Is Jake Arrieta back? It’s starting to look that way. Arrieta was dominant through the first half of the season, piling up 11 wins and a 1.74 ERA in his first 14 starts. He was the significant frontrunner to win the Cy Young Award before hitting a rough patch in mid-June. Those next six starts led to a 5.50 ERA and allow opponents batting average to jump nearly 60 points. It looks like he’s getting back on track over his last five which have resulted in a 2.10 ERA including a five run outburst to the Brewers. That means he was nearly untouchable in his other four starts. His opponent’s batting average of only .124 in that stretch is eye-popping and now he will face the Pirates who rank 27th in wOBA in the last 30 days.

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Is everyone over-looking Matt Boyd? The Tigers lefty has been excellent for Detroit in his last nine games (eight starts). He’s pitching to a 2.38 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning in the process. He’s pitched at least six innings in the each of the last three starts, allowing only four earned in 19 innings. Tonight he will pitch in a great ballpark against the White Sox who are striking out 22% of the time versus LHP this season.

On the other side of this matchup, is James Shields. I cannot stop talking about Jame Shields. I write about him so often, because I am honestly worried that every start is going to be his last and we won’t be able to benefit from stacking against him. I assume the only reason he has a job is that he’s owed another $42 million over the next two seasons. Since being trade mid-season, Shields has a 7.49 ERA in fifteen games with the White Sox. His opponents batting average is .316 and their OPS is 1.000. His walks (33) is way too close to his strikeouts (40) and he’s served up 22 (!!) homers in those fifteen games. There is basically no team I won’t play against Shields and tonight it’s the Tigers who rank 10th in wOBA in the last thirty days.

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