Justin Verlander has gone 10-1 in the second half to emerge as the clear front-runner for the AL Cy Young award, but his 3.00 ERA since the All-Star break actually ranks “only” 22nd among all pitchers with at least 50 innings.
Here are the MLB leaders in ERA since the break:
Clayton Kershaw 75 1.44
Cliff Lee 66 1.76
Ian Kennedy 74 1.95
Ervin Santana 85 2.13
Tim Lincecum 67 2.16
Jon Lester 58 2.18
Jeremy Hellickson 61 2.37
Zack Greinke 74 2.42
Matt Cain 77 2.47
Tim Hudson 76 2.50
Not a whole lot of surprises on that list. Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee have been amazing all season, and along with Roy Halladay are basically neck-and-neck atop the NL Cy Young race right now.
And here are the worst ERAs since the All-Star break:
A.J. Burnett 53 7.81
Brian Duensing 51 7.76
Trevor Cahill 55 6.67
Jason Vargas 59 6.56
Brad Penny 51 6.49
My favorite stat: A.J. Burnett has allowed 46 earned runs in 53 innings since the break. Kershaw has allowed 56 earned runs in 206 innings all season.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.