It’s a pretty solid pitching day on this baseball Thursday, though a large portion of it is aces who have fallen on hard times recently. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Michael Fulmer (DET) versus Los Angeles’ RHP J.C. Ramirez
Fulmer got roughed up last time out to get his ERA up to 3.00a��for the first time in over a montha��but it hardly mattered as the Tigers gave him plenty of support in a 15-5 win over the White Sox. The Pale Hose got him for five earned runs in seven innings, but he still managed to induce 12 grounders with five strikeouts while throwing 103 pitches. He’s induced double-digit grounders in six straight starts and seven of his last eight, which bodes well with his diminished strikeout rates (59 in 75 innings). He’s also walked one batter or less in each of his last four starts, which also pairs well with so-so whiff rates.
LHP David Price (BOS) versus New York’s RHP Michael Pineda
Price has been solid through two starts: 3.00 ERA, 11-3 K/BB ratio in 12 innings, .125 BAA and just a 0.67 WHIP. This’ll be the toughest offense he’s seen, however, as the Yankees boast the No. 2 crew in MLB (114 wRC+). Price threw 88 pitches in his first start and 92 in his second, so he’s got to be getting close to the 100-pitch mark here. Don’t sleep on Pineda, either. He’s been good outside of allowing a bunch of home runs, which is pretty much how it has always been.
RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU) versus Kansas City’s RHP Jason Hammel
The reigning AL Pitcher of the Month didn’t wait long to bring some struggles into June, lasting just 4.1 innings last time out against the Rangers. McCullers threw 96 pitches, struck out eight batters and walked just two, but allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and didn’t pitch through the fifth for the first time since mid-April. The Astros still managed to win the gamea��the fifth straight McCullers start they’ve wona��and despite the rough start, the righty still ranks among the top-10 in the AL in strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. He’s allowed six home runs this year, but just one over his last six starts. The Royals offense (79 wRC+, 28th in MLB) is a good bounce-back spot for him.
Johnny Cueto has struggled a bit this season, as his 4.38 ERA will attest. Even last time out, a 5-3 loss to the Phillies, Cueto fanned nine batters, walked none but allowed three earned runs and an uncharacteristic eight hits. One of the most difficult pitchers to hit over the last few years, Cueto has allowed an unusual .259 average this season. He hasn’t allowed an average that high since 2009.
Gerrit Cole has gotten absolutely wrecked over his last three starts, as his ERA has swollen from under 3.00 all the way up to 4.27. Over that stretch, he has allowed 16 earned runs in 14.2 innings (9.82 ERA) with an unthinkable 28 hits over that time frame. Hitters have slashed .400/.440/.857 against him over that stretch as well. So he’ll look to get back on track against a Miami offense that has just a collective 96 wRC+. He’ll still have to steer clear of Giancarlo Stanton, though.
Jon Lester has also had better stretches than he’s on right now, allowing nine earned runs over his last 9.1 innings to push his ERA up to the cusp of 4.00. Really, since a blazing hot start to the seasona��1.00 ERA through three startsa��he’s been wholly unimpressive in the meantime: 4.89 ERA, .799 OPS against and 54-21 K/BB ratio in 53.1 innings. The Rockies offense isn’t an ideal bounce-back matchup either.