With approximately only 50 games left in the season, teams are starting to feel the heat and are making the push to win their divisions. I am going to take a look at and discuss what starting pitchers have helped their teams out the most over the last 28 days. My only requirement to make this list is that the pitcher had to start a minimum of 5 games over that period (7/14 – 8/10).
#10 – 1.862 ERA – Jordan Zimmermann – WASH
Jordan has started 5 games over the last 28 days, going 3-0 with 30 strikeouts in 29 innings. Even more impressive, he has posted the 3rd lowest WHIP on this list at 0.86. Over that period, the Nationals have had a record of 20-9 (with 2 double headers). Everyone always knew that Jordan had a ton of potential, and he is determined to prove that last year was no fluke. Combined with Strasburg, G. Gonzalez, E. Jackson, and Detwiler (who would have been #12 on this list), the Nationals have quietly put together one of the game’s best rotations. There are reasons why they own the best record in baseball, and Zimmermann is one of them.
#9 – 1.817 ERA – Hiroki Kuroda – NYY
Kuroda has been very impressive over his last 5 starts, but has been a victim of poor run support. He has gone 2-1 over that period. The one loss was to Seattle, where he gave up only 1 run over 6.1 innings. In the mean time, Kuroda has lowered his ERA to 3.24. He has been a nice addition this season and should continue to help produce wins and a decent ERA for the first place Yankees.
#8 – 1.787 ERA – Clay Buchholz – BOS
Clay’s season ERA is the worst since his rookie season. He currently sits at an ERA of 4.24. What you can’t see by looking at this number is that has been amazing over the last 2.5 months. Since June 1st, Clay has posted a 2.031 ERA in 75+ innings. He has also posted a 10-3 record on the season. Over the last 28 days, he has gone 2-1 with a 0.77 WHIP in 6 games. He too has been a victim of poor run support, having no decisions in 3 of those games. In those 3 games, he has pitched 22 innings and has only given up 2 earned runs. He has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last 2.5 months, and could have been in CY Young talks if it wasn’t for a disastrous April and May.
#7 – 1.734 ERA – Adam Wainwright – STL
In Adam’s last 5 games, he has gone 3-1, with 35 strikeouts in 36.3 innings. In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Adam has shown flashes of his old self. He has had a couple rough months this season, but the past month and a half has helped lower his ERA to 3.90 on the season. The Cardinals need him now more than ever as they find themselves 6 games out of 1st and 2.5 games out of the wildcard race. If Wainwright is back, this could be the extra boost the Cardinals need to get to the postseason.
#6 – 1.711 ERA – Felix Hernandez – SEA
The King continues to show why he is always the hottest name that floats around during the trade deadline. Felix is having another Cy Young worthy season, accounting for 20% of Seattle’s wins and only 8% of their losses. He has a season ERA of 2.74 with a 1.10 WHIP. Over the last 28 days he has a 4-0 record with 2 complete games. He also owns the lowest WHIP on this list, with an incredibly low 0.772 WHIP over his last 6 games. It seems to be a bit of a waste for the Mariner’s to hold on to him, but he loves Seattle, and they love him. Imagine what this guy could do on a team with run support.
#5 – 1.486 ERA – David Price – TB
Price has been lights out almost this whole season, and the last 28 days have been no exception. In his last 5 starts, he has gone 3-0 with a 0.908 WHIP. He has also struck out 41 batters in 36.3 innings. Price continues to help the Rays make a push for the postseason, who now find themselves only 0.5 games back from the wildcard. Price is possibly having his best season of his career, and barring injury, look for that to continue as they take over the Orioles in the AL East.
#4 – 1.467 ERA – Matt Moore – TB
Here’s another guy who had a disastrous start to the season and has made the necessary changes to become an elite pitcher over the last 2.5 months. Moore came into this season as a sleeper and has shown why over the last 28 days, as he has gone 4-1 with a 1.04 WHIP. He and Price have been the main reasons for the Rays recent success. In the past month, the Rays have a record of 15-10; Moore and Price have combined for a 7-1 record. Moore is a future ace and he’s proving it now.
#3 – 1.406 ERA – Ben Sheets – ATL
Sheets’ last full season was in 2008, where he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA. The 34-year old has just joined the Braves this past month and has only started 5 games this season. In these 5 games, Sheets is proving that he is back. He has gone 4-1 and has struck out 23 batters in 32 innings. As of right now, Atlanta finds themselves sitting in a wildcard spot. They will need to have Sheets and the next guy on this list to continue producing in order to make it to the postseason. Sheets will most likely have his ERA rise a bit before the end of the season, but there’s no reason to expect him to have a complete meltdown at this point.
#2 – 1.397 ERA – Paul Maholm – ATL
Maholm’s last 5 games have helped lower his ERA down to 3.50 on the season. In that period, he has a 3-1 record and a 0.776 WHIP (second lowest WHIP on this list). He has only started two games for the Braves, since being traded, going 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA. The Braves need as much help as possible and Maholm could end up being just what they needed. He won’t keep up this pace, but a 3.50 ERA for the rest of the season isn’t out of the question.
#1 – 1.080 ERA – Mike Fiers – MIL
In the past 28 days, Fiers has a 3-1 record in 5 games, 30 strikeouts in 33.3 innings, 1.080 ERA, and a 0.930 WHIP. Mike Fiers is something special. This season he has started 12 games and has had 10 quality starts. He has a 6-4 record and has also posted a 1.80 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, with 80 strikeouts in 80 innings. The Brewers have said that they will keep a close eye on his innings and may cut him off at some point. He has never logged more than 94 innings in his baseball career. The Brewers find themselves 11.5 games out of wildcard, so it only makes sense to cut him off. For you fantasy baseball buffs, this is a kid to keep a close eye on. For you in keeper leagues, he may be someone you should consider holding on to.
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