We dive in headlong into Labor Day weekend with perhaps our strongest pitching slate of the season. That’s right, baseball fans. We have SEVEN aces working in isolation. Check ’em out!
Ace in Isolation
LHP Drew Pomeranz (BOS) versus New York RHP Masahiro Tanaka
After all the hubbub surrounding whether or not he was fully healthy when the Red Sox traded for him, Pomeranz has delivered the goods this season. Not only does he have a 3.23 ERA, but he’s had an ERA of 3.00 or lower in each of the last three months. Since June 1, he’s been terrific: 2.67 ERA, .695 OPS against and 85-40 K/BB ratio in 91 innings. The walks are an issue—always have been—but for a team that expected to rely heavily on lefties, Pomeranz has been quite a nice surprise behind Chris Sale with David Price failing to meet expectations.
RHP Corey Kluber (CLE) versus Detroit RHP Jordan Zimmermann
Kluber absolutely diced the Yankees last time out, out-dueling fellow right-handed stud Luis Severino in a 6-2 win at Yankee Stadium. Kluber fanned seven batters, walked just one and allowed just two earned runs on three hits over eight innings. Since returning from the disabled list, he’s been absolutely untouchable. That amounts to a 1.90 ERA, .487 OPS against and 174-20 K/BB ratio in 123.1 innings. He’s Sale, minus a month. He’d be your Cy Young winner if not for that.
RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus Baltimore LHP Wade Miley
The Stro-show was terrific last time out against the Red Sox, tossing six innings of two-run ball (one earned) with four strikeouts and no walks. The strikeouts haven’t exactly been ample this season—139 in 170.2 innings—but he’s still inducing tons of grounders. That game against the Red Sox was the only time in his last 10 starts that he didn’t induce at least 10 worm-burners. Instead, he got nine. Stroman is coming off a solid August, posting a 3.20 ERA with 30 strikeouts and eight walks in 39.1 innings. He did allow too many hits (43), however.
RHP Chris Archer (TBR) versus Chicago LHP Carlos Rodon
Archer was terrific last time out against the Cardinals, allowing just a solo home run to Kolten Wong over seven innings with five hits, eight strikeouts and just one walk. Archer was absolutely brilliant in August too, posting a 3.13 ERA with 48 strikeouts and six walks in 37.1 innings while allowing just 30 hits. The Rays’ playoff hopes are a bit dim at this point, however. But facing the rebuilding White Sox with your ace on the hill isn’t a bad way to get things jump started.
RHP Max Scherzer (WAS) versus Milwaukee RHP Brandon Woodruff
He’s gonna win the NL Cy Young. What more do you need? His last three starts have been virtual carbon copies of one another. He’s tossed 21 innings with 15 hits allowed, four earned runs and a ridiculous 29-5 K/BB ratio. He leads the NL in strikeouts (230) and WHIP (0.85). And, he’s second in ERA (2.21) and nine in innings (167.1).
RHP Aaron Nola (PHI) versus Miami Dan Straily
Nola has been terrific for a really bad Phillies (51-83) team this season. Even despite allowing 12 earned runs over a recent two-start span, his season ERA is still just 3.46, and he’s coming off dealing against the Braves: seven innings, five hits, one run, six strikeouts and no walks. He’s ninth in the NL in ERA, has more than a strikeout per inning and is holding opponents to a .237 batting average.
RHP Yu Darvish (LAD) versus San Diego RHP Jordan Lyles
Darvish had a wonderful first month in Los Angeles, other than missing time with a back issue. He allowed eight earned runs in 23 innings (3.13 ERA) with 29 strikeouts and seven walks. There isn’t much more to add but this. Forget the injury potential for just a moment. Imagine having to face even just three of Clayton Kershaw, Darvish, Rich Hill and Alex Wood. If they have all four? Good night.