This Sunday slate has a little bit of something for everyone. We have a nice duel, an ace toiling in isolation and another who has lost his way of late. Check ’em out!
RHP Jimmy Nelson (MIL) versus RHP Yu Darvish (LAD) — 4:10 p.m. ET
Nelson has bounced back from getting blasted by the Reds with two fairly decent starts his last two times out—both Brewers wins. The blow-up against the Reds pushed his season ERA up to 3.72, but he’d spent a considerable chunk of time in the low-3.00s prior to that. It’s really amazing to see this from Nelson after he’d floundered for about 400 innings in his career prior to this season. He’s fourth in the NL in strikeouts (175) and 10th in innings (156.2). There’s a chance he’s a legitimate ace now, even if it’s fairly quietly that he’s come along.
Darvish is coming off the disabled list to make his first start in more than 10 days as he’ll take on the Brewers. After allowing 10 earned runs in his final start with the Rangers, he’s allowed just five earned runs in three total starts with the Dodgers for a 2.50 ERA. His season mark is down to 3.83. And, he’s got well over a strikeout per inning (170 in 155 frames) with a 1.16 WHIP and .227 BAA. His free agency is going to be fascinating. Now perhaps he’ll get a ring out of the deal as well, which is nice.
How crazy is this: Fangraphs’ PITCHf/x has Darvish throwing as many as eight different pitches at least 15 times this season. Good luck, opposing batters.
Ace in Isolation
RHP Chris Archer (TBR) versus St. Louis RHP Lance Lynn
Archer’s last two starts—both against the Blue Jays—were pretty typical of how his season has gone. He won one and took a no-decision in the other. And, allowed just four earned runs with 20 strikeouts and just one walk. He also allowed three home runs, which is pretty much in line with how his season has gone. He’s been good, but certainly not great. He’s got a 3.76 ERA that should be much lower—hello FIP!—as he’s fanned an incredible 217 batters in 172.1 innings with a 1.21 WHIP and .238 BAA. He’s second in the AL in innings and strikeouts, ninth in WHIP and 10th in ERA. That’s pretty good—but could and should be even better, however.
It’s been really, really hit-and-miss with Carlos Carrasco all season long. Five starts ago, his ERA was 3.58. Now it’s 3.95, and he’s gone 5-5-0-1-6 as far as earned runs over that stretch. In other words, he’s had a pretty rough August: 5.67 ERA, .761 OPS against and 32-9 K/BB ratio in 27 innings. He’ll look to get back on track in this one.