We’re back to wrap up another September weekend, this time with a stout quintet of pitchers. Righties to get you started and lefties to finish the night off. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Jacob deGrom (NYM) versus Cincinnati RHP Sal Romano
deGrom has been, how do we put this delicately, embattled over the last few starts. He’s allowed five or more earned runs three times in his last five starts. That was evident last time out against Philadelphia, who boast one of the worst offenses in baseball. deGrom allowed the Phillies to score six earned runs—nine runs total—in 3.2 innings and on 10 hits before departing with his ERA swelling up to 3.65.
It’s sort of fitting that his season has gone in the tank as the Mets are completely irrelevant at this point. But, up until this tough stretch, his ERA was down at 3.21. It’s been a better year than it seems, though. The righty is top-10 in the NL in innings, strikeouts and WHIP, and in a different year he might actually draw some Cy Young consideration. He’ll have to settle for some down-ballot votes.
RHP Stephen Strasburg (WAS) versus Philadelphia RHP Ben Lively
Strasburg has pitched like a man possessed over the last three starts. In them, allowing just 15 hits over 21 innings with zero earned runs, 23 strikeouts and just two walks. Against the Marlins in his penultimate start, he was absolutely flawless, scatting six hits in a complete game shutout with 17 grounders induced from the 24 batters he didn’t strike out or walk. It’s been quite a season for the 29-year-old righty—when he’s been healthy enough to pitch. He’s posted a 2.78 ERA, .215 BAA and 172 strikeouts in 148.2 innings.
Since he is a qualifier—at least one inning pitched per team game played—he can be found on the leaderboards for strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. His best may still be to come this fall.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (SFG) versus Chicago RHP Carson Fulmer
The nightmare season in San Francisco finally found Bumgarner last time out, as he allowed five earned runs in six innings against the Cardinals to take a loss. He moved to 3-7 on the season—have we mentioned how much we hate pitcher records?—but still has a very Bumgarner-like 3.15 ERA for the year. He’s also got a sparkling 86-17 K/BB ratio in 91.1 innings and has a WHIP of 1.05. Or in other words, has allowed about a baserunner per inning. In an awful year for the Giants, Bumgarner has been a bit of a bright spot.
LHP Dallas Keuchel (HOU) versus Oakland RHP Kendall Graveman
Keuchel followed up a tough Texas start with a very workmanlike effort against the Mariners last time out: 7.2 innings, seven hits, two earned runs, one homer allowed and 5-2 K/BB ratio. Keuchel induced an absurd 19 grounders from the 24 batters he didn’t strike out or walk. That’s pretty much his M.O. The lefty has been an absolute stud for the Astros this season, posting a 2.88 ERA with 102 strikeouts and just 37 walks in 122 innings. It’s hard to say which playoff game he’ll start for the Astros, however. But we’ll officially guess the first, with Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. following suit. Thoughts?
LHP Robbie Ray (ARI) versus San Diego RHP Luis Perdomo
Speaking of who might start a playoff game for his team, Ray certainly has to be in the mix for the likely Wild Card game that the Diamondbacks will be playing in. Certainly Zack Greinke probably has the upper hand, but if Torey Lovullo doesn’t have the luxury of lining up his rotation exactly how he wants it, Ray is certainly a terrific fallback option. His last start was probably his finest of the year. In it, he diced the Dodgers for 7.2 scoreless innings with three hits, 14 strikeouts and zero walks. That pushed his ERA down to 2.80. Or, the lowest it has been since mid-June. He was looking fairly solid last year, but this breakout has been terrific to watch.