It’s a short, sweet Sunday slate of action as we present to you three aces in isolation. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
Carlos Martinez (STL) versus Cincinnati’s Tim Adleman
Martinez struggled a bit to start Augusta��six earned in five innings against the Braves on the sixtha��but finished the month with a flourish, as he allowed one earned run in each of his final three starts to bring home wins in each for the Cardinals. Martinez finished the month with a 3.38 ERA and 34-11 K/BB ratio in 32 innings, but the final three starts were clearly the most exciting: 1.29 ERA, .440 OPS against and 25-6 K/BB ratio in 21 innings. Martinez has started to find his missing strikeouts too, especially when looking at his K/9 by month: 6.0 in June, 8.7 in July and 9.6 in August. It’s probably too little, too late to throw his hat in the ring for an NL Cy Young bid, but he’s one more really nice start from pushing his ERA back under 3.00a��where it resided for all of July. He’s 10th in the NL in ERA right now at 3.07.
Johnny Cueto (SFG) versus Chicago’s John Lackey
After a rough start last time out, Cueto is in danger of seeing his ERA pop up over 3.00a��a mark it hasn’t seen since early in May when old friends the Reds dusted him up for six runs in five innings. The Diamondbacks got to Cueto last time out for four runs on five hits in just 4.2 innings, leaving him with a 2.98 ERA for the season, and an August mark of 4.38a��his worst of the season by a full run. Cueto’s two worst months of the season have come in July (3.38 ERA) and August, and the Giants have paid for it with a 5-6 record in that time frame as his ERA has jumped over a half run during that stretch. The Cubs offense is by no means the cure for what ails him, however, as they’ve been one of the finest offenses in baseball all season long.
Yu Darvish (TEX) versus Houston’s Collin McHugh
It’s been a weird bit of parallelism for Darvish of late, as the Rangers have won his last five starts after losing the five before that. And in Darvish’s last two starts, he’s worked exactly six innings while allowing three earned runs in what we like to call a minimalist’s quality start. Last time out was markedly better however, as Darvish cut his walks and found more strikeouts. In his penultimate start against the Reds, Darvish fanned and walked five batters; against the Mariners last time out, Darvish fanned nine batters, walked just two and hit a season-high 110 pitches as he is for the most part looking like someone who is pitching without any restrictions. He’s reached 100 pitches in three of his last four starts, and threw 97 in the lone outlier over that stretch. The strikeouts have been an added bonus; not only has Darvish held opponents to a .219 batting average this year, but he’s got a sparkling 90-21 K/BB ratio through 71.2 innings.