Despite no top-tier duel it’s a pretty solid pitching day across MLB. We’ve got a couple good aces in isolation and a couple of intriguing head-to-head matchups as well. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
Max Scherzer (WAS) versus Arizona’s Zack Godley
With just one earned run allowed in seven innings last time out against the Giants, Scherzer continued what has been an incredible streak that he’s had going for quite some time now. He got his season ERA down to 2.85 with yet another quality start, and he’s allowed two or fewer earned runs in 10 of his last 11 starts dating back to June 1. And while Scherzer couldn’t match the heroic 58-7 K/BB ratio he put up in June, his July ERA was a minuscule 1.32, as he allowed just five earned runs in 34 innings. For some context, Scherzer’s worst start in June (remember, 1.96 ERA that month) came on June 24 when he allowed five earned runs to the Brewers. So in one June start, he allowed the same number of runs he allowed in all of July. Oh and by the way, over the rest of Junea��sans the Milwaukee starta��Scherzer allowed just four earned runs in 35.1 innings. He’s been on some kind of tear.
Johnny Cueto (SFG) versus Philadelphia’s Phil Klein
Cueto has put together a really nice season for the Giantsa��2.63 ERA, 131-30 K/BBa��but has had a few starts get away from him over the course of the season. About once every five or so starts he’ll allow four or more earned runs, but usually comes back with three or four absolutely fantastic starts right behind it to erase the damage. Last start wasn’t exactly one of those, but he did go just five innings in a loss to the Nationals, as he allowed three earned runs with eight hits and just a 3-2 K/BB ratio. This is an opportunity for some revenge on the Phillies for Cueto however, as they hung a six spot on him back on June 26. The Giants took Cueto off the hook in an 8-7 win in that game, but he had a similar start with just a 2-2 K/BB ratio on that day as well. He was solid in July, too: 3.38 ERA, 33-7 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.
Cole Hamels against Kevin Gausman has potential to be really fun. Hamels has put together a really solid season for the Rangers (2.84 ERA, .233 BAA, 132 K’s in 133.1 innings) but has battled walks a bit (51). His last start came on the back end of a home-and-home with the Royals, and as we’ve seen with many pitchers this year, it’s the hurler who had the upper hand. Hamels tossed eight strong innings, allowing a pair of earned runs with a staggering 12-1 K/BB ratio. Gausman is without a doubt the most talented Orioles starter, but has been a bit uneven this season (4.18 ERA). That has never been more evident than his last two starts, as first he held Cleveland to just four hits in seven shutout innings before the Blue Jays bamboozled him for six earned runsa��including three home runs!a��last time out in just three frames. He’ll look for consistency against a tough Rangers offense that scored four runs against him in five innings back on June 20.
It’s worth getting excited about Chris Sale and Michael Fulmer as well. We’ve profiled Salea��among the favorites for the AL Cy Young awarda��all season long, though he’s scuffled a bit and had some weirdness on and off the field of late. He made just four starts in July for…reasons…with a 4.85 ERA. He made it through the deadline as a member of the White Sox, and looks to get back on track against a divisional foe. The Tigers have won 13 of Fulmer’s last 14 starts, though his real brilliance has been limited to the last 12 or so: 1.50 ERA, .534 OPS against and 62-21 K/BB ratio in 78 innings. There’s also no talk of shutting him down early as of yet, so that’s a good sign for Tigers fans.