Miami Marlins ace Pablo López is coming off two brutal starts and you can see the concern on social media. Is he OK? Is there anything to worry about? Or is this just random variance as pitchers can’t be expected to be dominant all of the time? Let’s find out what’s going on with the Cy Young contender…
Pablo López has struggled in his last two starts.
Pablo López has been phenomenal this season and earned a recent arbitration raise. He currently has a 4-2 W-L record with a 2.04 ERA/2.85 FIP, 9.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. These are excellent Cy Young caliber numbers, but he was bad in his last two outings, including giving up 4 runs in 7 innings last night. Pablo did accumulate 8 strikeouts and give up 3 home runs. Could the home runs have been “flukey” and been the reason for his poor outing?
Pablo López has a 3.34 ERA for the month of May, with an alarming 3.80 FIP, but strong 2.98 xFIP. xFIP averages out the home run rate to the league average, while FIP uses the pitcher’s actual home runs allowed. This shows that Pablo has been unlucky with giving up home runs, that he does more than the average pitcher. He has 1.52 HR/9 for the month of May, which is significantly higher than his career mark of 1.01. We can therefore reasonably assume that once his home runs normalize, his production will improve as well.
Pablo López has lowered the contact rate that hitters have against him, so it seems that the culprit for his two below average starts was indeed an inflated home run rate. What is the reason behind it? My guess is that it’s simple bad luck as watching the games, I didn’t get the feeling that Pablo was tipping his pitches. I also don’t think that his pitches suddenly got worse, and there’s no evidence for that anyway. Pablo’s pitching arsenal is not the issue here.
Pablo López is a legitimate Cy Young contender and as I wrote over the weekend deserves a contract extension. There is no reason to worry about his production as he will be fine. The Miami Marlins have an ace and like all aces he’s going to have some bad games, more than made up for by the amount of his great ones.