Tampa Bay Rays All-Star Blake Snell has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for his efforts in August, and Cole Hamels, in his first month as a member of the Chicago Cubs, has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for August. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Snell compiled a perfect 4-0 record with a 1.04 ERA and 34 strikeouts over five starts to earn his first career AL Pitcher of the Month Award. Blake permitted just 11 hits, two home runs and six free passes across 26.0 innings of work. Among qualified AL starting pitchers, the left-handed hurler finished first in ERA, tied for first in wins and fourth in strikeouts. This is Tampa Bay's first AL Pitcher of the Month Award this season, and the first since Snell's former rotation-mate Chris Archer in July 2013.
Over the course of his dominant month on the mound, Snell won each of his four decisions for the Rays while not permitting more than one run in each start. On August 21st against the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field, the 25-year-old tossed 6.0 innings of one-run ball with 11 punchouts to earn his 15th victory of the season. The outing was his sixth career start in which he notched at least 10 strikeouts, and his fifth of the season. Following the outing, the native of Washington state, joined Hall of Famer Bob Gibson as the only pitchers since 1920 to log at least 160 strikeouts and surrender fewer than 35 runs through 24 career starts. In the final start of his award-winning period on August 26th, the 2018 AL All-Star earned his fourth consecutive win after limiting the first-place Boston Red Sox to just one run on two hits across 6.0 innings. The performance was his 14th consecutive home start in which he allowed one earned run-or-fewer since September 12, 2017 against the New York Yankees. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the longest streak of its kind since at least 1913. Moreover, Snell became just the second starter, and first left-hander, in franchise history to tally at least four wins with an ERA of 1.04-orlower in a single calendar month, joining the aforementioned Archer during his award-winning month.
Carlos Carrasco (4-2, 1.85 ERA, 39.0 IP, 50 SO) of the Cleveland Indians also posted a strong month of August. In four of his outings, the Venezuelan native tossed at least 7.0 scoreless innings, earning the victory in each start. The veteran right-hander notched his 16th win of the season in his final start on August 28th, and enters play today tied with All-Star Max Scherzer for the fourth-most in the Majors. Others receiving votes for AL Pitcher of the Month included Carrasco's rotation-mates, All-Star Corey Kluber (4-1, 2.81 ERA, 41.2 IP, 41 SO) and Mike Clevinger (3-0, 2.21 ERA, 36.2 IP, 39 SO), as well as relief pitcher José Leclerc (10 G, 0.00 ERA, 7 SV, 18 SO) of the Texas Rangers.
Across six starts in August, Hamels registered a perfect 4-0 record with 38 strikeouts and a 0.69 ERA to claim his first career NL Pitcher of the Month Award. The left-handed pitcher limited opposing batters to just 28 hits and 11 walks, while not allowing a home run over 39.0 innings pitched. Among qualified NL starting pitchers, Cole finished his strong month first in ERA; tied for second in wins; third in innings pitched; and tied for fourth in strikeouts. This is the Cubs' second Pitcher of the Month Award this season, following AllStar Jon Lester in June.
Hamels, who was acquired at the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline from the Texas Rangers, has won each of his four decisions with the Cubs. Following his award-winning month, the 34-year-old veteran became the only pitcher to pitch at least 5.0 innings while allowing one run-or-fewer in each of his first six starts with the Cubs since at least 1908. Making his debut for his new Club on August 1st against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the four-time All-Star struck out nine batters while not allowing an earned run to claim his first win with Chicago. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his nine strikeouts were the fourth-most in a Cubs debut when allowing zero earned runs since earned runs became an official statistic in 1912. On August 23rd against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field, the 17th overall selection in the 2002 MLB Draft earned his ninth win of the season after tossing his first complete game of the 2018 campaign. In three starts at "The Friendly Confines" since joining the Cubs, Hamels has gone 1-0 with 24 strikeouts and a 0.86 ERA. Overall, the 2008 World Series Champion and Most Valuable Player became the fifth hurler (eighth time) in franchise history to win four games with 38-or-more strikeouts and an ERA lower than 0.70 in a month, joining Jake Arrieta in August and September of his NL Cy Young Award-winning 2015 season, Orval Overall (September 1909; May 1909; September 1908), Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown (August 1909) and Ed Reulbach (September 1908).
Others receiving votes for NL Pitcher of the Month included All-Star Jacob deGrom (3-2, 1.24 ERA, 43.2 IP, 60 SO) and Zack Wheeler (4-1, 1.13 ERA, 40.0 IP, 43 SO) of the New York Mets; rookies Jack Flaherty (4-0, 1.13 ERA, 32.0 IP, 38 SO) and Austin Gomber (5-0, 2.38 ERA, 34.0 IP, 29 SO) of the St. Louis Cardinals; All-Star Aaron Nola (3-0, 1.06 ERA, 34.0 IP, 35 SO) of the Philadelphia Phillies; and trade deadline acquisition Kevin Gausman (4-1, 1.69 ERA, 32.0 IP, 22 SO) of the Atlanta Braves.
In recognition of their Pitcher of the Month Awards, Blake Snell and Cole Hamels will each receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments.