We’re locked and stocked with one of the finest pitching days of the season. And, we have a bit of everything for you to peek at. Check ’em out!
RHP Stephen Strasburg (WAS) versus LHP Dallas Keuchel (HOU) — 7:10 p.m. ET
The veritable injury bug snuck up on Strasburg again. But he’s back and ready for his second start following a strong, but losing effort against the Padres last time out. Strasburg looked locked in as he allowed a pair of runs in six innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. And, he reportedly showed good velocity in his first start in nearly a month. The Astros will be a good test for the stud righty. After all, they’ve been the best offense in baseball for virtually the entire season. They’re lapping the field with a 124 team wRC+. No other team is over 110.
Since the White Sox inexplicably blasted him three starts ago, Keuchel has been on point with 13.2 innings of one-run ball with just a solo home run allowed to his credit. His ERA still isn’t fully recovered—2.15 before, 2.58 now—but it hardly matters as he’s not going to be qualifying for an ERA title this year anyway with just 101.1 innings under his belt. They’ve been terrific innings, however. He has the sparkling ERA, a .217 BAA and 1.09 WHIP. This is probably your Game 1 starter in the ALDS.
Aces in Isolation
LHP Robbie Ray (ARI) versus New York RHP Rafael Montero
Ray will be making his first start of the month of August since suffering a concussion after taking a liner off his head on July 28 against the Cardinals. Ray has been absolutely wonderful for the Diamondbacks this season, posting a 3.11 ERA, 151 strikeouts in 118.2 innings and a WHIP of 1.23. Even after missing three weeks, he’s still ninth in the NL in strikeouts. And, he’ll look to take down the Mets for Arizona’s 70th win of the season. The Diamondbacks only won 69 games all last season.
LHP Chris Sale (BOS) versus Cleveland RHP Trevor Bauer
You’ll be able to find this game on MLB Network this evening. Sale is the runaway winner of the AL Cy Young award this season. He’s posted a 2.62 ERA with 250 strikeouts in 175.1 innings. He’s first in the AL in: wins, innings, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. We don’t like wins, but we’re not even mad—that’s amazing. This is all while being somewhat human in August. He’s allowed four home runs—two apiece in the starts that bookend the month—and has a 4.00 ERA. Still, he’s allowed just 21 hits in 27 innings and has a ridiculous 39-5 K/BB ratio over that stretch.
RHP Jake Arrieta (CHC) versus Cincinnati RHP Sal Romano
Arrieta has crept into the top-10 in the NL in ERA (3.63) and WHIP (1.20). And it’s all because of a patently absurd August stretch. His July was good—2.25 ERA in 32 innings, 23-9 K/BB ratio—but he’s taken it another step further during the dog days with a 1.75 ERA and 25-7 K/BB ratio in 25.2 innings. He’s still not the Arrieta of old—as in, he’s got less than a strikeout per inning—but if his last two starts are any indication, he’s on the right track. His free agency promises to be interesting.
RHP Carlos Martinez (STL) versus San Diego RHP Luis Perdomo
It was another very Martinez-like start last time out—it feels like we’ve been saying this a lot—as the 25-year-old righty managed to eke out a win against the Pirates. The Cardinals won 11-10, but Martinez was out after seven innings of three-run ball before the bullpens did their thing. Martinez allowed six hits, a pair of homers, four strikeouts and a walk. But he also induced 14 grounders in a start where he was, yet again, good but not great. We’ve dubbed him the Beautiful Disaster for this very reason. He’s so, so good… but could be so much better, too.
José Berríos has taken a massive step forward this season. However, he’s hit the skids a bit of late. His 3.99 ERA is still half what it was last year, and he’s coming off absolutely dicing up the Diamondbacks at Target Field: seven shutout innings with two hits, seven strikeouts and just one walk. Still, his August has been thoroughly meh: 4.84 ERA, 17-6 K/BB ratio in 22.1 innings. It’s possible the rigors of the MLB regular season are catching up with him a bit. Still, it’s better than he was in July (5.79 ERA). Look for him to get his second wind soon.