We’ve got plenty of balance for you on this Tuesday slate, baseball fans. We not only have three aces in isolation, but also a trio of guys knocking on the door of the ace designation as well. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Aaron Nola (PHI) versus Miami RHP Dan Straily
The Phillies season has been utterly forgettable as they’re 32 games under .500, but Nola has been a godsend. He was on a tremendous run prior to allowing five earned runs in as many innings in a loss to the Giants last time out. And, he’ll look to start another one as he takes on the good, but not great Marlins offense (96 wRC+). How good had Nola been cruising? Well not only was he on the cusp of lowering his ERA under 3.00, but prior to allowing five earned runs to the Giants, he’d allowed that many earned runs in his previous four starts combined (26 innings).
Now, he doesn’t blow hitters away with ridiculous heat. But, Nola packs a powerful curveball that has allowed him to strike out more than a batter (128 strikeouts) per inning (124.1 frames). He’s in the top-10 in the NL in ERA and WHIP (1.18).
RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE) versus Boston RHP Doug Fister
Carrasco ran into pitch-count issues last time out. But fortunately, his teammates picked up the slack in a 9-3 win at Target Field last week. Carrasco lasted just five innings, scattering five hits, allowing just one earned run and fanning nine batters against one walk as he had the Twins guessing all night long. He’s allowed just one earned run over his last two starts (13 innings), which is a good sign since he’d allowed 10 earned runs in his two starts beforehand (7.1 innings).
He’s a bit up-and-down for an ace, of course. But he’s still fourth in the AL in WHIP (1.13), fifth in strikeouts (161 in 143.2 innings) and ninth in ERA (3.76).
RHP Chris Archer (TBR) versus Toronto RHP Chris Rowley
Speaking of up-and-down we have Archer, whose ERA has been threatening 4.00 for at least the last two months as he’s been good, but not great for pretty much the entire stretch. Over his last 10 starts, Archer has allowed exactly three earned runs six times. And, four earned runs two more times. Yet despite that, he’s fanned at least eight batters in seven of those outings. Last time out was a pretty typical Archer outing for the season. He took a no-decision in a loss against Toronto after allowing three earned runs in seven innings. It was a quality start and he fanned 10 batters with no walks. But, he also allowed a pair of home runs—hey, that’s a Scherzer!—before being chased from the game.
He’s second in the AL in strikeouts (207) and innings (166.1). But he’s also 10th in most walks (50).
Don’t sleep on Charlie Morton. He’s a rejuvenated 33-year-old flamethrower who has sort of come out of nowhere to toss 107.1 innings of ridiculous ball for the Astros this season. He’s up against the odds to qualify this season, however. But, with more than a strikeout per inning, a 3.69 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, he’d be in the mix in all of those stats if he had enough frames to be on leaderboards.
Danny Duffy has been good, but not great this season for the Royals. He’s been good with one of his typical bugaboos, allowing just 11 home runs in 125 innings. Yet he also has just 109 strikeouts so far this season. This should be a good matchup for Duffy, though. The Rockies are absolutely dreadful on the road (79 wRC+).
Jimmy Nelson has been a borderline ace for the Brewers this year. Up until just recently he was sitting in the low-3.00s with his ERA. Though, allowing nine earned runs to the Reds in his penultimate start shot that back up into the high-3.00s. Still, he’s got more than a strikeout per inning. And, is fourth in the NL in whiffs (169) and 10th in innings (151.2). It’s sort of come out of nowhere too, as he’s thrown nearly 600 career innings but had a career ERA of 4.38 (4.44 FIP) coming into this season.