Porcello has tossed back-to-back complete game shutouts and has not allowed a run in 25 straight frames dating back to June 15. In his win over the Oakland Athletics this week, he permitted four hits and neither walked nor struck out a batter. Porcello needed just 95 pitches (68 strikes) to dispose of baseball's top-scoring offense. He became the first Tigers pitcher to throw consecutive complete game shutouts since July 1986 (Jack Morris). Porcello is tied for second in the majors with 11 victories.
Kershaw has not given up a run in 28 consecutive innings and pitched one of the best no-hitters in history June 18 against the Colorado Rockies. Over his past three scoreless starts, he has scattered 11 hits, walked just three batters and struck out 36. Kershaw has a quality start in seven of his past eight. If he was a qualifier, his 2.04 ERA would rank third in the NL. The southpaw went 6-0 with an 0.82 ERA and 61 strikeouts in June, becoming the only pitcher in major-league history to be unbeaten with that many wins, strikeouts and an ERA that low in a calendar month.
It's no coincidence the Mariners have won eight of 10 with Seager catalyzing an offense averaging six runs per game during this stretch. The reigning AL Player of the Week is batting .519 with two homers and six RBI over his past seven games. In the past nine, he has multi-hit games in seven of them with eight runs, four doubles and 14 RBI. His four-RBI game on June 24 was his second of the season, one shy of his best mark of 2014.
During his current eight-game hitting streak, Braun is batting .394 (13 for 33) with seven runs, three doubles, a homer and 10 RBI. Five of those contests were multi-hit games. He is now 17th in the NL with a .293 average and tied for eighth with 49 RBI.
AL — Detroit Tigers
Not only are the Tigers 8-2 over their past 10 games, but they're also fresh off a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics and an 8-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, a club that had won five in a row. The A's entered the set with baseball's best record. It started when Rajai Davis blasted a three-run homer off closer Sean Doolittle and finished when righty Justin Verlander pitched six innings of two-run ball to collect his first win since May 30. Detroit has added four games on the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.
The Braves have won seven in a row and nine of the past 10 as they sit half a game ahead of the Washington Nationals for first in the NL East. Atlanta is nine games above .500 for the first time since April 29. Of those nine victories, five have been decided by one or two runs. Even though the victories have come against sub-.500 clubs in the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and Houston Astros, Atlanta has seen improved play from outfielder B.J. Upton and the bullpen.
(Clockwise from top left) Minnesota's Phil Hughes, Miami's Steve Cishek, Chicago Cubs' Junior Lake and Boston's Xander Bogaerts are this week's slumping pitchers and hitters.
Hughes surrendered a season-high seven runs on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 6 1/3 against the New York Yankees on Thursday. In his previous two starts, he allowed five runs. His ERA has climbed from 3.09 to 3.95. Prior to this rough patch, Hughes had quality starts in six of seven outings. He has lost two in a row for the first time this year. As a club, Minnesota has dropped eight of 10.
A week ago, Cishek would've been a strong candidate for the NL All-Star team. Over his past four outings, though, he has given up six runs to watch his ERA jump from 1.93 to 3.22. Against the Oakland Athletics in a tie game last weekend, Cishek matched a career high with four runs allowed on five hits with a walk and no strikeouts -- pulled after just two outs. In his second blown save of the season on Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies scored two runs on a single, leadoff walk, two stolen bases and a pair of RBI groundouts.
Bogaerts is hitless in his last 23 at-bats and 2 for 46 since June 18 with one run, two walks, no RBI and 16 strikeouts over 12 games. He has struck out multiple times in half of those contests. Bogaerts' average has dropped from .273 to .242.
Lake hasn't picked up a hit in his past 15 at-bats and is just 4 for 25 over his last 10 games. He has not driven in a run in 11 contests nor collected a multi-hit contest since June 10, striking out 13 times. Lake has walked just once over the past month.
The Rangers are losers of five in a row, eight of 10 and 14 of 17, tumbling to fourth in the AL West. They are just 1½ games ahead of the Houston Astros in the cellar and 15 back of the division-leading Oakland Athletics. Of those 10 most recent games, opponents have scored six or more runs six times. What perfectly encompasses the struggle? With the threat of rain Thursday night, Texas scratched ace Yu Darvish. The inclement weather stayed away and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Rangers.
NL — San Francisco Giants
The Giants have dropped eight of their past 10 and find themselves half a game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. During this stretch, the offense has been shut out three times and the staff has allowed six runs or more on five occasions. Though San Francisco was in the same position on an offday earlier this week, the club has spent just 14 days outside of first and never more than a game back this season.
Turns out manager Joe Maddon had the wrong number. The Tampa Bay Rays took it back to 1982 with Thursday's tweet about Maddon's lineup for the series opener with the Detroit Tigers. Tampa Bay fell, 8-1, snapping a five-game winning streak. So much for one-hit wonder Tommy Tutone's inspiration. Jenny must've changed her digits after all these years.