Jon Lester, SP, CHC
Lester tossed 6.0 shutout innings on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The southpaw didn't surrender a run but he was under duress for most of the contest. He gave up four hits and walked a season high five batters. Ultimately Lester was able to strand all the Pirates runners and was rewarded with his 10th win of the season as a result. This was a very welcomed outing for the Cubs' ace as he had given up 17 earned runs across his last three starts coming into Saturday. The 35-year-old's ERA is almost a full point higher than it was in 2018 even though he has been striking out more batters and walking fewer batters than he did a season ago. It appears Lester has just been less fortunate in 2019 as his 4.23 FIP and 4.20 xFIP this season are actually a touch better than they were last season (4.39/4.43).
Miles Mikolas, SP, STL
Mikolas gave up five earned runs in 5.0 innings of work on Saturday in Cincinnati. This was the second consecutive ugly start for the right hander; in fact his outing yesterday (5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) was basically a carbon copy of his previous start against the Pirates (5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Mikolas put up a ridiculous 18-4 record last season to go along with the league's 7th lowest ERA (2.83). Things have not gone as smoothly for Mikolas here in 2019. His strikeout and walk rate are basically the same as 2018, but he is giving up way more home runs (+.61 HR/9), and has been getting hit harder (+5.8% Hard%) than he was a season ago. The result of which has been a large drop-off in his production in the win column and effectivity in his averages (4.30 ERA and 4.27 xFIP).
Aristides Aquino, OF, CIN
Aquino hit yet another home run for the Reds on Saturday night. He now has 11 dingers on the season (and career), in just 16 games! Aquino is a free swinger (43.0 O-swing% and 15.6 SwStr%) so he strikes out a lot and doesn't walk much. However, he hits the ball in the air a lot (48.6 FB%) and he has been hitting the ball extremely hard (48.6 Hard%) so far this season. Obviously Aquino's current slash of .345/.390/.964 is impossible to keep up, but it will be interesting to see how he looks at the plate once this hot streak comes to an end.
Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC
Bryant smacked his 25th homer of the season and finished 1 for 2 with a walk on Saturday in Pittsburgh. After an injury riddled 2018 campaign the former MVP has bounced back nicely so far here in 2019. His K-rate, and walk-rate, are both better than his career averages this season and it has him putting up very solid numbers. He is currently slashing .290/.391/.537, with a .388 wOBA, 140 wRC+, and a .247 ISO, in 512 plate appearances this season. In 457 plate appearances in 2018 Bryant hit just 13 homers and had an ISO of only .188.
Josh Hader, RP, MIL
Hader surrendered a run for the fifth consecutive outing on Saturday evening. The southpaw came in to protect a one-run lead and promptly walked one and gave up a pair of hits to blow the save. He then intentionally walked Howie Kendrick to load the bases and went on to strikeout Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, and, Anthony Rendon to keep the Brewers in the game. Hader's magical start to the season has worn off and he has really started to slip recently. He has given up four home runs and seven earned runs over his last 5.0 innings of work. He still boasts a ridiculous 16.84 K/9, but his HR-rate is now at an alarming 2.06 HR/9 and his ERA has creeped up over 3.0 (3.02) for the first time this season.
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