Monday, May 2, 2016

Best Pitching Matchups 5/2/16

Yesterday, I was sick in bed. As an MLB.tv subscriber, I am blessed to have my sick days filled with baseball. There are usually 15 games on Sundays, and yesterday was no different. As such, there were ample options to choose from.

I found myself wondering if there was an article series on the best games to tune in to on any given day. Google turned up no such results, and as a newcomer to the baseball blogosphere, I decided to take on the task myself.

However, I am self-aware enough to know the bias I will bring to such a project. As if you couldn't already tell from the name of this blog, I am a sucker for a good pitchers' duel. To account for that bias, I decided to move the goalpost a bit. Instead of the likely most entertaining game of the day, I'll be ranking the best pitching matchups of the day. For me, they're one and the same. And besides, I think that's a topic that fits better in a pitching blog.

A few notes about the process:

- As far as these ranks are concerned, I consider a pitcher's entertainment value as such: Super-ace (think Kershaw or Arrieta) > Ace > Near-ace (think Danny Salazar) > potential ace > everyone else.

- Pitchers get boosts for having filthy stuff, even if they don't quite have the effectiveness to match. Filthy pitches are fun to watch.*

*Speaking of filthy pitches, pitcherlist.com does an awesome blog series with the filthiest pitch GIFs of that day. The only series on the Internet I consider a must-read.

- The second best pitcher in the game has more impact than the best. Watching Kershaw throw eight scoreless isn't as fun when the Dodgers are up by 12 runs because of some bum pitching against them. Plus, two good pitchers gives a higher chance of seeing a gem than one.

- Strikeouts are fun to watch. Balls in play can be fun, because sometimes they turn into web gems. But walks are just no fun to watch at all.

Without further ado, the best pitching matchups to watch for Monday, May 2, 2016:

All times are EDT.

1. Cubs (Jason Hammel) at Pirates (Gerrit Cole)(7:05)

Cole is probably the best pitcher throwing today, and you could make an argument Hammel is the best of the second bests. This game also boasts two great lineups and a division rivalry to push it over the top.

Hammel's Last Start (@CIN): W, 6 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, 2 BB, 3 H
Cole's Last Start (@COL): W, 6 IP, 2 ER, 3 K, 2 BB, 8 H

2. Giants (Johnny Cueto) at Reds (Brandon Finnegan)(7:10)

This game narrowly gets the edge over Twins-Astros, mostly because Johnny Cueto is flat out entertaining. Not only is he really, really good, but his vast repertoire and varied delivery make him unpredictable. Sometimes he fools the spectator as much as he fools the hitter. Finnegan is no joke either, as the young Red is certainly capable of twirling a gem. This game gets a bonus from Cueto returning to Cincinnati to face one of the pitchers traded for him.

Cueto's Last Start (vs SD): W, 9 IP, 0 ER, 11 K, 1 BB, 7 H
Finnegan's Last Start (@NYM): ND, 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, 3 BB, 5 H

3. Twins (Jose Berrios) at Astros (Dallas Keuchel)(8:10)

Like the Giants-Reds game,  this game boasts a true ace in Keuchel, and an exciting young pitcher in Berrios, making his second career start.

Berrios' Last Start (MLB Debut vs CLE): L, 4 IP, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 6 H
Keuchel's Last Start (@SEA): L, 6 IP, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 6 H

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