Cole Hamels - Cole Hamels faced the Cubs on Wednesday and allowed 2 ER over seven innings. He struck out three and walked zero. Hamels has been pitching better of late, posting quality starts in five of his past six prior to Wednesday. The improved performance isn't too surprising considering Hamels' xFIP has been pretty decent most of the year (although not quite as low as his 2010-2012 seasons). Compared to his 2012 season, the lefty is striking out about 4% fewer batters in 2013 while seeing a slight increase in his walk rate. However, aside from his K%, Hamels is basically the same pitcher as he has been.
Kris Medlen - Kris Medlen allowed 3 ER on three hits over seven innings with six strikeouts against the Nationals on Wednesday. Medlen entered his start on Wednesday with a 3.85 ERA, which was more than two runs above his mark in 138 innings last season. Medlen's problems have been several fold: he's seen his HR/FB% double, while his walk rate has increased and his strikeout rate has fallen. He's inducing fewer grounders (53% in 2012 vs. 44% in 2013) and his luck has evened out (.261 BABIP in 2012 vs. .315 in 2013, 85% strand rate in 2012 vs. 73% in 2013). While Medlen may experience more luck in the future, his 2013 performance is much closer to his true ability with 2012 being a clear outlier.
Travis Wood - Travis Wood faced the Phillies on Wednesday and tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowing 2 ER with seven strikeouts. Wood has been a Cinderella story in Chicago so far this season, entering Wednesday's start with a 3.05 ERA. However, the warnings signs of an imminent decline continue to circle the southpaw as his xFIP is 4.47 and he's walking nearly 3.5 batters per game while striking out just over six. Wood is also enjoying a 6% HR/FB% despite being a fly ball pitcher (35% GB%) and has a .244 BABIP. Considering his advanced stats, I can't imagine Wood continues posting such a low ERA mark for much longer.
Shelby Miller - Shelby Miller took on the dangerous Dodgers' lineup on Wednesday evening and lasted just one batter after taking a Carl Crawford line drive off his elbow. Miller was taken out of the game and appeared to be in a lot of pain. You can see the video here. Miller entered Wednesday's start with a 9.79 K/9, 2.60 BB/9 and 0.89 HR/9 - all excellent numbers. He is giving up line drives at a 21% clip and isn't inducing as many grounders as you'd like to see (36% GB%), but the high strikeout totals help compensate for those other areas. Miller's got a 3.30 xFIP and his peripherals look like they can sustain his current ERA. Hopefully, he's not out an extended period of time.
Eric Stults - Eric Stults took on the Orioles on Wednesday and allowed 2 ER on five hits over seven innings. He struck out six and walked one. Stults has been outpitching his peripherals as he entered Wednesday's outing with a 4.13 xFIP despite a 3.55 ERA. He's striking out fewer than six batters per game while owning just a 40% GB%. He's also enjoying a 5% HR/FB% which seems unsustainable even when you factor in Stults' home park. The left hander seems like a likely candidate to have his performance fade during the season's final two months.
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