Thursday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants (2-2, 2.27 ERA)
Vogelsong shocked everybody and made the NL All-Star team last season. This year he’s right back at it, holding batters to a meager .214 average. He has also allowed only three runs over his last 24 1/3 innings. Vogelsong has had a few control issues, issuing at least three walks in three of his last four trips to the mound.
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers (5-1, 2.14 ERA)
Verlander was denied his third career no-hitter last week, seeing his bid spoiled by a single in the ninth inning. He was dominant in the 6-0 victory over Pittsburgh, striking out 12 and walking only two. Verlander’s 68 strikeouts put him just one behind MLB-leader Gio Gonzalez and he has walked more than two batters only once in a start this year.
Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies (4-4, 3.74 ERA)
Blanton has been hot and cold and is coming off a tough loss to Boston. He surrendered nine hits and six earned runs in a 7-5 loss. Blanton served up four home runs in the loss, which snapped a stretch that saw him go 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA over four starts. We’ll see if he can get back to that form Thursday against the Cards.
Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels (1-5, 4.37 ERA)
Haren showed some improvement last week, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings against San Diego, but still picked up his fourth consecutive loss. He still remains the league’s worst money pitcher (-12.30 units) by a wide margin and will need a lot of run support to dig out of that hole.