Second Half Starting Pitching - AL Central

Cliff Lee's performance in the second half will likely drop from an already disappointing first half.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Over the past two weeks we have investigated which hitters have a historical tendency to turn it on in the second half of the season. Now it's time to turn our attention to the pitching side of the ball and see who comes to play and who coasts through the end of the season.

Our second stop is in the American League Central which has a lot more young starters than yesterday's analysis of the American League Eastern Division. The Central Division is filled with first and second-year starters who's statistics will not be as reliable as a pitcher such as Cleveland's Cliff Lee. In Lee, we can be pretty sure based on seven years of pitching history that his performance in the second half will drop from the first half. That's not a good sign for fantasy owners since Lee was well below expected in April and May. Coming off a Cy Young Award winning season of 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, Lee let down owners by going 2-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.40 WHIP through the end of May.

Lee will likely not be the only AL Central pitcher to disappoint his fantasy owners. Others in the division who historically drop in performance after the All-Star break include: Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Mark Buehrle and John Danks.

If you are looking for improvement or to pick up some pitching "on the cheap" now would be the time to make an offer for Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker or Kevin Slowey of Minnesota, Bartolo Colon of the Chicago White Sox or a real sleeper in Jeremy Sowers of Cleveland.

Liriano's history says he will drop his ERA by more than three-quarters of a point and his WHIP from 1.32 to 1.13. Baker has sliced his ERA by more than a point over his four-year major league career and Slowey will drop his ERA more than a point and WHIP from 1.34 to 1.14.

Probably the biggest jump in performance comes out of Jeremy Sowers who has a first half record which isn't fantasy worthy at all, but becomes a second-half "stud" by dropping his ERA from 6.60 all the way to 3.79 and his WHIP from 1.65 to 1.19. The odds are very good that Sowers in unowned in your league and can simply be picked up off waivers.

First Half/Second Half Pitching Statistics for Selected AL Central Starters

First Half Second Half
Player Team W L WHIP ERA W L WHIP ERA
Francisco Liriano MIN 12 11 1.32 4.13 9 5 1.13 3.39
Kevin Slowey MIN 17 8 1.34 4.55 7 6 1.14 3.59
Bartolo Colon CWS 80 62 1.35 4.35 73 41 1.31 3.77
Jeremy Sowers CLE 3 16 1.65 6.60 10 6 1.19 3.79
Scott Baker MIN 14 17 1.29 5.01 17 13 1.28 3.87
Zack Greinke KC 21 28 1.26 3.94 21 19 1.33 3.99
Mark Buehrle CWS 71 45 1.22 3.52 57 44 1.31 4.08
Carl Pavano CLE 45 46 1.32 4.41 27 24 1.40 4.21
Gavin Floyd CWS 19 15 1.48 5.58 10 8 1.38 4.33
Gil Meche KC 45 44 1.40 4.25 35 29 1.39 4.48
Cliff Lee CLE 47 24 1.31 3.71 32 21 1.32 4.55
Justin Verlander DET 33 19 1.19 3.47 19 17 1.49 4.96
Sidney Ponson KC 56 64 1.49 5.00 35 47 1.45 5.00
Nick Blackburn MIN 12 7 1.28 3.51 4 8 1.54 5.09
Jeremy Bonderman DET 40 34 1.32 4.35 19 13 1.49 5.47


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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