Niese is on a bad run with 29 hits and 15 earned runs allowed in his last three starts. They’ve been tough matchups against the Cubs and at Colorado and Arizona. But he strikes out too few and walks too many to do much damage even in better matchups. He’ll go again on Monday in Cincinnati.
Rizzo is just on cruise control. More walks than strikeouts, .352 ISO, .416 wOBA, and he is not even getting the normal knocks to fall with a .206 BABIP. He’ll face Juan Nicasio on Wednesday against whom he is 0-for-7 lifetime, but ignore that.
Arrieta now has quality starts in 25 of his last 26 starts, one the one non-quality start was a five innings, one run allowed start last time out. It’s hard to argue with that kind of run. That said, his strikeout rate is down this year, his walk rate is up, and his BABIP (1.76) and strand rate (95.9 percent) are simply unsustainable. But his trump card is that he manages contact so well as his hard hit rate allowed is consistently better than average. That’ll cure a lot of ills, but there’s no question that a few rougher starts has to be coming unless he gets his strikeout and walk rates back to where they were last year to mitigate some of the BABIP and strand rate regression. He’ll go again Sunday against the Nationals.
Bryant is working on a nine-game hit streak and is hitting .305 for the year. He’s cut his strikeout rate down to 21.1 percent so far after striking out 30 percent of the time last season. A more disciplined Bryant is a scary thing. He’s four category contributor with the average now above average, and he could be a five-cat guy if his double-digit speed from last year shows back up, but he’s 0-for-2 on steal attempts this season. He’ll face Juan Nicasio on Wednesday whom he has faced only twice.