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Notes on NL Starting Pitchers

With the All-Star break upon us, there isn’t really any news about NL starters to analyze, so here are a few notes to get you ready for the return of baseball that actually means something.

– It’s been talked about before, but sweet sassy molassy, Zack Greinke cannot catch a break. Over the past month, Greinke has the best strikeout rate among NL starters and a top-five K/BB rate, yet his ERA was above 6.00. “How did this happen,” you ask? Greinke allowed a homer and a half for every nine innings pitched, despite a ground ball rate north of 48%. But wait, there’s more! Opponents’ batting average on balls in play against Greinke was over the .340 mark, and over half the runners that reached based against the right-hander scored. When it rains it pours, apparently, so if you have the chance to buy low on Greinke, you should probably do it.

– Cliff Lee got pulled in the fourth inning of yesterday’s All-Star Game by NL manager Bruce Bochy. The last time Lee got pulled in the fourth inning of a game? His second start of this season, when he gave up ten hits to the Atlanta Braves. Was I expecting that stat to be much more impressive and lead me to the promised land? You bet your butt I did.

– Livan Hernandez struck out over seven batters for every nine innings pitched over the past thirty days. Livan struck out nine White Sox in under seven innings of work a couple of weeks ago, and he also struck out six batters during his complete game shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals. Don’t worry, America, Livan isn’t going to win some lucky owner their league anytime soon, as his SwStr% was it’s usual low self.

– You know who doesn’t get enough credit for being a solid yet unspectacular starter (at least in real life)? Chris Volstad of the Florida Marlins, that’s who. Volstad stands at 6’8”, and he throws a sinker that sits around 91 mph. I don’t know about you, but having to face him would scare me. If Volstad could put a little more time in working on his breaking pitches, he could be absolutely nasty. Keep an eye on this righty’s progress.