Today’s the day! We don’t have much in the way of pitching, but we do have an ace going late who might be changing his stripes at some point this afternoon. Check ’em out!
RHP Michael Fulmer (DET) versus RHP Luis Severino (NYY) — 7:05 p.m. ET
Back-to-back starts against the same team oftentimes yield unusual results. Well, that was the case for Fulmer last time out. Though, perhaps not in a way one might expect. After the Royals bombed him for eight runs (five earned) in 2.2 innings in the first start, Fulmer dealt eight solid innings five days later, allowing just three earned runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and no walks. Unfortunately, it was also in a losing effort, as the season continues to get away from the Tigers, who come into Monday just 47-56—10 games out of first place, eight games out of a Wild Card spot and firmly in “sell” territory. Justin Wilson, Alex Avila and J.D. Martinez have already departed. Will any more players be on the move before 4:00 p.m. Eastern? Only time will tell. Despite the issues around him, Fulmer has been stellar this year, ranking sixth in WHIP (1.10), seventh in innings (134.1) and seventh in ERA (3.35).
Severino has been wonderful this season. And a big reason for his step forward has been limiting the long ball in a year where balls have been flying out of the park. He’s been especially good since a rough first start in July, as his last four starts have yielded these results: 1.29 ERA, .531 OPS against and 31-7 K/BB ratio in 28 innings. Severino looks like a bona-fide stud. He’s a strikeout pitcher (10.2 K/9) with few walks (2.3 BB/9) and tons of grounders (51.8 percent).
Aces in Isolation
LHP Danny Duffy (KCR) versus Baltimore RHP Ubaldo Jiménez
Duffy has made just 16 starts as he missed all of June with a lat issue, but he’s back and pitching fairly well at an important time for the Royals. They come into Monday just two games behind Cleveland for first place and firmly in the second Wild Card spot—2.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay and 3.5 up on Seattle. Duffy has alternated hot and cold through his five July starts, and overall has posted a reasonable 3.62 ERA—pretty much in line with his season mark of 3.56—and a solid 25-3 K/BB ratio. This’ll be his second look at the Orioles this season, as he pitched the Royals to a win on May 12 with seven innings of two-run ball with eight hits, six strikeouts and a walk.
RHP Sonny Gray (OAK) versus San Francisco RHP Matt Cain
Will he or won’t he? With a 10:05 Eastern first pitch, we’ll know with plenty of time to spare if Mr. Gray will be staying by the bay for the duration of the season. If so, he’ll face his area foes and look to continue the strong run he’s been on. Gray has his season ERA down to 3.43 with 94 strikeouts. And, he’s been absurdly good in the month of July: 1.48 ERA, 25-7 K/BB ratio in 24.1 innings, 17 hits allowed. Will he stay or will he go? We have a few hours until we know.
EDITOR’S UPDATE: Sonny Gray has been traded to the New York Yankees, and will not be pitching this evening.