It’s a short Monday slate, but there’s plenty to love. So give us a spin with a nationally-televised duel, another really solid one and a couple aces going in isolation. Check ’em out!
RHP Corey Kluber (CLE) versus RHP Luis Severino (NYY) – 7:00 p.m. ET a�� ESPN
We’ve documented Kluber’s brilliance all season long. Now, he’s posted a 2.65 ERA, 208 strikeouts in 152.2 innings, a .195 BAA and a WHIP of 0.91. He’s been especially good since coming back from the disabled list, too. So says his 1.87 ERA in 16 starts, 167-19 K/BB ratio in 115.1 innings and an OPS against of .493 with an 18 percent whiff rate. Somehow the Indians are just 10-6 over that stretch, however. But the most earned runs Kluber has allowed over that time frame is foura��and that was just once. He’s allowed three or fewer in each of the other 15 starts.
This is a matchup between pitchers No. 2 and 4 on the fWAR leaderboard. Kluber is at 5.3 while Severino sits at 4.6. Severino has been absolutely tremendous all season long, not only posting a K/9 rate of 10.5 and a BB/9 rate of 2.4, but also inducing grounders at a rate of over 50 percent which has led to a FIP (3.04) that is actually lower than his ERA (3.10). In other words, that narrow gap means he’s pretty much been as good as his numbers look. He’s third in the AL in ERA and WHIP (1.10), fourth in strikeouts (183) and ninth in innings (156.2).
LHP Drew Pomeranz (BOS) versus RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR)
We haven’t talked much about Pomeranz this season, but he’s been terrific of late. He’s allowed three or fewer earned runs nine times in the last 10 starts. And,has lowered his season ERA to 3.18 in the process. He has more than a strikeout per inning, and just a .251 BAA. As always, his biggest issue has been walks, which have his WHIP at an iffy 1.34 despite all his other solid numbers. Pomeranz is fifth in ERA (3.18). Plus, is coming off outdueling Kluber in a 6-1 win last time out. Pomeranz has won seven straight decisions.
The Stro Show was a no-show last time out, unfortunately. The righty allowed five earned runs in 5.1 innings in a 7-6 Jays win over the Rays. That pushed his ERA back up over 3.00a��it was 2.99 entering the starta��where it has been for much of the season. We’d still like to see more strikeouts, of course. But August has been fairly kind to the 26-year-old righty: 3.51 ERA, 26-8 K/BB ratio and 64 grounders induced over 33.1 innings. He’s a groundball wizard. With strikeouts, Stroman could be in the Cy Young mix year in and year out.
Ace in Isolation
RHP Max Scherzer (WAS) versus Miami RHP JosA� UreA�a
As expected, Scherzer breezed through the hapless Giants offense last time out, tossing seven innings of two-run ball in a no-decision that wound up being a 6-2 Nationals win. Scherzer’s last two starts have been virtual carbon copies of one another. Each has been seven innings with five hits, two earned runs and a home run allowed. Against the Giants, Scherzer fanned 10 batters and walked just one. In the previous starta��against the Marlinsa��Scherzer fanned nine batters and walked two.
Simply, this is your NL Cy Young winner. He’s first in the NL in strikeouts (220) and WHIP (0.85), second in ERA (2.25) and 10th in innings (160.1).
RHP Aaron Nola (PHI) versus Atlanta RHP Lucas Sims
The Phillies are in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 pick, but don’t blame Nola. They come into Monday’s action with just 48 wins, but Nola’s starts have provided 10 of them. The team is still just 10-11 in his starts, but he’s posted a very solid 3.58 ERA to this point with more than a strikeout per inning. His ERA is also this solid despite allowing 12 earned runs over his last two startsa��seven to the Marlins, five to the Giantsa��which is indicative of just how good he’s been this season.
We’d like to suggest a bounce-back game against a bad Braves offense, but that was also true of the Giants, who beat him 5-4 in his penultimate start. He needs to avoid a late-season swoon.