Join us in reading our MLB consultant’s intriguing article on National League pitchers who he deems to be a weak link for contending teams' starting rotations.
NL Weak Starting Pitching Links
I’m going to be focusing on one National League starting pitcher for each of the six teams that I deem to be serious playoff contenders at this juncture. These pitchers are what I consider to be the weak link in their team’s starting rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Carlos Frias
Frias has gone 5-5 this season with a 4.39 ERA and a poor 1.55 WHIP in twelve starts. In his last three starts overall he posted a lofty 5.28 ERA and 1.70 WHIP. He’s currently on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from some lower back stiffness, and is on target to return soon. He threw 40 pitches of live batting practice this past Sunday at the Dodgers spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona and no apparent problems were reported.
New York Mets: Bartolo Colon
The 42-year old veteran hurler has been the poster child for stem cell surgery. He received that treatment to his right shoulder in Mexico a few years back, and it revitalized a career that seemed over at that time. However, the last two seasons Colon has shown a tendency to fade a bit down the stretch after getting off to a great start. He’s gone 9-7 this year with a sizable 4.46 ERA. With Dillon Gee being designated for reassignment, Colon clearly appears to me as a weak link of an otherwise young and talented starting rotation.
Must Read: When should you fade a starting pitcher?
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jeff Locke
Although the Pirates southpaw hurler has decent overall statistics, his terrible road numbers were my deciding factor. Locke has posted a large 7.28 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in six road starts, compared to a stellar 2.58 ERA in eleven starts at hitter friendly PNC Park, so keep his home/away splits in mind when placing your MLB picks.
San Francisco Giants: Tim Hudson
Hudson is another aging starting pitcher at 40 years old who’s no longer the dominating hurler he once was. He’s 5-7 this year with a less than impressive 4.68 ERA. He’s currently on the 15-day disabled list recovering from a right shoulder strain. He’s slated to be inserted back into the starting rotation following the all-star break. Prior to being put on the DL, Hudson displayed bad form in his previous three starts with a 5.00 ERA and 1.56 WHIP.
St. Louis Cardinals: Tim Cooney and Tyler Lyons
The Cardinals have been the best overall pitching staff in baseball during the first half of the season. However, until Jaime Garcia returns from the disabled list, either Tim Cooney or Tyler Lyons is going to be depended on to fill in. These two get the distinction of being weak links more for how good the rest of the starters have been rather than how poorly they pitched.
Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg
The once highly coveted young pitcher just can’t seem to stay healthy for any prolonged period of time. He’s currently on the 15-day DL suffering from a left oblique strain. Unfortunately it came when Strasburg was really starting to find his groove. Upon his return, he still looks as if he’ll be the weak link on an otherwise very strong starting rotation.