We’re back to a full slate of action on this baseball Tuesday, but it’s a pretty lean one. Here’s a quintet of aces in isolation for you to choose from as we’re now into the part of the schedule with no day games. Sad! Anyway… check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus Boston’s LHP Brian Johnson
Stroman’s first two starts have been brilliant, as he’s allowed just three earned runs through 15.1 innings (1.76 ERA). Stroman is coming off a complete game loss last time out, as he allowed just seven hits and two runs against the Brewers with four strikeouts and a walk. He induced a ridiculous 16 grounders from 34 batters faced in that game, and through two starts is inducing a healthy 57.8 percent worm-burner rate—right in line with his 58.1 percent career mark. Keep an eye on the strikeouts; he’s not walking anyone (1.8 BB/9) but the whiffs have been a bit slow to come (5.3 K/9). That’s the difference between a pretty solid Stroman, and an ace/superstar.
RHP Kevin Gausman (BAL) versus Cincinnati’s RHP Bronson Arroyo
Gausman has made three starts, all at levels of varying… decency. Through three starts, Gausman has a 3.94 ERA and the Orioles have won all three, but none have been standout outings. He allowed two earned in 5.1 innings in an Orioles win over the Jays to start the season. Then, four runs in 4.2 frames against the Yankees before allowing just one earned in six innings in an encore performance against the Jays. All told though, he’s got an 11-9 K/BB ratio, a 1.69 WHIP and a .289 BAA. So, he’s sort of skating by rather than really going out and dominating. Like Stroman, he’s a high-end talent who is too good not to put it all together. It just hasn’t been there—yet.
RHP Michael Fulmer (DET) versus Tampa Bay’s RHP Matt Andriese
Fulmer has posted a tidy two-game start with a 2.25 ERA, .190 BAA, 0.92 WHIP and 11-3 K/BB ratio in 12 innings. Both of his starts have gone six innings, and he held down a previously-hot Twins offense with three earned runs in six innings with seven strikeouts and a walk at Comerica Park last time out. Fulmer is still bringing the heat (94.7 mph average via PITCHf/x). Though, the whiff rates on each of his pitches are a little muted to start the season. None of them are over 10 percent after both the slider and change were above 13 percent last year.
RHP Max Scherzer (WAS) versus Atlanta’s RHP Mike Foltynewicz
Scherzer is off to an awesome start through two trips in the rotation. He’s got a 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .178 BAA and an excellent 17-4 K/BB ratio in just 12.2 innings. Scherzer’s slider has been his go-to pitch so far this season, as it’s inducing an obscene whiff rate of 27.8 percent. His change, curve and two-seamer are all above 14 percent as well.
RHP Yu Darvish (TEX) versus Oakland’s RHP Andrew Triggs
Darvish is also off to a very good start, with his last two starts making up for a rough one to get the season underway. After allowing four earned runs to Cleveland in 6.1 innings in the opener (5.68 ERA), he’s allowed just one earned run in the 13 innings since. That’s lowered his season mark to 2.33 with a 1.19 WHIP and .194 BAA. The strikeouts have come in ample supply (19 in 19.1 innings) but keep an eye on the walks. He already has 10 thus far this season. The first start was the main issue—five free passes in 27 batters faced. And while he’s walked just five since, that still isn’t a terribly strong rate either. That is, five over 13 innings pitched in the meantime. Odds are he’ll round into form and this will just be a blip on the radar screen.
Only one AL pitcher has issued more walks to start the season (Martín Pérez).