It’s another action-packed weekend slate as we break down one really fun duel, a literal handful of aces in isolation and a pretty fun secondary matchup as well. Check ’em out!
Jacob deGrom (NYM) versus JosA� FernA?ndez (MIA)
7:10 p.m. ET
deGrom was in rare form last time out, twirling a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and just one walk against the Phillies. He faced just one over the minimum, and lowered his ERA to 2.38 with his eighth quality start in his last nine. This is the lowest deGrom’s ERA has been since early May, and he’s now been striking out batters in excess of one per inning since mid May as well. He’s still not completely caught up in whiffs (98) to innings (102), but he’s not far off. Since June 1, deGrom has a 61-9 K/BB ratio in 54 innings, and since July 1 he’s been downright unhittable. He’s allowed just 10 hits all month, which comes out to an opponents’ slash line of .141/.187/.282.
FernA?ndez too faced the Phillies last time out, and had a phenomenal performance. He fanned 14 batters in just 6.1 innings, while allowing a pair of earned runs on four hits with two walks. In fact, he struck out more than half (14 of 25) the batters he faced, with just nine balls put into play overall. It’s been that kind of year for FernA?ndez, against whom batters are hitting only .204 with a 168-33 K/BB ratio. Every now and then he’ll have a rare blip on the radar screen, but for the most part he’s untouchable. In his last 10 starts, he’s got a game where he’s allowed six runs and another where he allowed four; in the other eight starts, he allowed five runs… TOTAL.
Aces in Isolation
Max Scherzer (WAS) versus San Diego’s Edwin Jackson
Scherzer’s dropped his ERA by a half-run over his last four startsa��not easy to do at this time of yeara��as he’s allowed just two earned runs over that 27.1-inning time frame. Equally importantly is that he’s allowed just one home run overall in that stretch, and has buried opposing batters with a 33-7 K/BB ratio. He has four starts of double-digit whiffs in his last 10, and hasn’t struck out fewer than six batters in any game since April 21 against the Marlins (three). That’s the only time he’s fanned fewer than six all season.
David Price (BOS) versus Minnesota’s Ricky Nolasco
Price’s last two starts sort of indicate how weird his season has been. In his penultimate start against the Rays, he fanned 10 batters, walked just one and threw eight shutout innings. Last time out against the Yankees, he was decenta��5.2 innings, three earned runsa��but allowed 11 hits and struck out just one batter. It’s just been a crazy, up-and-down first season for Price with the Red Sox, which has resulted in lots of strikeouts (141 in 130 innings), lots of earned runs (4.36 ERA) and a few too many homers (16).
Johnny Cueto (SFG) versus New York’s Ivan Nova
Cueto leapfrogged Jeff Samardzija to take this spot in the rotation, and as a result Shark will take on Nathan Eovaldi Sunday on TBS. Three of Cueto’s last four starts have resulted in four or more earned runs, and as a result his ERA has swollen from the low-2.00s to its present-day mark of 2.64. Still, to have allowed 14 earned runs in those iffy starts and still have an ERA well below 3.00 tells the story of how good Cueto has been in his first season with the Giants.
Chris Sale (CWS) versus Detroit’s Matt Boyd
Sale bounced back from his worst start of the seasona��eight earned runs in five innings against the Braves, of all teamsa��with one of his best, as he tossed eight shutout innings against the Mariners, just to see them claw back with four runs to win it in the ninth. Sale allowed just one hit against the M’s, fanning six and walking three in an overall solid effort. Even in a a�?downa�? year, Sale has a 3.18 ERA, 129-29 K/BB ratio (in 133 innings) and just a .216 BAA.
Cole Hamels (TEX) versus Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura
Hamels got back on the right track with eight excellent innings against a strong Cubs offense last time out. He allowed just one run (zero earned) with seven strikeouts and perhaps most importantly, zero walks. After walking six batters against the Twins in his previous start, that was huge. The walks have still been a bit questionable all season (47 in 120 innings), but otherwise he’s having pretty much a typical Hamels-like season. His ERA is exactly 3.00 after last time out.
Aaron Nola against Tyler Glasnow should be a fun matchup. After a very rough stretch, Nola got back on track last time out with six shutout innings in what ended up being a 3-2 loss for the Phillies. He fanned five, walked just one and allowed only two hits in the strong effort. His ERA is still at a shaky 4.41, but that doesn’t really tell the tale of just how good he was to start the season. His ERA was a meager 2.65 in mid June. Glasnow is making his second big league start, as the big righty was neither good nor bad against the Cardinals in his first start. He allowed four earned runs in 5.1 innings, but permitted just three hits with five strikeouts as well. He’s a huge part of the future for the Bucs.