Listed below are hurlers that have enjoyed a two-to-one or better success ratio in team starts the last three seasons during the month of September.
On the flip side, we’ve also listed pitchers that struggle in September team starts, winning 33 percent or less of their efforts.
To qualify pitchers must have made a minimum of 10 starts, with at least one start each September over the last three years.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds (11-5)
If Cincinnati is going to catch Pittsburgh or St. Louis in the NL Central or host the Wild Card game, they will need Bailey to close strong like he has in other September’s in the past. Bailey is at his best when he is focused and gets his arm in the right slot, which adds speed to his fastball and improves his cutter.
Trevor Cahill, Arizona Diamondbacks (12-3)
The right-hander has largely been ineffective all year (5-10, 4.39 ERA) and it is difficult to imagine he will make many positive contributions to Arizona in the final month of the season in spite of his past.
Doug Fister, Detroit Tigers (10-5)
Except for a rough period in early July, Fister has been consistent, giving the Detroit offense a chance by keeping his team in games. When he’s on, Fister’s two-seam sinks, the big curveball breaks downward and the change-up fades from right-hand hitters.
Yovanni Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers (12-4)
Having the worst year of his career due to losing 2-3 MPH on his fastball. After four straight years of 200+ strikeouts, sitting at 114 entering this month playing on a mediocre club.
Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals (12-4)
After a 21-win season a year ago, Gonzalez has come back to career norms. If the left-hander is to finish with a flourish, he will have to do better than have a 1.94 difference in road/home ERA like he has this year.
Jeremy Guthrie, Kansas City Royals (10-4)
Since his complete game back on August 5, Guthrie has allowed 38 hits over 24 innings and has not fooled many batters. Needs to get back on track where his pitchers were sinking consistently in the strike zone in the first part of the season.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (11-4)
After missing three and half months, Halladay has started twice and seen his ERA sink to a still unsavory 7.94. At 36 with continued shoulder and arm miseries the past few years, hard to imagine he turns into the pitcher of the past, nonetheless, he knows how to throw, which gives Harry (real first name) Halladay a chance.
Jason Hammel, Baltimore Orioles (7-3)
Pitched August 29 in minor stint and is hoping for comeback for the DL to help Baltimore in a return to the postseason.
Derek Holland, Texas Rangers (11-5)
A dependable starter who has a 2.78 ERA in his past 10 outings and is a true four-pitch starter. Besides a low to mid 90’s fastball, Holland ruins foes' bat speed with a quality curve and changeup. Also does one of the better Harry Carry impersonations.
Phillip Hughes, New York Yankees (8-4)
Having a miserable campaign at 4-13 and body language suggests he lacks confidence. Nothing more than a two-pitch starter and opposing hitters sit on one pitch or the other. Might need a change of scenery unless he finds magic late.
Ian Kennedy, San Diego Padres (11-4)
After a 21-4 campaign in 2011, Kennedy is under .500 since and was dealt from Arizona while they were still in the wild card race. Has been permitting about a hit an inning the past two years after being in the 0.835 range of base knocks per three outs the previous two years. He is tough to hit when commanding both sides of the plate.
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (11-4)
Lack of run support has caused this veteran lefty about four wins in 2013. Lee turned 35 in late August and can still dominate on occasion, just not quite as often. Could have helped a playoff contender, instead, stuck in Philly, though he likes it there.
Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers (9-4)
Porcello lacks a real “out” pitch and has to rely on his fielders to help him. Playing in Detroit assures him of run support, but for the most part, he keeps the Tigers in games and provides them an opportunity to win.
David Price, Tampa Bay Rays (14-3)
Price has been right since coming off the DL and has a 2.45 ERA in his past 10 starts. He owns batters in the left side of the box, who are hitting .190 against his tosses. Oddly, has an ERA almost one run lower on the road than at home which explains his bulldog intensity.
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers (12-4)
Not having a typical year, with punch-outs down and opponents hitting a slightly slower fastball with less movement. If the Tigers are near or clinch the AL Central in the latter stages of September, might not be a bad idea for manager Jim Leyland to have Verlander miss a start.
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels (11-4)
The Angels might be playing golf in early October; nonetheless, every five days until the end of the season, they will have a chance to win with Weaver climbing the hill. Incredibly reliable.
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Bruce Chen, Kansas City Royals (5-11)
After being very effective out of the bullpen, manager Ned Yost needed a fifth starter and returned the veteran Chen to the rotation. He pitched well for several starts, yet recently has been batted around of late and might be tiring and have similar late season results.
Jeff Francis, Colorado Rockies (2-10)
Doing one-inning stints every five to seven days since being called up by Colorado at the end of July.
Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals (4-9)
Has worked out of the Kansas City pen almost all year and might have found a niche with a 1.86 ERA for the year.
Travis Wood, Chicago Cubs (3-10)
Has pitched better than 8-10 record indicates and has 3.09 ERA, which is certainly respectable. The opposition is hitting only .214 against him; however, playing on another bad Chicago Cubs squad will not help Wood’s record no matter how well he throws.