Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Jason Vargas has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for July. This is Vargas’ first career monthly honor, becoming the first Mariner to garner the award since Cliff Lee in June 2010.
Vargas compiled a perfect 5-0 record with one complete game, a 1.64 ERA, 13 walks and 26 strikeouts in 44.0 innings pitched over six starts while opponents batted just .206. Among qualifying starters, the 29-year-old finished first in the A.L. in ERA and was second in wins and innings pitched.
The seven-year veteran kept the Boston Red Sox in check over 8.0 innings in his start at Safeco Field on July 1st, allowing one run on five hits and striking out six in a no-decision as the Red Sox topped Seattle, 2-1. In the first of three consecutive road starts, Vargas surrendered just a single run and struck out six Oakland batters as the California native fired his first complete game of the season and the sixth of his career in leading Seattle to a 7-1 victory over the A’s on July 7th. Vargas scattered seven hits in a 117-pitch outing for his first victory since June 4th. In his first start of the second half in Kansas City on July 16th, the Long Beach State product allowed three runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings as the Mariners defeated the Royals, 9-4. Five days later against the Tampa Bay Rays
in St. Petersburg, Vargas kept the Mariners close over 6.0 innings, allowing an unearned run on seven hits with five strikeouts as Seattle claimed a 2-1 victory. Back home on July 26th against the Royals, the second round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft (by Florida) won his career-best 11th game of the season, yielding just a run-scoring double over 8.0 innings with five strikeouts as Seattle went on to defeat Kansas City, 4-1. In his final start of the month on July 31st against Toronto, Vargas allowed a pair of runs on five hits and struck out four in 7.0 innings, leading Seattle to their sixth straight win in a 7-2 decision. It was also the fifth straight victory for the left-hander, establishing a new career high. On the season, Vargas is 12-7 with a 3.71 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 153.0 innings pitched over 23 starts in his fourth season with the Mariners.
Others receiving votes included Vargas’ teammate Felix Hernandez (3-0, 2.03 ERA, 29 SO); Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim right-hander Jered Weaver (6-0, 2.23 ERA, 26 SO); Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price (3-0, 1.78 ERA, 44 SO) and closer Fernando Rodney (8 SV, 13.0 IP, 13 SO); and Texas Rangers starter Scott Feldman (3-0, 1.96 ERA, 1 BB, 14 SO).
In recognition for his American League Pitcher of the Month Award, Jason Vargas will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.