MLB Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: White Sox, Dodgers flex their muscles

Clockwise from top left: Chris Sale of the White Sox, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers and Jose Abreu of the White Sox are this week's hottest pitchers and hitters.

Some have slumped, while others have simmered. Here’s our weekly review of who’s running hot and cold around Major League Baseball.

Stats through July 31

HOT PITCHERS

AL — Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

Sale went 3-0 with a 0.85 ERA in four starts from July 4-26. The left-hander allowed three runs and 22 hits in 31 2/3 innings in the span. He won five consecutive decisions from June 18-July 26 and pitched no fewer than seven innings (and threw at least eight innings, twice) in five starts from June 28-July 26. Overall, he’s 10-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 122 strikeouts this season.

NL –€“ Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Kershaw went 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA in five starts from July 4-31. The left-hander allowed five runs and 23 hits in 42 innings in that span. He has won 10 consecutive decisions, and in July, he posted 43 strikeouts to just four walks. Overall, he’s 13-2 with a 1.71 ERA and 150 strikeouts this season.  

HOT HITTERS

AL — Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

Abreu hit .522 (12 for 23) with two home runs and nine RBI in six games from July 25-31. He had four multi-hit contests in that window, which included three hits each earned in victories over the Detroit Tigers on July 29 and July 31. He hit .374 with six home runs and 19 RBI in July, and .305 with 31 home runs and 83 RBI this season.

NL –€“ Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

Kemp hit .571 (12 for 21) with three home runs and eight RBI in six games from July 25-31. He had at least two hits four times in the span, and he went 3 for 4 twice in victories over the Atlanta Braves from July 29-30. He hit .325 with three home runs and 15 RBI in July. He has hit .286 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI this season.

HOT TEAMS

AL –€“ Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays went 6-1 in games from July 25-31. The stretch mostly included success against American League East rivals, with two victories over the New York Yankees and a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. The Blue Jays continued their winning ways with a victory over the Houston Astros on July 31. At 60-50, they trail the Baltimore Orioles by 1 1/2 games in the AL East.

NL –€“ Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers won six consecutive games from July 25-31 — a run that included three-game sweeps of the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves. They went 14-10 in July, the best record in the National League West. After losing two consecutive games to the St. Louis Cardinals to start the post-All-Star break schedule, the Dodgers won eight of 10 games from July 20-31. At 62-47, they own the NL’s best record and lead the Giants by 3 1/2 games in the NL West.  

COLD PITCHERS

Clockwise from top left: Jason Hammel of the Athletics, Tim Lincecum of the Giants, Nelson Cruz of the Orioles and Dan Uggla of the Giants are this week’s coldest pitchers and hitters.

AL –€“ Jason Hammel, Oakland Athletics

Hammel went 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA in starts against the Texas Rangers on July 25 and the Houston Astros on July 30. The right-hander allowed 12 runs (11 earned), 14 hits and five walks in 10 innings. He never lasted beyond 5 2/3 innings in either start, and finished July with a 1-4 record and a 7.83 ERA in five appearances. Overall, he’s 8-9 with a 3.87 ERA and 116 strikeouts this season.

NL –€“ Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

Lincecum went 0-1 with a 12.91 ERA in starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 25 and Pittsburgh Pirates on July 30. The right-hander allowed 11 runs and 14 hits in 7 2/3 innings. He was pulled before the sixth inning in both appearances, and the nine hits allowed against the Dodgers tie for the most he has surrendered this season (also against the Cleveland Indians on April 26). Overall, he’s 9-7 with a 4.21 ERA and 116 strikeouts this season.  

COLD HITTERS

AL –€“ Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles

Cruz hit an awful .048 (1 for 21) with three strikeouts in six games from July 25-31. He went without a hit in five consecutive contests from July 26-31, which made him close July with a .211 batting average for the month with four home runs and nine RBI. He has hit .264 with 29 home runs and 75 RBI this season.

NL –€“ Dan Uggla, San Francisco Giants

Uggla went hitless in 11 at-bats over four games from July 25-30. He struck out six times in the span, and he finished July without a hit in 13 appearances at the plate. He has done little offensively since his debut with the Giants on July 25 in an 8-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has hit .149 with two home runs and 10 RBI this season.     

COLD TEAMS

AL –€“ Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox lost five of six games from July 25-30. They allowed at least four runs in four of the losses, including 14 in a rout by the Toronto Blue Jays on July 28. They were 10-15 in July — the worst record in the American League East. They lost eight of nine games from July 22-30, helping drop their AL East-worst mark to 48-60.

NL –€“ Atlanta Braves

The Braves went 3-4 in games from July 25-31. They lost three consecutive contests from July 29-31 to the Los Angeles Dodgers — their first three-game losing streak since dropping four consecutive from July 6-9 against the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets. They were 13-13 in July, placing them 2 1/2 games behind the Mets’ pace for the month’s best mark within the National League East. At 58-51, they trail the Washington Nationals by 1 1/2 games for the division lead.

TWEETS OF THE WEEK


A week of uncertainty is over. Lost in the rumors and breakneck developments of the Major League Baseball trade deadline is the personal impact these whirlwind hours can cause. Players like left-handers Jon Lester and David Price departed the only franchises they had known in the majors. With the change comes so much adjustment: new teammates, new clubhouses, new expectations. Their former franchises, meanwhile, are left to evolve without them. New chapters begin, of course. But the former lives are never forgotten.  

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.