a lucky month for the right hander.

Rodriguez, Wandy • 11-5

Rodriguez has been steadily lowering his ERA after a brutal start. On a contender, he might be a 15-game winner, but stuck with Houston, it’s hard to imagine Rodriguez can match past results unless he throws lights out.

Sabathia, C.C. • 12-6

Unquestionably talented, the big lefty also benefits from having a team full of run producers and can allow four runs early and still pick up a win. However, Sabathia is a workhorse, always wants the ball and will battle at least for seven innings with or without his best stuff.

Vazquez, Javier • 10-4

This Marlins pitcher will be 35 this month and is showing serious signs of decline. Vazquez has a career batting average allowed of .258 and this season opposing clubs are knocking him around to the tune of .300-plus.

Volstad, Chris • 8-4

Since his rookie season in 2008, Volstad has been very mediocre and the 6-foot-8 pitcher just seems to have mechanical issues of finding a consistent release point to throw strikes and not give up base hits in bunches. Maybe the extreme heat and humidity will help.

BAD JULY PITCHERS:

Dickey, R.A. • 3-8

If the knuckleballer has his signature pitch dancing and darting, he’ll pick up K’s and have a good outing. If not, Dickey is throwing batting practice to hitters waiting to light him up.

Greinke, Zack • 5-10

His record does not reveal how average Greinke has pitched this campaign and how he’s benefitted from generous run support. Milwaukee is counting on him in the second half of the season, which historically isn’t a strength of Greinke’s.

Wakefield, Tim • 3-8

Wakefield’s rookie year, he was a teammate of Barry Bonds who would be spending his last season in Pittsburgh. At 44, Wakefield is Terry Francona’s security blanket when starting pitchers start falling, however, the more the knuckleballer is exposed, the worse the results.

Doug Upstone contributed to this article.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.