"If it was an injury, he wouldn't have been pitching with it," Rand said. "If it was a structural injury, he would not have been pitching."
Simon had an up and down season, and after Friday's outing, he blamed the inconsistencies on the left knee issue. Specifically, he said it reduced his velocity at times and meant he couldn't keep the ball down with regularity.
He's headed to free agency this offseason and this little tiff probably did him more harm than good. He returned to Detroit on Saturday to get a platelet-rich plasma injection, just as he did after pitching for the Reds last season.
After a five-start losing streak during which he was done in by a combination of questionable pitching and inconsistent run support, the stars finally aligned for Kluber on Saturday. The outing marked his second eight-inning shutout of 2015, and the third time overall that he blanked the opposing squad during his time on the mound.
Although his ERA did rise over last year's number by a full point--going from 2.44 to 3.49--it was actually lower than the 3.85 figure he'd posted while amassing a solid 11-5 record in 2013. Kluber's other key metrics did not suffer any drastic drops this season either, and his BB/9 rate actually improved from 2014's 1.95 to 1.82. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old practically reversed his 2014 AL Cy Young-winning 18-9 record during a disappointing campaign, but certainly has the talent to rebound strongly next season.
McHugh ended his season on a high note, earning his sixth win in his last seven outings and helping the Astros keep their one game lead in the AL West. The 28-year-old has enjoyed a career resurgence in the American League, posting excellent numbers in his two seasons with Houston after disappointing stints with the Mets and Rockies.
Burnett's final regular-season start turned out in disappointing fashion, although the 17-year veteran turned back the clock by recording nine whiffs, his second-highest total in a game in 2015. His spotty control Saturday led to four free passes and 107 pitches, his highest total in that category since a July 11 outing against the Cardinals.
Burnett also uncharacteristically surrendered a homer for the third straight start, his longest streak by far in a campaign during which he has only given up 11 gopher balls overall. Although he was unable to help the Pirates clinch home-field advantage for their upcoming wild-card showdown versus the Cubs, Burnett would still figure to be a vital component of the Pirates' postseason pitching staff if they reach the Division Series.
Hellickson threw 82 pitches in his final start of the season, failing to exceed five innings for the third time in his last four outings. The 28-year-old has had a tumultuous season, enduring a disabled list stint and erratic performances. With an inflated WHIP and underwhelming strikeout totals, Hellickson's value is limited to deeper leagues.
It took Erlin just 86 pitches to get through his seven innings, so it could've been even better. Erlin got his first start in Colorado and allowed seven runs, but in his last two starts he's been great. In that two-game span. Erlin has gone 14 innings, while allowing just two runs on seven hits. He is making a nice case to stay in the rotation next season, but that won't be decided until next March at the earliest.
The 21-year-old rookie wraps up 2015 with three consecutive quality outings, during which he has posted an impressive 2.37 ERA. Severino was sharp Saturday, throwing 66 of 91 pitches for strikes, securing first-pitch strikes on 21 of 26 hitters, and inducing 13 swings-and-misses. He didn't help his cause by surrendering homers to Nolan Reimold and the red-hot Manny Machado, bringing his final HR/9 rate for 2015 to 1.30.
While Severino definitely needs to curtail his propensity for surrendering round-trippers and handing out free passes, he turned in a considerably strong rookie campaign, and would be in line to start Game 1 of a possible AL Division Series for the Yankees.
The fantastic seaon continues for Greinke and he's put a nice stamp on his Cy Young resume with this final start. Any other season or in the AL, Greinke would be an easy winner, but with the performances of Jake Arrieta and Clayton Kershaw, the award is up in the air right now. Greinke finished his year with a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with an even 200 strikeouts in 32 starts this season.
The 23-year-old was sharp in his final outing of the season, retiring the first 11 hitters he faced. Nicolino has brought stability to a Marlins rotation otherwise in flux, but possesses limited fantasy upside -- the southpaw's 2.80 K/9 is the lowest in baseball (min. 50 innings pitched).
Asher threw just 43 pitches in his Sept. 30 shellacking against the Mets, allowing him to start against Miami on short rest. The outing may have been ill-advised, as Asher was pummeled in his two innings, lasting just 44 pitches in Game 2 of the doubleheader. The 23-year-old posted a 4.73 ERA in Triple-A Round Rock while still in the Rangers organization -- perhaps an indication that Asher is not ready to face big league hitting.