MLB Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Tulo, Viciedo cookin’ with hot bats

(Clockwise from top left) Toronto's Mark Buehrle, Miami's Jose Fernandez, Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki and Chicago's Dayan Viciedo 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 April 24

HOT PITCHERS

AL — Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays

Buehrle leads the majors with a 0.64 ERA in four starts. The left-hander has 19 strikeouts and allowed just five walks. He went seven innings with three strikeouts in a victory over the Cleveland Indians on April 19. He has gone at least seven innings in three of his appearances, and he’s 4-0 with just two runs allowed all season.

NL — Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

Fernandez leads the majors in strikeouts with 47 in five starts. The right-hander had a season-high 14 in eight innings during a victory over the Atlanta Braves on April 22. It marked the second consecutive start in which he had earned double-digit strikeouts, following the 10 he totaled in a no-decision against the Washington Nationals on April 16. He’s 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA for the season.

HOT HITTERS

AL — Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox

AROUND THE HORN

Viciedo hit .500 (14 for 28) in seven games from April 18-24. The stretch included one home run, five RBI and just one strikeout. He hit safely in each game from April 19-24, and the span included four multi-hit games. He has hit .377 with one home run and nine RBI for the season.

NL — Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Tulowitzki hit .550 (11 for 20) in six games from April 18-23. The stretch included three home runs, 10 RBI and six walks. He recorded seven hits, including two three-hit performances, in a three game series vs. the Philadelphia Phillies on April 18-21, and he tallied another three-hit game against the San Francisco Giants on April 23. He has hit .388 with four home runs and 16 RBI this season.

HOT TEAMS

AL — Texas Rangers

The Rangers won five of six games from April 18-23. At 14-8, they are tied for the best record in the American League with the Oakland Athletics. The Rangers have won nine of 11 from April 13-23, and their pitching staff is fourth in the AL with a 3.77 staff ERA. They have lost consecutive games just once this season — April 4-5 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

NL — Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers won five of six games from April 18-23. They have the majors’ best record at 16-6, and have only lost two consecutive games twice. Their 2.52 ERA ranks second in the majors. The offense is mediocre — they’re tied for seventh in the National League in runs with 91 — but they have allowed just 70 runs.

(Clockwise from top left) Minnesota’s Ricky Nolasco, San Francisco’s Matt Cain, St. Louis’ Jhonny Peralta and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez and are this week’s featured cold pitchers and hitters.

COLD PITCHERS

AL — Ricky Nolasco, Minnesota Twins

Nolasco allowed a combined 11 runs and 21 hits in a loss to the Kansas City Royals on April 18 and a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on April 24. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 6.67 ERA in five starts this season. He has struck out 13 and walked nine. He has lasted past the sixth inning just once, when he went eight in a victory over the Royals on April 12.

NL — Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

Cain allowed a combined eight runs (seven earned) and 14 hits in a loss to the San Diego Padres on April 18 and a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies on April 23. The right-hander has struck out 25 and walked 10 this season. The 10 hits allowed against Colorado marked the first time he had surrendered more than seven all season. He’s 0-3 with a 4.35 ERA in five starts.

COLD HITTERS

AL — Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

Perez hit .040 (1 for 25) in six games from April 18-23. The lone hit in the span was an RBI single in a loss to the Cleveland Indians on April 23, and it snapped a five-game hitless stretch from April 18-22. Perez’s batting average has dropped from .300 after play April 17 to .213. He has one home run and six RBI this season.

NL — Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals

Peralta went 0 for 20 in six games from April 18-23. The six-game slump followed a five-game hitting streak from April 13-17 in which he had two hits each game four times. He struck out four times and drew four walks in the hitless stretch. He has hit .151 with four home runs and eight RBI this season.

COLD TEAMS

THE 500-HOME RUN CLUB

AL — Seattle Mariners

The Mariners lost five of six games from April 18-23. At 8-13, they join the Houston Astros as one of two teams in the American League with fewer than 10 victories. They have produced only 76 runs, which ranks 27th in the majors. They last won consecutive games when they claimed three straight against the Los Angeles Angels from March 31-April 2.

NL — Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates lost six of seven games from April 18-24. They suffered two three-game losing streaks in the stretch, broken up by a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on April 21. They own a 9-14 record, and only the Chicago Cubs’ 7-14 mark is worse in the National League Central. Offense has become an issue. They were held to two or fewer runs in four of five games from April 20-24.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Welcome to the club, Albert Pujols. The Los Angeles Angels slugger became the first player to hit career home runs 499 and 500 in the same game when he smacked the pair in a 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. At age 34, he became the third-youngest player to reach the milestone. He follows Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx, who were 32. Some argue the 500 Club has lost luster in recent years, but Pujols’ place as one of the game’s great power hitters should be secure.

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