- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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1. Daniel Murphy, New York Mets. Miami Marlins starter Jarred Cosart pitched eight innings and allowed just two hits, but with the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the eighth, he was removed for a pinch hitter. Mike Redmond's move paid off as the Marlins eventually plated the go-ahead run. In came closer Steve Cishek, who had a four-run outing back on April 7, but had thrown four perfect innings his previous four appearances. But not on this night. Juan Lagares doubled and Lucas Duda walked. After Michael Cuddyer flew out, Murphy did this. You can see catcher J.T. Realmuto setting up outside, but Cishek's 88 mph fastball was inside, right at Murphy's sweet spot.
Cosart continues to be one of the most intriguing pitchers out there, and not just for his gambling habits. His strikeout rate is very low for today's game -- he had just two against the Mets and has 12 in 25⅓ innings -- but his hard sinking fastball moves so much hitters just don't square it up often, and he's allowed a .184 opponents' batting average so far. I don't know if he's that good, but he's looking like that rare pitcher who can succeed without racking up a lot of K's.
2. Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs. Hammel allowed just four hits and no walks in eight shutout innings as he cooled off the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 4-0 win. Hammel had the best success with his fastball he's had all season as the Pirates went 4-for-19 against it with four strikeouts. In his first three starts, opponents had hit .340 with three home runs against it.
3. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies. Wins for pitchers don't matter! Yeah, tell that to Hamels after he finally got his first of 2015 in a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Hamels still struggled with his control -- issuing four walks -- but fanned nine in seven innings. His ERA is down to 3.19 and his trade value is rising again.
4. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, New York Yankees. Considering the state of some of the other bullpens in the AL East -- the Red Sox rallied against Toronto's on Monday and Koji Uehara hasn't looked good for Boston -- maybe this pair will be the difference-maker at season's end. They've yet to give up an earned run in 20⅔ innings and have allowed just eight hits while striking out 34. Betances pitched the eighth and Miller got his eighth save in a 4-1 win over Tampa Bay.
5. Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers. He's made it here before for his defense, but he's been a huge surprise at the plate. He's batting .397 after going 3-for-5 in Detroit's 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins -- including a home run and triple. It was his first game in the No. 2 slot in the lineup. While he rarely hits the ball hard, he puts the ball in play and the hits keep falling.
Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets tops the list.