The weekend’s coming to an end, baseball fans. But it won’t go down without a fight as we have one of our finest pitching slates of the season. Check ’em out!
RHP Luis Severino (NYY) versus RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE) — 1:10 p.m. ET
After a rough start to the month of July, Severino rebounded to finish with some terrific numbers. He allowed six earned runs to a stout Astros offense on July 2. Then, allowed just five earned runs over his final five starts in the month to finish with a 2.58 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 11 walks in 38.1 innings. Not to mention, just 34 hits allowed. It’s been a consistent effort for Severino as well, posting a 2.98 ERA on the season, and no ERA over 3.55 in any month. After last year’s debacle, it’s been a huge step forward for Severino. The 23-year-old righty is fourth in the AL in ERA, strikeouts (153) and WHIP (1.10), and is a huge building block in a bright Yankees future.
Carrasco’s solid July numbers (3.31 ERA, 39-6 K/BB ratio) didn’t bleed into his first start of August, as the Red Sox blasted him for five earned runs while the righty recorded just five outs in a 12-10 loss. He was off the hook for the decision, however, as a pitching duel with Chris Sale was reduced to rubble when his team bailed him out and even managed to tie the game on a ninth-inning home run from Francisco Lindor off Craig Kimbrel. Cleveland even briefly led before a walk-off home run from Christian Vazquez. But ultimately, it was a tough outing for Carrasco which saw his ERA swell up to 3.89. He’s been very good for much of the season. And, looks to bounce back against one of the toughest lineups in the AL.
RHP Jimmy Nelson (MIL) versus RHP Chris Archer (TBR) — 1:10 p.m. ET
Nelson has been terrific in an understated way for the Brewers this season, posting a 3.37 ERA through 22 starts with more than a strikeout per inning (149 in 133.2 frames). He’s eighth in the NL in strikeouts and 10th in ERA. And like Severino, has been consistently good all season long. His worst monthly ERA was 5.34 in April. Since then, look at what he’s been doing: 2.83 ERA, 126-22 K/BB ratio in 105 innings and a .654 OPS against. That’s brilliant.
Archer’s season-long roller coaster ride continued last time out, beating the Astros with six innings of four-run ball. He walked none and fanned five, but also allowed two home runs to the best offense in baseball. Archer is like a Timex watch—he takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He’s pitched much better than his 3.89 ERA would indicate—182 strikeouts in 148 innings. But the periodic blowups have hurt his overall line a bit. He’s still a dude.
Ace in Isolation
RHP José Berríos (MIN) versus Texas RHP Nick Martinez
Berríos buried a bad July (5.79 ERA) with a stellar effort against the Padres last time out, stymieing them for one earned run on two hits over seven innings in a hard-luck 3-0 loss to Jhoulys Chacin. The young Berríos has come a long way in his second season, fanning just under a batter per inning while walking no one and allowing just a .231 batting average. Who thought we’d see this from a guy with an 8.00-plus ERA after last season?
RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus Houston RHP Mike Fiers
Stroman was blistering hot in July (2.03 ERA). Though, he didn’t exactly carry that into his first August start against the White Sox. He still pitched to a win, but the Sox got to him for four earned runs on seven hits. Stroman fanned five batters and still induced 13 grounders—his seventh straight start and ninth in his last 10 with at least 10—but his last two starts have pushed his ERA back up over 3.00. Then again, it’s a pretty tough life if you’re being criticized for having the *audacity* to have an ERA over 3.00. He’s sixth in the AL at 3.19, and seventh in innings (138.1).
LHP Danny Duffy (KCR) versus Seattle LHP Marco Gonzales
Duffy’s start got rained out on Saturday. Here’s what we had on him: After missing all of June, Duffy barely skipped a beat with a stellar July. The 28-year-old lefty tossed 39.1 innings, allowing just 13 earned runs (3.20 ERA) with 31 strikeouts and a meager four walks. It comes at a good time for the Royals, too. They’re hanging in there in the AL Central (3.5 games out) and a half-game up on the Rays for the second Wild Card spot at present. Oddly, in a year where the ball has been flying out of the park, Duffy has managed to allow just seven bombs over 108 innings. That’s a 0.58 HR/9 mark, almost one-third his 1.35 rate from last season.
The strikeouts haven’t been there to this point—7.1 K/9 this year, 9.4 last—but keeping the ball in the yard has helped him greatly. Don’t be surprised if the strikeouts creep up as the season wears on. His overall swinging-strike rate is still a healthy 11.3 percent.
RHP Aaron Nola (PHI) versus Colorado RHP Jeff Hoffman
There probably hasn’t been anyone hotter than Nola lately. He’s allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his last eight starts. His ERA has dropped from 4.76 to its present-day mark of 3.16 over that time frame. And this is what that looks like when a pitcher has over 100 innings on the season: 1.66 ERA, 63-15 K/BB ratio in 54.1 innings and a.575 OPS against. His team may be scuffling, but don’t sleep on him. The Rockies offense is not terribly good, either.