We jump into what’s just MLB’s second slate with no day games and a ton of intriguing options. We’ve got one solid matchup, a ton of secondary ones, and some aces to keep you engaged. Check ’em out!
Raisel Iglesias (CIN) versus Noah Syndergaard (NYM)
7:10 p.m. ET
Iglesias is off to a strong start for the Reds this year through four appearances, with a 3.09 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 23.1 innings. He’s kept the walks down tooa��just fivea��which paired with 26 hits allowed gives him a bit of an uncomfortable 1.33 WHIP. Either way, he’s been far, far more good than bad. Whether or not his groundball stuff returns is a legitimate question however, as he’s induced a rate of just 35.7 percent thus far after a solid 47.2 percent last year. At Great American Ballpark, that can be a bit of an issue. It hasn’t yet, however (0.8 HR/9).
Thor is proving to be downright subhuman, as he’s fanned 29 and walked just four batters through 20 innings spanning his first three starts. He’s got a sub-1.00 ERA, a .205 batting average against, and he’s hitting incredible numbers on the radar gun with all his pitches. So far this season, PITCHf/x says he’s hit 85 mph with his curve, 93.1 with his changeup, 94.6 with his slider, and an astonishing 101.4 with his sinker. Oh, he’s also hit 101.1 with his four-seamer. He’s inducing grounders at a 60-plus percent rate as well, in case you didn’t think things were already too unfair. It’s hard to steal the crown, but he could threaten Clayton Kershaw as the best pitcher on the planet eventually.
Aces in Isolation
Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus Chicago’s Miguel Gonzalez
The strikeouts have been slow to come for Stroman (15 in 28.1 innings), but he’s been pretty good in other departments as he’s pitched himself to a 3-0 record and the Jays to a 3-1 mark in his starts. Three of the four starts he’s made have resulted in double-digit groundball figures; the other was a mere nine grounders. Total it up and it’s resulted in a second straight season with a 60-plus percent groundball rate. He only fanned 6.0 batters per nine last yeara��in a similar samplinga��but the stuff is there to fan many more.
Danny Salazar (CLE) versus Minnesota’s Tommy Milone
The Twins are on a two-day streak of striking out a ton, and a matchup with Salazara��provided the weather holds offa��doesn’t bode well for the team keeping it from stretching to three days. Salazar has 23 strikeouts in 18.1 innings, and is holding opponents to just a .129 BAA. There might be a stiff breeze at Target Field tonight. It’s also worth noting that Milone is pitching for his rotation spot, especially with superstar prospect JosA� BerrA�os off to a scorching start at Triple-A Rochester.
Madison Bumgarner (SFG) versus San Diego’s Drew Pomeranz
Bumgarner hasn’t been bad, he’s just been average through four trips in the Giants rotation. He’s got a 3.91 ERA and the Giants have lost his last three starts, but it’s not because he’s been all that bad. He’s sporting a 23-3 K/BB rate over that time frame and outside of allowing four runs against the Dodgers in the middle start of that stretch, has allowed just three earned runs in the other two. Some of his other season numbers are a bit out of whack as wella��it’s early, we can’t overemphasizea��but his walk rate has doubled and his groundball rate has bottomed out. He’ll have some work to do.
Kendall Graveman versus Jordan Zimmermann has potential to be a really nice secondary matchup. Everyone knows how good Zimmermann is and can bea��he’s allowed no earned runs yet as a Tiger in three startsa��but don’t sleep on Graveman, who fanned eight Yankees last time out and has a 2.04 ERA through three starts for the A’s.
Rick Porcello versus Julio Teheran pairs up a couple of guys who have failed to match expectations recently. However, Teheran is the ace of the Bravesa��faint with damning praisea��and should be a lot better than the 5.64 ERA he’s posted. And while Porcello’s 4.66 ERA is unsightly, he’s walked just three batters all season with 24 strikeouts in 19.1 innings. Adding strikeouts would be a significant wrinkle, and it’s not just a recent development. In seven starts between September and October last year, he also fanned 52 batters in 50.1 innings. That’s starting to become some kind of sample size.
Kevin Gausman versus Chris Archer is more off the radar than it should be for a couple reasons. Gausman is making just his first start of the season after battling shoulder issues. He was up over 90 pitches in his last rehab start, so it’ll be interesting to see where he’s at physically. Archer has been absolutely obliterated so far this season, with a 7.32 ERA and six home runs allowed through four winless starts. He’s allowing more than two baserunners per inning (2.08 WHIP) and a .345 BAA, but despite it all ranks third in the AL with 29 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. This rematch with Baltimore is big; he allowed four home runs against the O’s back on April 8 at Camden Yards.
Jaime Garcia versus Zack Greinke would carry more intrigue if one of these guys wasn’t struggling. You’d be surprised who is who, however. Garcia has a 2.70 ERA through three starts with 26 strikeouts and eight walks in 20 innings. Greinke however has been hot and cold, with a 5.25 ERA but a solid 22-6 K/BB rate in 24 innings. After allowing 11 earned runs in his first two starts (10 innings), he’s allowed just three in the 14 innings sincea��both Diamondbacks winsa��with a 12-2 K/BB ratio. A slow start in a new place isn’t surprising, nor is him getting things right eventually.
Ian Kennedy versus Garrett Richards is probably more interesting now than people might have expected a few weeks ago. Kennedy has a 1.35 ERA through three starts with a stellar 21-5 K/BB ratio in 20 innings, and hasa��at least thus fara��proven the Royals to be wizards when they signed him to that much-maligned contract in the offseason. The Angels have lost all four of Richards’ starts so far this season, but he’s been solid, fanning 25 batters in 24 innings with a 3.00 ERA. His ERA has tumbled with each start, following a bit of a tough one against the Cubs to open the season.