Things continue to heat up as we are just over 24 hours away from the trading deadline. We’re also keeping things fairly hot, with a couple of aces in isolation and a really nice secondary duel worth your time. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Lance McCullers (HOU) versus Detroit RHP Justin Verlander
McCullers has hit the skids of late, allowing 15 earned runs over his last three starts as the Astros have lost each of them. That has also pushed his ERA up more than a run from where it was just a month ago, which is hard to do when you have 100 innings under your belt at this point in the season. Nevertheless, McCullers has a 3.67 ERA on July 30 after seeing it as low as 2.43 back before he spent time on the disabled list. He’ll look to get back on track against a reeling Tigers squad that still might have more pieces to sell.
McCullers still has impressive secondary numbers, such as 114 strikeouts in 100.2 innings and a .241 BAA. But he’s hitting the high-end mark of the 125.2 innings which is the most he’s ever thrown in the big leagues. It’ll be interesting to see how he trends the rest of the way.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (SFG) versus Los Angeles LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
Bumgarner has been good, but not great since returning from the disabled list, as allowing eight earned runs over that stretch to see his season ERA jump a little to 3.38. The Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 in his last start, which is significant because it’s the first start of Bumgarner’s seven this season in which his team has won. It’s been that kind of year for the Giants, who went belly up with Bumgarner on the shelf after his dirt bike incident. At this point, they’re playing for pride—and some of them not to be traded—with Bumgarner leading the attack. He’s got a 42-8 K/BB ratio in 45.1 innings and has held opposing batters to just a .232 average.
A fun secondary matchup today is Jacob Faria against Jordan Montgomery. Faria has been incredible over his nine starts this year with the Rays—2.67 ERA, 50-17 K/BB ratio in 57.1 innings—while Montgomery has been up and down in 19 starts, but far more the former than the latter. He checks in with a sub-4.00 ERA (3.92), plenty of strikeouts (99 in 108 innings) and a WHIP of 1.22. He’s looking like a possible rotation cornerstone.