You can never make the mistake of betting on pitchers based on their name or reputation. Far too often, guys who should be pitching well are instead burning the money of bettors who back them. This list of guys are among the pitchers who are most guilty this season of doing less than expected and causing issues for people who aren't paying close enough attention to who the players really are - not what they used to be. Here are the most obvious underperforming big names through 60ish games this season:
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Jered Weaver, San Diego Padres: Weaver only barely fits on this list because he has been lousy the last couple of years and you would really have to be out of touch to think he's a premier pitcher at this point. Where he's at right now, though, is almost sad. This is a guy who won 20 games once and 18 games two other times. At 34, though, he is pitching only barely better than I could. He is 0-9, his ERA is an ugly 7.44, and of the 240 pitchers in Major League Baseball who have started a game this year he has cost bettors the most money of all. The only good news is that he and his team are both so lousy that he has been a solid underdog each time he has started, so his backers are down just nine units so far. He's been on the DL since mid May, and there is a very solid chance that he won't start again for the Padres - or anyone else.
Josh Tomlin, Cleveland Indians: This is proof that baseball is hard. Tomlin is no superstar, but the last two years he has been a very reliable part of very good Cleveland teams. He has gone a combined 20-11 over the two years and produced nice profits. Now, though, he's just 3-8, the team is 4-8 when he starts, he has lost five of his last six - all as favorites, and he's doing better than just two guys in terms of betting losses. It's ugly.
Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox: You are not supposed to wind up on this list the year after you won the Cy Young - even if you stole that Cy Young from Justin Verlander. Porcello was 22-4 last year and was the third-most-profitable moneyline pitcher in all of baseball. He was dominant. This year he is just 3-8, the team is 5-8 in his starts, and his ERA is up well over a run per game. It's important to remember in this case, though, that the year before his Cy Young he was just 9-15, so he's really just pitching back to expectations in a way.
Matt Harvey, New York Mets: I could have picked a number of Mets pitchers, but Harvey is at the center of the ridiculous soap opera and talent-wasting exercise that is the Mets' pitching staff. It's almost sad to watch. It's definitely pathetic. Up until two years back Harvey was really good. Last year, though, he was lousy. And this year his 4-3 record hides that his ERA is over five and that the team is just 4-8 in his starts.
John Lackey, Chicago Cubs: Lackey was a reliable piece of the championship rotation last year for the Cubs. Now, though, the 38 year old just looks old. Like the rest of this team, Lackey has been unable to figure out where he put his mojo after last season. He is 4-6, the team is 6-6 in his starts, and his ERA has exploded from 3.35 last year to 5.12 this year. He has cost bettors more than four units so far this year.
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs: Here's another Chicago pitcher not getting it done after being so good last year. Lester went 19-5 last season, and his ERA was 2.44. He was the game 1 starter in all three playoff rounds, so the team obviously valued him highly. He's an ace. But he's not pitching like on this year. His ERA is up 1.7 runs per game, his 3-4 record is far from impressive, and the team is just 6-7 in his starts. It's not a wonder the Cubs are doing so poorly when they have two pitchers on this list - guys who have no business being here.
Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants: It sure seemed like the Giants overpaid for Samardzija two years ago. Last year he basically tread water, finishing 12-11 and only barely doing enough to be respectable. This year the Giants have been just awful, and Samardzija deserves a fair share of the blame. His record is a lousy 2-8, and he's just burning money. To his credit, I guess, his numbers are pretty much equally bad at home and on the road, so at least he is consistent. Consistently lousy, but consistent.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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