We usher in the final full month of the regular season with a ton of September call-ups. And what the heck, for the sake of it, a quintet of really, really good pitchers. Check ’em out!
Ace in Isolation
RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE) versus Detroit LHP Matthew Boyd
Carrasco’s been up-and-down all season long. But, he was totally brilliant last time out as he tossed seven shutout innings against the Royals. Sure the Royals haven’t scored much of late, but Carrasco was masterful, fanning eight batters while scattering six hits without a walk to push his season ERA to 3.78. It’s still not where one might expect with his peripherals, but maybe it’ll start a strong month of September? August wasn’t all that kind to Carrasco. Though, despite a 4.50 ERA, he still managed 40 strikeouts against nine walks.
RHP Sonny Gray (NYY) versus Boston RHP Doug Fister
Gray’s first month with the Yankees was a stellar one. He posted a 2.70 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 13 walks over 30 innings. He allowed just 23 hits, and lowered his season ERA to 3.26—the lowest it has been all year long. This’ll be his second look at the Red Sox as a member of the Bombers, as he’ll be out for a little revenge after falling on the short side of a 5-1 loss at Fenway Park in his penultimate start. Gray has been wonderful this season, with a .224 BAA and 120-43 K/BB ratio in 127 frames.
LHP Cole Hamels (TEX) versus Los Angeles LHP Tyler Skaggs
He hasn’t been the Hamels he’s been in the past, of course. Butt he’s still been pretty dang good for a Rangers team that is still somehow just one game under .500 and clinging to the potential of a postseason berth. Hamels was pummeled last time out by the A’s, however, allowing six earned runs in just 4.1 innings with two strikeouts, three walks and a pair of home runs allowed. That pushed his season ERA to 3.78, but his August ERA to a much more palpable 3.24. The real question is where the strikeouts have gone. Hamels has fanned just 67 batters in 109.2 innings. He’s still held opposing batters to just a .226 average, but that levee could break at any time.
RHP Jimmy Nelson (MIL) versus Washington RHP Tanner Roark
Since getting shelled for nine earned runs in 3.2 innings against the Reds on Aug. 10, Nelson has been on point, allowing just eight earned runs in the three starts since, totaling 18 innings. Nelson’s August was the perfect bookend to his April, as he posted a 5.05 ERA last month (5.34 in April) after three straight solid months. Even still, he only allowed two home runs and while fanning 39 batters with 52 grounders induced in 35.2 innings. The process was better than the results, and the Brewers did actually go 4-2 in his starts. He should be primed for a pretty good September, and might be on the cusp of being called an ace.
LHP Clayton Kershaw (LAD) versus San Diego RHP Dinelson Lamet
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaack…..it’s good to see Kershaw again after he missed all of August with a back issue. He’s got a 2.04 ERA, strikeouts for days and just 101 hits allowed in 141.1 innings. He’s oddly allowed 18 home runs—a career-high mark with a month left—but everything else is pretty much in check. By the way, the Dodgers haven’t lost a Kershaw start since May Day. Even with him missing a month, that’s super impressive.