Adam Wainwright- STL- Caution- Wainwright has performed very well this season but he has been throwing many more pitches than he has done in the past. In his first two seasons as a starter he hit the 110 pitch mark a total of 10 times. Wainwright has already done it 9 times this season, including three 120+ pitch games. He has not had a career trend of fading in the second half, but we are in uncharted territory as far as workload is concerned. This makes me nervous.
Jair Jurrjens- ATL- Hot- One thing that stands out about Jurrjens is that Bobby Cox has not given in to the temptation to push the youngster to the point of exhaustion. His pitch counts have been reasonable for a 23-year-old and his IP total has not been huge. This could help prevent a second half fade and keep Jurrjens healthy and performing for the long haul. He has improved his GB/FB out ratio recently, with 38/27 over his last 4 starts. There still could be some regression to the mean (a .258 BHIP) and his strikeout performance has been inconsistent (9 in 7.2 IP in his last start, a total of 5 in 18 IP over his previous 3 starts) but Jurrjens looks like a decent bet to finish strong down the stretch.
Adrian Gonzalez- SD- Hot- Gonzalez had only his 3rd multihit game of the month last night, going 2-for-4 with his 26th homer of the year. Overall he has been absolutely dreadful in July, batting just .177 and drawing many fewer walks than he did in June, when pitchers were avoiding him. Gonzalez would be a big beneficiary of a deal to a contender and there has been some talk of him being shopped around. If he stays put, however, he has to ease up on himself some in order to be as productive as he can.
Josh Willingham- WAS- Hot- Willingham has a tendency to be streaky and last night was its own streak all by itself. With 2 grand slams and a double Willingham had a good week all in one game. This year he has endured some bad luck (.224 BHIPx) and still manages to post a .298 average. He has shown consistent improvement in Batting EYE over the years and has not shown any consistent trend in fading in the second half, although he did last season. In head-to-head leagues he can drive you crazy, but his overall numbers should be solid when the season ends.
Homer Bailey- CIN- Caution- Bailey threw a quality start last night but needed 111 pitches to do it. Twice before in his major league career Bailey has crossed the 110 pitch mark. Neither time did he follow it up with a quality start. In fact when it happened last season he got whacked the next time out to the tune of 15 hits allowed in 4.2 IP. Bailey has been terribly inconsistent anyway and this factor does not bode well for his next time on the mound.