We’re back for another short-slate Thursday. But what we don’t have in quantity, we make up for with superb quality. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Carlos Martinez (STL) versus Cincinnati RHP Homer Bailey
Ugly Carlos showed up last time out, as the Cubs got to him for seven earned runs in 5.1 innings in an 8-2 loss. He’d been pretty good up to that pointa��six earned over his previous four starts combineda��in recent outings. But, he still has the odd penchant for giving up lots of hits. Or walks. Or flat out losing his ability to strike out hitters in a given start. The total package looks gooda��3.57 ERA, .228 BAA and 205-66 K/BB ratio in 194.1 innings. But on a start-to-start basis, it’s hard to imagine such a good pitcher being less consistent than this.
RHP Jake Arrieta (CHC) versus Milwaukee RHP Zach Davies
The last time we saw Arrieta, he was roughed up by the Pirates in 2.1 innings before departing with a hamstring issue. That was nearly three weeks ago, and he’ll look to right the ship against the Brewers, who are still in the thick of things for a Wild Card spot. Arrieta was magnificent before going down with the injury, as his previous nine starts had resulted in two or fewer earned runs in every single one. His ERA had crept well above 4.00a��unprecedented territory for a pitcher of his ilka��but he was down to 3.36 before the hiccup against the Pirates.
Don’t sleep on Davies in this matchup, either. He’s got a 3.89 ERA, though some of his secondary numbers are a bit more troubling. The Brewers need him to bring the money.
LHP Dallas Keuchel (HOU) versus Chicago RHP Carson Fulmer
Keuchel has been a bit up-and-down of late. More good than bad, but still not great. But, he’s also been consistent. And not only consistent, but true to his form, inducing at least 10 grounders in nine straight starts. He’s not an overpowering strikeout guya��110 in 133.2 inningsa��and he won’t get to the innings count needed to be a a�?qualifieda�? starter (one inning pitched per team game played). Yet, it’s still been a mighty solid season for the lefty: 2.96 ERA, .216 BAA and 1.11 WHIP. The power is in the batting average. Most groundball guys like Keuchel allow high averages, but escape because it’s hard to get extra-base hits on grounders. That’s why Keuchel is doubly dangerous with such a low BAA.
Cole Hamels against James Paxton is a really fun duel, but we can’t quite give it top billing. Hamels has a sub-4.00 ERA (3.96, so just barely) and has completely lost the ability to strike batters out. Paxton got touched up last time out in his return from a pectoral injurya��three earned runs, just four outs recordeda��but still has a sub-3.00 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning on the season. This could be a fun one.