It’s another solid slate as we wrap up this weekend and head into another work week. We have a trio of aces in isolation. Plus, another pair who are worth monitoring as we head down the stretch run. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Carlos Martinez (STL) versus Pittsburgh RHP Trevor Williams
He’s coming off playing in the All-Star Game, but things have gone a bit sideways for Martinez in his first two July starts. He’s lasted just five innings with five earned runs allowed in each. That’s pushed his ERA out of the 2.00s—where it had been most of June—to its present-day mark of 3.40. With the strikeouts rushing in (128 in 116.1 innings), Martinez hasn’t relied as heavily on grounders in recent outings. His season rate is down to a still solid 49 percent—below his career mark of 53.5 percent. Overall, it’s been a solid season for Martinez. He is seventh in the NL in innings, sixth in strikeouts and ninth in WHIP. He’s also fifth in most walks—which makes the WHIP even more impressive.
RHP Yu Darvish (TEX) versus Kansas City RHP Ian Kennedy
Darvish is doing very similar things as Martinez, with a solid 3.49 ERA. He’s seventh in the AL in innings, fifth in strikeouts, seventh in WHIP and ninth in ERA. But also, sixth in most walks. Chalk up the low WHIP to a .215 BAA, though. As such, Darvish has been a tough nut to crack offensively through 19 starts. He too is coming off a pair of so-so starts, allowing nine earned runs over his last 11.2 innings with too many walks. He’ll look to bounce back against a Royals offense that hasn’t exactly been good this season (84 wRC+, 26th in MLB).
RHP Chris Archer (TBR) versus Los Angeles RHP Parker Bridwell
Archer has posted three straight quality starts. Though, he’s pretty much done the bare minimum in each with 18.2 innings and nine earned runs over that stretch. It’s funny, but he’s allowed three earned runs and eight hits in all three of those starts. And as a result, his ERA has stayed pretty much in line with where it has been lately (3.95 presently). He’s probably pitched better than his ERA would indicate (3.15 FIP), though. He just hasn’t put it all together this year. He’s fourth in the AL in innings and second in strikeouts (147 in 123 innings), but still has a .246 BAA, 1.25 WHIP and 13 home runs allowed. Those aren’t quite ace numbers.
It’s been an uneven year to this point, but it still feels like we should mention José Quintana making his debut on the north side of Chicago. After being dealt for a bevy of prospects including notably Dylan Cease and Eloy Jiménez, Quintana will make his first start for the Cubs in Baltimore against the Orioles. Quintana has just a 4.49 ERA, but has been fairly solid since June 1: 2.70 ERA, .622 OPS against and 45-16 K/BB ratio in seven starts (40 innings).
His numbers don’t exactly look like those befitting of his stature, but David Price is getting closer to being back to himself. He still has an ERA threatening 4.00 (3.91), but his last six starts have been really solid: 3.25 ERA, .248/.308/.397 line against and 35-12 K/BB ratio in 36 innings. He’s on the right track, at least. He’s lowered his ERA more than a run (5.29 heading into the stretch) over that time frame.