Kelvim Escobar, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, has already set a season high in wins with 15, so every start out for the remainder of the season will be a chance for him to raise the high water mark even more. Escobar has been terrific lately recording four victories in his last four starts with an earned run average of 2.67, a WHIP of 1.26, and a K/9 rate of 8.33 in that stretch. Escobar has had a phenomenal season thus far and he should continue to impress. Escobar will take on the Texas Rangers today in Anaheim.
Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers, will take the mound today against the Oakland Athletics. Verlander is coming off of his best start since sometime in June and the Tigers desperately need him to continue to pitch this way. Verlander threw seven shutout innings of three hit ball against the New York Yankees while striking out six in his last outing. Verlander is capable of putting together a big performance today and several more down the stretch, and I expect him to compete. Verlander is 14-5 with a 3.77 earned run average, a WHIP of 1.24, he is fanning 8.09 hitters per nine innings, and holding opponents to a .234 batting average.
Paul Byrd, of the Cleveland Indians, will take the mound, today, in search of his fourth consecutive win and his seventh win in his last nine starts. Byrd has faced the Chicago White Sox twice this year and he is 1-0 with 12 innings pitched and four runs allowed while holding them to a WHIP of 1.25. Byrd isn't flashy with a season WHIP of 1.37 and only 4.32 K/9 along with an opponent's batting average of .299 but he is 13-5 on the year. Byrd gives his team a chance to win but all of his other statistics tell me that he is a High Risk/Low Reward caliber of pitcher.
Ichiro Suzuki, of the Seattle Mariners, pulled to within four hits of 200 on the season by going three for five, on Friday, against the Toronto Blue Jays. Ichiro will have recorded 200 plus hits in all seven of his Major League Baseball seasons soon and he'll also record 100 plus runs scored in each season soon. Suzuki is batting .352 with 55 runs batted in, 30 extra base hits, and 36 stolen bases. Expect Ichiro to do more than his part to try to carry the Mariners into the playoffs.
Nick Markakis, of the Baltimore Orioles, put the finishing touches on a scolding hot month of August on Friday night against the Boston Red Sox. Markakis went three for five with a three run homer bringing his August numbers to .306 BA, 6 HR, and 25 RBI. Markakis is now batting .294 with 16 homeruns and 89 runs batted in on the season. This was a career month for the young outfielder, but he has posted similar numbers in a month before so he is proving that he is capable of this type of production.