MLB on Sling TV: Cardinals at Marlins on TBS, Mariners at Cubs on ESPN; Regional Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks

Jul 31, 2016 by Scott Ross

(All times Eastern, starters subject to change)

St. Louis Cardinals (Martinez 10-6, 2.87) vs. Miami Marlins (Koehler 8-8, 4.18)
1:10pm ET on TBS
Despite Adam Wainwright’s claim, based on seniority and body of work, to the mantle of staff ace, Carlos Martinez has emerged as the Cardinals’ best starter. He leads the rotation in ERA, wins, and WHIP, has twice as many WAR (3.6) as any other member of the staff, and he’s on a hot streak, with a 1.76 ERA over his last 10 starts. His most recent start was a bit of dud, as he lasted just 5 innings, and gave up 5 hits and 4 walks, but managed to hold the Mets to a pair runs on the way to a 3-2 win.

For all the advancements made in baseball analysis that have allowed us to better appreciate the value of players, there’s one type of player whose contributions remain criminally overlooked: the average starting pitcher. Take Tom Koehler, for instance – since joining the Marlins rotation full time in May of 2013, he’s 35th in the Majors in innings pitched, and he’s 90th in ERA+ at 94, which means his ERA is just a little above league average. All he does is take the ball every fifth day and give you a chance to win – you can’t say that about a lot of guys. And over his last 16 starts, he’s got a 3.44 ERA in 91 2.3 innings, though his SO/BB ratio of 1.80 still has to make you nervous.

Seattle Mariners (Hernandez 8-3, 4.30) vs. Chicago Cubs (Hendricks WLERA)
8:08pm ET on ESPN

Felix Hernandez’s fastball has been on a slow and steady decline almost from Day 1, going from 96.3 his rookie season to 90.3 this year. Last year he dealt with the diminishing velocity by using his curveball more, and it kinda worked, as he went 18-9 and had an ERA of 3.53 over 201 ⅔ innings, but the ERA was only slightly better than league-average. This year, his K rate is down and his walks are up, and though his ERA has dropped, it’s smoke and mirrors, as his FIP is up .84 over last year, and he’s getting killed on his sinker, as batters are hitting .325/.407/.613 against it, according to FanGraphs. He’s still only 30, and he’s good enough to adjust to his diminsiing skills, but as the headline at Lookout Landing recently declared, “Hard Truths: Felix Hernandez is not an elite pitcher anymore.”

Kyle Hendricks was kinda meh in his last start – 5 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 1 HR – but the Cubbies’ bats were silenced by James Shields, who held them scoreless for 7 ⅔ en route to a 3-0 win. Still, hard to feel sorry for the man, as he’s enjoying a career year while on the best team in baseball, one that just went out and overpaid for Aroldis Chapman.

Watch the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Miami Marlins at 1:05pm ET on TBS by subscribing to Sling Orange or Sling Blue; and then the Seattle Mariners vs. the Chicago Cubs at 8:08pm ET Sunday on ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange..

And here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land…

Houston Astros (Keuchel 6-10, 4.57) at Detroit Tigers (Pelfrey 3-9, 4.98)
1:10pm ET on FOX Sports Detroit

New York Yankees (Pineda 5-9, 5.00) at Tampa Bay Rays (Snell 2-4, 3.05)
1:10pm ET on Fox Sports Sun

Oakland Athletics (Hill tk) at Cleveland Indians (Kluber 9-8, 3.44)
1:10pm ET on SportsTime Ohio

St. Louis Cardinals (Martinez 10-6, 2.87) at Miami Marlins (Koehler 8-8, 4.18)
1:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida & FOX Sports Midwest

Philadelphia Phillies (Eickhoff 6-12, 3.83) at Atlanta Braves (TBD)
1:35pm ET on FOX Sports South

Chicago White Sox (Shields 5-12, 4.68) at Minnesota Twins (Santana 3-9, 3.78)
2:10pm ET on FOX Sports North

Pittsburgh Pirates (Liriano 6-10, 5.38) at Milwaukee Brewers (Garza 1-4, 5.74)
2:10pm ET on FOX Sports Wisconsin

Kansas City Royals (Gee 3-4, 4.54) at Texas Rangers (Harrell tk)
3:05pm ET on FOX Sports Kansas City & FOX Sports Southwest

Boston Red Sox (Wright 12-5, 3.12) at Los Angeles Angels (Skaggs 1-0, 0.00)
3:35pm ET on FOX Sports West

Arizona Diamondbacks (Cobrin 4-9, 5.31) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Norris 6-9, 4.27)
4:10pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona

Cincinnati Reds (Bailey NA) at San Diego Padres (Rea 5-5, 4.98)
4:40pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati & FOX Sports San Diego

Watch baseball on FOX and FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to Sling Blue.

All stats courtesy of ESPN, Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

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