We’re back with another sturdy dog-days slate. This time have a trio of aces working in isolation and a couple secondary guys champing at the bit to get into the pit. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Max Scherzer (WAS) versus Atlanta LHP Luiz Gohara
Scherzer was roughed up a bit last time out against the Phillies—for four earned runs in six innings. But, it was still enough to pitch the Nationals to a win, their fifth straight in one of his starts. It bumped Scherzer’s ERA up to 2.32, which is still second in the NL. But it was also the first time in six starts that he’d allowed more than two earned runs in an outing. Even amidst struggles, he still fanned seven batters, remaining atop the NL leaderboards with 239 punch outs in 178.1 innings. He also leads the senior circuit in WHIP (0.87) and is eighth in innings. When you think about it, it’s kind of amazing to lead the league in strikeouts and barely be top-10 in innings, isn’t it?
RHP Aaron Nola (PHI) versus Miami RHP Dan Straily
Nola will be looking for some revenge in this one. That’s because his brilliance was interrupted in his penultimate start while allowing six earned runs in five innings against the Marlins in Miami. For the most part, Nola got back on track the next time out—5.1 innings, two earned runs and eight strikeouts against the Phillies in a no-decision—but the Marlins have had his number. Especially recently. In fact, just two starts before the last blow-up, the Marlins got to Nola in the City of Brotherly Love, scoring seven earned runs against him in 6.1 innings. In other words, Nola’s last 10 starts look like this, earned runs-wise: 1-0-2-2-1-5-7-1-6-2. The five is against the hapless Giants offense—another aberration—while the seven and six are against the Marlins. Otherwise, he’s been almost flawless.
RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus Baltimore RHP Kevin Gausman
The Stro-Show was again a bit uneven last time out, giving up a grand slam to Nicholas Castellanos which accounted for all four earned runs he allowed in a 5-4 loss at the hands of the Tigers. Even in a losing effort however, Stroman was fairly solid. He fanned six batters, walked just one and induced 12 grounders off the bats of the 18 batters he didn’t strike out or walk. That’s pretty much vintage Stroman, with the added strikeouts a nice bonus. Stroman is fifth in the AL in ERA (3.18) and eighth in innings (178.1). If they were selling future AL Cy Young shares, this is a guy I’d buy in on.
We don’t really have enough innings from Chase Anderson to dub him an ace. But from what we’ve seen, he’s been pretty dang good. Through 116.2 innings, he’s striking out nearly a batter per frame (110) with a sub-3.00 ERA (2.93) and a .216 BAA. The fastball, oddly enough, has been a pitch to watch for Anderson. He’s got a stellar 10.3 percent whiff rate on it. Meanwhile his curve (.464 OPS against, 11.5 percent whiff rate) is a decent put-away pitch as well. There’s still room for potential here.
Ervin Santana continues to float in and out of the conversation, though his last outing against the Royals—while enough to get the “win”—was nothing terribly special. Santana would toss five innings of four-run ball with three strikeouts and a walk. And, was probably lucky to get out with that much damage considering 13 of the 17 batters who put the ball in play hit it in the air. The Padres are a fairly good bounce-back matchup for Santana. That is, assuming his offense has any runs left after winning 16-0 on Tuesday night!