For the second day in a row, we have a three-pack of aces for you to consider. And, for the second day in a row, it’s a very, very sturdy bunch. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Corey Kluber (CLE) versus Colorado RHP German Marquez
The strong Yankees offense was no trouble for the Klubot, who ruthlessly pillaged them for a complete game win with 11 strikeouts and a walk. He allowed just one earned run, that being a solo home run to Gary Sánchez. But he also fanned more than 10 batters for the ninth time in the last 10 starts. He’s allowed home runs in four straight starts. That’s about the only negative spin one can put on how he’s pitched lately. He’s second in the AL in WHIP (0.95) and third in ERA (2.77) and strikeouts (172 in 123.2 innings).
Since June 1, Kluber has been literally untouchable: 1.77 ERA, 131-15 K/BB ratio in 86.1 innings and a .487 OPS against with a whiff rate of 18 percent. Add to that a healthy groundball rate and it’s a wonder the Indians are 7-5 in his 12 starts since returning from the DL.
LHP Chris Sale (BOS) versus Tampa Bay RHP Austin Pruitt
Sale’s last start was against Carlos Carrasco. And, it was one of the finest baseball games we’ve seen all season. However, it wasn’t because either starter hung around for it. Francisco Lindor hit a dramatic homer in the ninth, only to be upstaged by Christian Vazquez walking it off. Sale’s effort was a clunker, as he allowed seven earned runs in five innings to push his ERA up to 2.70. Or, the highest it has been since late June. With that said, he’d been working on a stretch of allowing zero runs in three straight starts and four of his last five, so most likely this is just a blip on the radar screen. Sale saw the Rays on July 6 and took the loss, allowing four earned runs—including a pair of home runs—with 12 strikeouts and no walks.
Sale leads the AL in strikeouts (216 in 153.1 innings), ERA (2.70), WHIP (0.91) and is second in innings.
LHP José Quintana (CHC) versus San Francisco LHP Ty Blach
Quintana had been great (2.37 ERA) through three starts with the Cubs, but was roughed up against the Diamondbacks last time out. The lefty allowed six earned runs on six hits—including three home runs—as the Cubs fell 10-8 at home. Quintana’s been up and down all season long, but it’s been far more up of late. Over his last 10 starts, Quintana has allowed more than three earned runs just one time—last time out, of course. And in the process, has lowered his season ERA from 5.30 to 4.42. Of course, that means there’s still some work to do.