Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pitching Matchups to Watch 5/4/16

1. Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez) at Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea)

Manaea's (0-0, 7.20 ERA) MLB career got off to a bit of a rough start against the Astros, but baseball's #55 prospect (according to Baseball America) will look to find his major league footing against Seattle. He's opposed by none other than King Felix. Hernandez (2-2, 1.38) has been lights out so far this season, and his changeup and curveball are among my favorite pitches to watch. Exciting rookie vs veteran ace. What's not to like?

Hernandez's Last Start (vs KC): W, 7.2 IP, 4 K, 3 BB, 5 H
Manaea's Last Start (MLB Debut vs HOU): ND, 5 IP, 4 ER, 3 K, 4 BB, 4 H

2. Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester) at Pittsburgh Pirates (Juan Nicasio)

The first two games of this series made the list, so why stop now? You've got a true horse in Lester (2-1, 1.83), and an interesting story in Nicasio (3-2, 3.33). Has pitching coach Roy Searage worked his magic once again with the former reliever? This game also features two solid lineups, a division rivalry, and a team that isn't afraid to steal against a pitcher who can't stop the running game.

Lester's Last Start (vs ATL): ND, 7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K, 2 BB, 7 H
Nicasio's Last Start (vs CIN): W, 7 IP, 0 ER, 8 K, 1 BB, 3 H

3. Washington Nationals (Stephen Strasburg) at Kansas City Royals (Kris Medlen)

Although Medlen (1-2, 4.87) has pitched pretty well aside from a blowup against the red-hot Orioles offense and comes with a nice feel-good story after coming back from his second Tommy John surgery, it's no secret that Strasburg (4-0, 2.25) is the one garnering the headlines. Strasburg has been good for years, if a bit injury-prone, but there's always been a sense that he's on the verge of taking another step forward. In his contract year, he appears to be taking that step. He's going after hitters with more agression. Hus strikeout stuff is among the best, as he is second all time in career K/9 behind Randy Johnson. Always fun to see the defending world champs do battle with an ace.

Strasburg's Last Start (@STL): W, 7 IP, 2 ER, 9 K, 1 BB, 8 H
Medlen's Last Start (@SEA): L, 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 5 BB, 1 H

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