Greetings on this baseball Monday! We open up the work week with a pair of aces in isolation as well as a really nice secondary duel on national television. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Stephen Strasburg (WAS) versus Cincinnati RHP Scott Feldman
Strasburg took a line drive off the hip in his final start of the first half against the Braves, and was forced from the game in what was ultimately a 13-0 loss after just three innings, 65 pitches and six runs allowed (three earned). Strasburg has been terrific all season long (3.43 ERA). But, he’s had a couple rough starts over his past six. His ERA has jumped from the sub-3.00 range prior to a June 12 start—also against the Braves—to its present-day mark. After dicing the Braves for 11 strikeouts in 7.2 innings on May 21, they’ve given him trouble over his last two outings—12 runs (nine earned) in eight innings—as part of the ERA bump he’s taken. The other team that touched him up in that stretch? These same Reds, who got him for five earned runs in as many innings in D.C. on June 23. He’ll look for some road revenge in this one.
RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU) versus Seattle LHP Ariel Miranda
McCullers was roughed up a bit last time out by the Blue Jays, allowing five earned runs over 4.1 innings with three strikeouts and a pair of walks. That pushed his season ERA up to 3.05—the first time it has been over 3.00 since early May. He was cruising through the first four innings before the Jays bamboozled him in the fifth. McCullers doesn’t have the innings that a lot of the top guys do. Still, he’s done incredible work in the 91.1 frames he’s thrown: .224 BAA, 1.14 WHIP and 106-27 K/BB ratio. In my opinion, he’s the co-ace of this rotation with Dallas Keuchel.
It’s not exactly an aces duel per se, but I love the matchup between Marcus Stroman and Eduardo Rodríguez—which will be nationally televised on ESPN. Stroman has picked up some strikeouts lately, but is still far more about the grounders (60.9 percent) than whiffs (7.4 K/9, 20.4 percent). He’s still having a solid season, though (3.28 ERA).
Rodríguez hasn’t pitched in over a month after battling a knee issue, but was crushing it with a sub-3.00 ERA before his final pre-DL appearance. He’s got more than a strikeout per inning, tremendous control and a WHIP of 1.15. Sale-Price-Rodríguez is scary in the second half, folks.