Cole Hamels strikes out 13, lowers second-half ERA to 1.96

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Cole Hamels turned in another brilliant start last night, racking up a season-high 13 strikeouts while holding the Marlins to one run in 6.1 innings for his fourth straight victory.
Even with the winning streak Hamels’ win-loss record stands at just 11-10, but that vastly understates how fantastic he’s been all season and how dominant he’s been since the All-Star break. In fact, among pitchers with at least 10 starts in the second half his 1.96 ERA leads the NL and only Felix Hernandez at 1.64 has a lower mark in the AL.
He’s only 4-3 during that time, but the lack of wins is hardly Hamels’ fault. In the second half alone he’s lost twice while allowing just one run and also has four no-decisions in Quality Starts. With some decent support from the lineup and bullpen he could easily be something like 8-1 with a 1.96 ERA, .200 opponents’ batting average, and 94/17 K/BB ratio in 84.2 innings spread over 12 starts since the break.
And come playoff time he’ll be the Phillies’ third starter.

Cubs sign sinkerballer Steve Cishek

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs have signed reliever Steve Cishek. No details about the deal are known yet. For what it’s worth, most relievers are signing two-year deals so far this winter and Cishek’s last deal was a two-year pact.

Cishek, 31-year-old sidearmer who throws a surprisingly fast sinkerball, posted a 2.01 ERA and a 41/14 K/BB ratio and allowed just 26 hits in 44.2 innings between the Mariners and Rays last season. He saved 25 games for the M’s in 2016. Last year he missed the first month and a half of the season following hip surgery, but seemed pretty healthy later in the year.

A nice pickup for Chicago.