Having highlighted the bad August pitchers in the previous article, and there was a lot, we turn our sights to the good: The pitchers who have proven to be steady and reliable through the Dog Days of August.
Listed below are pitchers that have enjoyed a two-to-one or better success ratio in team starts over the last three seasons during the month of August. On the flip side, we’ve also listed pitchers that struggle in August 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 August over the last three years.
GOOD AUGUST PITCHERS
C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees • 14-4
The Yankees ace has gotten into a nice groove (except against the Red Sox) and he’ll look to continue his expert pitching into August. Manager Joe Girardi monitored Sabathia’s pitch counts after he came off the DL, but his groin issue has not been problem and he should be ready for another high quality month.
Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners • 12-6
After lacking a lively fastball in the first part of the season, Hernandez has returned to “King” status in lowering his earned runs average almost a full run since June 12. Though Seattle has given up on the season, the King has clearly not.
Hiroki Kuroda, New York Yankees • 10-5
The Yankees wanted a dependable starter when they went after Kuroda and after four months the right-hander is right on career norms in ERA, WHIP and ground ball/fly ball ratios. Playing with a lineup that can score runs has helped Kuroda’s win percentage and he’s been tough on right-hand hitters who are batting just .213 against him.
Roy Oswalt, Texas Rangers • 10-5
Oswalt has again been experiencing tightness in his lower back, causing him to miss a start at the end of July. To date, he’s not been much help to the depleted Texas starting staff and you have to wonder if he’s going replicate his historic August success.
Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers • 12-6
The Detroit righty is not fooling many hitters this season, with teams batting a crisp .309 against his efforts. On days when Porcello is on top of his game, he still allows a lot of hits but works out of trouble. Otherwise, when the opposing batting order flips a third time, the New Jersey native gives up hits in bunches.
Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels • 13-4
Maybe this month will change the Angels pitcher’s luck, as Santana has been ineffective all season – especially of late. The L.A. righty has always allowed a large volume of home runs, but he’s almost at a career-high with two months still to go. If Santana is going to pitch as well as in the past, he will need to improve in two areas immediately. Entering his Monday, July 30 start, with runners in scoring position, his ERA was 19.08 (not a misprint) and with two outs, he’s conceded 35 runs in 33 innings.
James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays • 12-6
Have last year’s career-high 249 innings taken their toll on Shields? It seems like it with an ERA 1.70 higher to date compared to last year and opposing batters swatting at .281 versus .218 in 2011. Shields will have to elevate his game if Tampa Bay is going to make the postseason.
Randy Wolf, Milwaukee Brewers • 13-6
The good news is the Milwaukee left-hander has dropped his ERA a half a run in his last five starts. The bad news is Wolf’s earned run average sits at 5.45 for the year. Wolf needs more sink on his tosses as right-handed batters are at a robust .322 average against him.