Can Chris Archer Put it all Together Against Cleveland?

Jul 22, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field.  Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s another lean-ish slate as we roll through a dog-days weekend. But, the three aces we’ve isolated are pretty sturdy. Check ’em out!

Aces in Isolation

RHP Chris Archer (TBR) versus Cleveland RHP Mike Clevinger

Archer was brilliant last time out in a no-decision—Rays win—against the Brewers. He tossed six innings of three-hit ball with one earned run, seven strikeouts and a pair of walks. He wasn’t perfect—and frankly, he hasn’t really been all year—as he allowed a home run for the fourth straight start and seventh time in his last 10 starts. Even despite the so-so 3.80 ERA he’s posted, Archer is second in the AL in innings (154) and strikeouts (189). This should be a good battle of strikeout pitchers.

Clevinger hasn’t been great of late, but when he’s on, he’s whiff central. Only the Brewers have struck out more than the Rays this season (25.4 percent). While the Indians almost never strike out (18.7 percent), Archer is almost matchup-proof in that regard.

RHP Aaron Nola (PHI) versus New York LHP Steven Matz

Nola looks to be back on track after the end of last season got him sidetracked a bit. Through 18 starts/112.1 innings, Nola has 117 strikeouts, just 33 walks and has held opposing batters to just a .235 average. The most impressive part of his season is the run he’s on now, as he’s tossed nine quality starts in a row, lowering his ERA from to 3.12 over that time frame. Here’s what that stretch looks like when isolated: 1.76 ERA, 70-17 K/BB ratio in 61.1 innings and an OPS against of .579. The Phillies may stink, but don’t blame this guy.

RHP Carlos Martinez (STL) versus Atlanta RHP Lucas Sims

Martinez was very good last time out in the I-70 series against the Royals. Martinez tossed eight innings of two-run ball, scattering seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The only damage against Martinez was a pair of solo home runs—Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer—as the righty induced 12 grounders from the 24 non-strikeout batters he faced. It’s been a very Martinez-like season. The righty has a pretty solid ERA (3.52), more strikeouts than innings pitched but is also fourth in the league in most walks. That’s the difference between a guy on the fringes of the Cy Young race and a legit candidate every year. That’s still a pretty damn good pitcher.

Yardbarker: MLB

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