On a short Monday MLB slatea��just 10 gamesa��we only have two aces worth keeping an eye on. But, they are pretty solid ones. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Stephen Strasburg (WAS) versus New York LHP Steven Matz
Strasburg’s June was a little rough. Especially the tail end. It brought his season ERA all the way up into the mid-3.00s for the first time all season. His ERA for June was 4.58. Yet, that’s largely from allowing five and six earned in starts on June 23 and June 12, respectively. He was otherwise fantastic in the montha��48-10 K/BB ratio in 35.1 innings, 32 hits alloweda��while posting ERA marks of 3.09 in April and 2.78 in May. Most likely, it’s just a blip on the radar screen that’ll be quickly erased with another strong stretch. Strasburg is sixth in the NL in WHIP (1.10) and seventh in strikeouts (122 in 102.2 innings). And, he’s held opposing batters to just a .221 batting average. We also found out on Sunday evening that he’s headed to his third All-Star Game.
Don’t sleep on Matz as an opponent, either. He’s only made four starts and has just 18 strikeouts in 27 innings. But, he’s completed seven innings three times and has just a 2.67 ERA.
RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus New York RHP Masahiro Tanaka
Stroman may have been a bit of a snub for the All-Star Game, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t good last time out. The diminutive righty had one of his finest starts of the season, holding the Orioles to just five hits over 7.2 shutout innings. He also struck out eight batters, walked one and got grounders off the bats of 13 of the 20 batters he faced and did not strike out. That’s about as dominant of an effort as a groundball-type pitcher can have. And, it came at a great time. Stroman had allowed seven earned runs in four innings in his previous start against the Rangers, which had driven his ERA all the way up to 3.69a��the highest it had been since early May.
Stroman isn’t the typical ace, as opposing batters have hit a respectable .269 against him this season.But he’s so grounder-dependent that teams have trouble stringing together big innings against him. He’s seventh in the AL in ERA (3.41) and 10th in innings pitched (100.1).