In a week in which the bullpen all boarded the regression train, only one pitcher truly stood out, but two others pitched well enough to warrant honorable mentions.
VV struggled with pitch count in his first four starts, but in his last two he's gone 6.1 innings with under 90 pitches and only one walk. In his one game this week, he did allow four runs, but he also struck out seven, tying his career-high. Plus, he did it against the "All-Star" KC lineup. He still has a ways to go (4.21 BB/9, 22.1 GB%), and he might even get demoted to AAA when Feldman returns in a week or two. Still, he's got a 3.47 FIP and he's only pitched 25.2 innings. Give him time.
Lance McCullers, Jr.
Lance did not have his best stuff this week, as he walked three and threw 101 pitches in only 5 innings, but he only allowed one run and was not to blame for the bullpen's meltdown and Hanley's one-handed homer. This was the only start in which he only K'd 3. The 7 hits were a career high. Yet this start was one of the 7 out of 10 career starts in which he's allowed one or fewer earned runs (it's never exceeded 3). McCullers is having himself quite a rookie year.
Anyone surprised to see the Beard here? He did allow a season-high 9 hits, after all. Oh, what's that? He nearly had another shutout (8 innings, no runs, no walks, 7 #whiffs) against the KC AL All-Star Team? He may have only gone 6 yesterday against Cleveland, but he still struck out 8 and only walked one in 6 innings. The Beard is definitely a force to reckoned with, and is <i>finally</i> an All-Star, and totally deserves to start. Of course, people like Chris Sale and Chris Archer and Sonny Gray also deserve to start, but Keuchel did lead the league in player votes for a reason (good thing Lloyd McClendon didn't vote!): he demands respect because of his workload and consistency. And he does it with "average" stuff.