At least we won a game this past week. Thank you so much, Scott Feldman, for giving us this gift. Feldman wasn't perfect in six innings (five hits, two runs, two walks, 113 pitches, and only three strikeouts) but he was effective enough to keep us in the game. If you want to look at a potential player to perform well down the stretch, take a look at Feldman. After that ERA hit 4.93 in his first game back, it's steadily gone down in the three starts since then (now at 4.46) and should continue to sink with an xFIP of 3.87. Feldman's Hard% is the second-best of his career at 21.9% and would be behind only Dallas Keuchel if it qualified. His K/9 of 5.00 is obviously pretty bad, but a BB/9 of 2.02 and a GB% of 49.1% make up for at least some of that. Don't write him out of the rotation so soon.
As I predicted (ignore that Angels start, he still got the win) Collin McHugh is indeed heating up. He went six innings (121 pitches!) while allowing five hits, two runs, and three walks. Similar to Feldman, obviously, but then you see the strikeouts--eight of them, to be specific. The BABIP is still high (.314) and the FIP, xFIP, and SIERA are all below 4.00 while his ERA has now dropped to 4.22 (still some regression to go!). He's walked one or fewer batter in four of his last six games as well. He's nearing his career-high innings total from last year and should pass it in a couple starts. It's easy to forget that he's not much of a veteran and has never hit 160 innings in his professional career, so it should be interesting to see if fatigue has any effect on him as the Astros close in on the playoffs.
I like Fiers the starter much better than Fiers the reliever. Outside of a solo shot, Fiers was excellent, racking up four Ks and walking just one in 6.2 innings on Sunday (don't talk to me about the bullpen, they didn't win any awards this week). His SIERA is .28 lower than his ERA, so some good regression appears to be in store. Plus, his strikeout ability hasn't really shown up, and that's sure to come back to him soon. While much has been made of his majors-leading Hard% (that was me), it may be much ado about nothing, as his exit velocity isn't much higher than league average. Hopefully, his BABIP of .315 will regress, his ERA will continue falling, and he won't be having many more bullpen appearances.