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.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.