Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM
It’s always been a popular handicapping strategy amongst sharp analysts to fade All-Star pitchers in their final start before the Break. Some believe they’ll be distracted because they’re looking ahead to the big game. Others believe opposing offenses will get fired up to beat the All-Star. And the math guys will talk about “regression to the mean” as hurlers pitching over their heads are due to fall back to earth.
There seemed to be no better time than “Stars and Stripes” day July 4th to run through the scheduled appearances for starting pitchers who made the All-Star team. We start with the American League because two of their aces are set for action today and tonight. Note that we’re only talking about STARTING pitchers. Several closers made the team as well. You never know in advance when those guys are going to make an appearance.
David Price: Today vs. NY Yankees
Justin Verlander: Tonight vs. Minnesota
Matt Harrison: Thursday at Chicago
CJ Wilson: Friday vs. Baltimore
Jered Weaver: Saturday vs. Baltimore
Felix Hernandez: Sunday at Oakland
CC Sabathia: off until ASB because of injury
Chris Sale: Sunday vs. Toronto or off
Sale of the White Sox pitched last night vs. Texas. There is no listed pitcher yet for the White Sox on Sunday, which would be his normal spot in the rotation. Note that Felix Hernandez also pitched last night (vs. Baltimore), but he is currently listed to go Sunday against the A’s.
Matt Cain: Thursday at Washington
Cole Hamels: Thursday at NY Mets
RA Dickey: Thursday vs. Philadelphia (head to head with Hamels!)
Lance Lynn: Thursday vs. Colorado
Wade Miley: Thursday vs. LA Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw: Friday at Arizona
Steven Strasburg: Friday vs. Colorado
Gio Gonzalez: Saturday vs. Colorado
None of the NL stars are set for July 4th action…but fully FIVE will be on the mound tomorrow…including that potential duel between Hamels and Dickey. Of course, if All-Star pitchers are going to have nervous outings in their final game before the break…that may not be a duel at all.
There’s going to be an amazing array of arms on hand next Tuesday Night in Kansas City. Both offenses will be dealing with top of the line starters through the bulk of the game, followed by a string of ace closers in the final innings.
Do you have the guts to fade these hot pitchers in their final pre-All Star appearances? We’re not suggesting they’re all going to lose. And, we wouldn’t encourage a strategy of blindly fading each and every one. You have to handicap each game as it comes. Just remember that history has made it clear that…in composite…All Star bound pitchers don’t quite pitch to their prices in their last first half starts. At the very least, you need to avoid the temptation to invest in all of these hurlers because they’re “excited” about the All-Star Game and likely to pitch great. History shows that the excitement leads to “nerves” more than you’d expect.
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