Manaea had a 4.73 ERA and 1.31 WHIP on Aug. 17, but he is closing the season on a high note. In his past five starts, he hasn't allowed more than one earned run, and he owns a 0.64 ERA and 0.78 WHIP with a 27:8 K:BB in 28.1 innings. Perhaps most importantly, Manaea had allowed 18 home runs in his first 19 appearances; in his five outings since, he has surrendered just a pair.
McHugh has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his past six starts and hasn't dropped a decision since August 13 against Toronto. With Lance McCullers and Dallas Keuchel banged up, McHugh is effectively Houston's ace despite his 4.53 season ERA. McHugh posted a 3.89 ERA with 171 strikeouts in 203.2 innings in 2015 and has looked much more like that pitcher of late.
Iwakuma has been sharp this September, now with four quality starts in five chances and a 22:8 K:BB over 29.1 innings. He appears to have lost his form this season, having allowed a career high 28 home runs in 195.1 innings, but he has managed to give the Mariners chances to win as they try to climb back into the playoff picture in the season's final weeks. The effort lowered Iwakuma's ERA to 3.96; he has yet to allow an ERA of 4.00 or worse in five major league seasons.
Smyly has completed six innings just once in his past five starts and has allowed 30 hits in just 25.1 innings and a 5.33 ERA in that span. Although he didn't allow a home run for the first time in that stretch on Monday, he did give up two doubles, both of which would eventually come around to score. Smyly's 4.88 season ERA can largely be pinned on his susceptibility to the extra-base hit, as he has given up 32 homers in just 30 starts this season.
Perez had four consecutive quality starts heading into Monday's outing, but his propensity for blowups like this has been present all year long. He has now allowed at least five runs in eight of his 32 starts, or one in four. Perez has had some occasional success with his pitch-to-contact approach, and the Rangers stellar offense and defense have lifted him to double-digit wins, but he's simply too unreliable to be more than a back-end option.
Manager Terry Francona seemed to indicate that the groin was a minor issue and that the early exit was precautionary, saying of Kluber, "He's good, but he has a groin thing that he's fighting." The Indians went on to defeat the Tigers 7-4, and they clinched the AL Central in the process. The combination of the injury and the fact that the Indians will have little to play for in the final games of the regular season would seem to make it unlikely that Kluber would make another regular season start, although the Indians have not yet said anything about whether or not he will miss a start.
Weaver only tossed 71 pitches and left the game with a 1-0 lead. At this time the Angels haven't divulged whether or not Weaver will be able to make his last projected start of the season.
Happ has been rolling of late, allowing just six earned runs over his last four starts. The 20-game winner has lived up to expectations in his first year in Toronto, setting career-best marks in wins, strikeouts, and WHIP. His final regular-season start will come Saturday in Boston.
This will be Gray's first start back since being placed on the DL on Aug. 7 with a right forearm strain. As opposed to shutting him down, the A's are looking to get the young righty some live action in the final week. It has been a season to forget for the 26-year-old, who currently holds an ugly 5.74 ERA over 116 innings.
It's unclear whether Kluber was pulled for injury reasons, and we'll have to wait for an announcement from the clubhouse to know more. He wasn't at his sharpest, as he gave up two runs on five hits and a walk over four innings, but he was hardly poor enough to deserve such an early hook, so it's difficult to be optimistic at this point.