Niese improved to 12-9 with a 3.49 ERA. His 12 wins are a new career-high, it was the 19th consecutive start he's pitched six innings or more, and his 21 quality starts are fifth best in the National League.
Niese has now thrown a career-high 183 1/3 innings - if he can average six innings per start over his final three outings, he will exceed 200 innings for the first time in his career.
Once again last night, Niese showed he has turned a corner in his young career. He pitched really well all night long, but I was most impressed with his ability to work his way out of trouble in the sixth inning. He allowed the first three hitters to reach, had to do deal with a passed ball by Josh Thole, and worked his way out of the jam thanks to his ability to jam the cutter in and work his curveball away. As he's done so often as of late, he's maintained his ability to throw quality strikes, and that alone has helped him to weather these kinds of storms, rather than letting them get out of control. He's become an impressive pitcher, and is working his way to top-of-the-rotation status as time goes on. No matter where he is next season, he has a lot to smile about after this season.