This Friday slate has a bit of everything as we head into another dog-days weekend. A featured duel, as well as some nice secondary aces. Plus, a couple guys on the fringes to round it all out. Check ’em out!
RHP Chris Archer (TBR) versus LHP Drew Pomeranz (BOS) a�� 7:10 p.m. ET
Archer will jump in and remain on his regular schedule after Austin Pruitta��who was slated to start Fridaya��was used in relief earlier in the week. Archer had tightness in his forearm last time out, leaving after giving up a pair of solo home runs and recording zero outs in a 5-4 loss to the White Sox. Archer’s been a bit up and down this season. Though for most pitchers, that’s a much worse season than what the righty has done. It includes 225 strikeouts in 179.1 innings, 3.76 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He hasn’t had an ERA under 3.13 or over 4.35 in any month this season. Which, in a way, speaks to how consistently gooda��but not greata��he’s been every month all year.
Something tripped in Pomeranz in early June, as the Tigers got to him for five earned runs in just 4.1 innings to push his season ERA to 4.48. Since then, he’s been downright dastardly: 81-38 K/BB in 15 starts/87 innings, .682 OPS against and 2.59 ERA. He’s still a bit spotty with his commanda��as seen by him nearly walking a batter every other inning. But the stuff has been terrific. And, he has been the lefty to step up behind Chris Sale. Expectations were that David Price or even Eduardo RodrA�guez would be that guy. But, at least fortunately for the Red Sox, at least one guy did. If all four get rolling, though? Look out.
Aces in Isolation
RHP Max Scherzer (WAS) versus Philadelphia RHP Jake Thompson
a�?If you can’t beat ’em, beat ’ema�? was the rallying cry for the Brewers last time out. They chased Scherzer from the game with a line drive off the calf to get him out of the game with just five innings pitched. Still, he was dominant while therea��one earned run on two hits over five inningsa��in an eventual 3-2 win over the Brew Crew. Even with a few physical issues this season, Scherzer has still managed to lead the NL in strikeouts and WHIP, rank second in ERA and is among the top 10 in innings pitched. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start in over a month (July 21 against the Diamondbacks).
RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus Detroit RHP Buck Farmer
The Stro-Show laid low last time out, departing after 1.2 innings with a right elbow contusion after he too was hit by a liner back up the box. He tossed his usual side session and pronounced himself ready to take on the skeleton of the Tigers, a team he should have no trouble with. Stroman has a 3.08 ERA on the season. And, is fourth in the AL in that respect as well as eighth in the league in innings pitched. If he can find some strikeouts, he’s on his way to the Cy Young conversation on a yearly basis.
I’ve waged the war all season long that Ervin Santana is not an ace. He’s been a very good pitcher all season long (3.35), of course. But the secondary stats (4.59 FIP, 7.3 K/9, 1.14 WHIP) and track record (4.04 career ERA in over 2,000 IP) say he is who he isa��a solid pitcher but by no means an ace. He’ll get a chance to take down one of the weaker offenses in the game this evening in Kansas City.
We still love Yu Darvish. But, the season ERA has swollen over 4.00 and he hasn’t been terribly good (4.50 ERA) since joining the Dodgers. They need him to take the ball and be a stopper in the final game of the evening against the Rockies and German Marquez.