We’ve got a pretty strong slate of pitchers on this baseball Friday as we head into another weekend, including a trio of aces and a couple secondary guys we’re intrigued by from the left side. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Max Scherzer (WAS) versus New York LHP Steven Matz
Scherzer became the 80th pitcher in MLB history to reach 2,000 strikeouts last time out against the Rangers, taking a hard-luck loss in the process as he was very, very good in the 5-1 defeat. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits, but struck out 10 batters and got 20 of the 27 batters he faced to either strike out or hit it on the ground (10). The loss snapped a personal and team three-game winning streak in his starts, but he’s still on a four-game stretch of striking out double-digit batters. He’s been a man ablaze all season long, posting a 2.36 ERA (No. 2 NL) with league-best marks in strikeouts and WHIP and the second most innings. He’s been really, really impressive.
RHP Carlos Martinez (STL) versus Baltimore RHP Kevin Gausman
We dogged on Martinez a bit last time out as a guy who hasn’t put it all together this season, so he went out and diced the Phillies with a complete game four-hitter. Martinez fanned 11 batters, walked just one and brought his ERA under 3.00 for the first time since the season opener. If it’s true that he hasn’t really put it all together, his numbers are especially impressive. How much better can someone get than a 2.95 ERA, 99 strikeouts in 88.1 innings and a BAA of .194? He’s allowing about a baserunner per inning (1.04 WHIP), and it’s only that high because he’s 10th in the NL in walks (30). The pieces are in place for him to really take off here.
RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE) versus Minnesota LHP Nik Turley
Carrasco bounced back from an odd tough start against the hapless Royals offense to shut down the White Sox offense last time out. The White Sox offense is no great shakes either, as Carrasco held them down for 5.1 innings of two-run ball with seven hits, four strikeouts and no walks. It was by no means a dominant performance, as Carrasco tossed just 85 pitches before being lifted. The Twins offense will be a much more apt challenge for the righty, who has tossed 75 innings with 72 strikeouts, 19 walks and an ERA of 3.36. As a team, the Twins are hitting .280/.339/.476 in June—a collective wRC+ of 116.
Braves lefty Sean Newcomb will make his second career start, and the first one was really good. First of all, can we nickname him “Duke?” Only late-80s and early-90s kids might get that reference. Anyway, he straight up clowned the Mets for 6.1 innings, allowing just one unearned run with seven strikeouts, two walks and nine grounders induced in a hard-luck loss. He’s going to be a fun one if his command complies.
We’re also keeping a close eye on A’s lefty Sean Manaea, who has been really good of late. After missing a couple weeks in early May, he’s been absolutely brilliant: six starts, 2.68 ERA, .578 OPS against and 39-12 K/BB ratio in 37 innings. The Yankees matchup will be a good test for him. They have a collective 148 (!) wRC+ this month. How crazy is that? Only 15 qualified hitters are higher than that this season.