We’re back for another Saturday slate with a trio of aces in isolation. Plus, a really fun secondary duel that’s worth keeping an eye on. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Sonny Gray (NYY) versus Seattle RHP Yovani Gallardo
Gray has been remarkably consistent since coming over in the trade to the Yankees. He’s allowed just two earned runs in each of his first four starts with the Bronx Bombers. That’s lowered his season ERA to 3.38a��just 0.05 lower than it was when he was traded. Gray’s last start was a bit strange. He lasted just five innings against the Red Sox with zero strikeouts. That was Gray’s first outing as a big leaguera��out of 118, including 116 startsa��where he did not record a strikeout. He’ll look to get back on track against a Mariners offense, another bunch that is not terribly apt to striking out, either (20.4 percent, 21st in MLB).
LHP Cole Hamels (TEX) versus Oakland LHP Sean Manaea
Speaking of not having strikeouts, that’s been an issue for Hamels all season long. He’s at just 65 whiffs in 105.1 inningsa��a rate of just 5.6 K/9 which is nearly three full strikeouts off his career rate. While it’s worth wondering how much his shoulder injury cost him in that respect, he’s still fanning just 6.2 batters per nine in the second half. And, just 5.3 per nine in August. To his credit, he’s managed to keep hitters at bay all the while as they’re hitting just .213/.291/.350 against him this season. Still, is he going to be able to do that over the long haul? It remains to be seen.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (SFG) versus Arizona RHP Taijuan Walker
Hard-luck Bum continued last time out, allowing one earned run on four hits over six innings against the Phillies in a no-decision. The Giants lost 5-2, and fell to 3-9 in Bumgarner’s starts this season. It’s not reflective of how he’s pitched this season, however. He’s got a 2.87 ERA, 74-14 K/BB ratio in 78.1 innings and a BAA of .230. He’s also allowing just over a baserunner per inning (1.06 WHIP). And, he ratcheted up to 111 pitches last time out. We had wondered about manager Bruce Bochy managing his pitch counts in a lost season, but that theory was blown up. At least for the time being.
Gerrit Cole against Luis Castillo is a fun secondary matchup this evening. Cole has not been as good as his pedigree might indicate, but a 4.16 ERA isn’t terrible either. He’s not quite at a strikeout per inning (148 in 160 innings), and opposing batters have hit .257 against him this season.
Castillo, meanwhile, has been terribly impressive through his first 12 MLB starts: 3.45 ERA, 74-30 K/BB ratio in 70.1 innings, a WHIP of 1.19 and a BAA of .214. Can he keep it up?