So…last week didn’t exactly go as planned. Between rain delays, snow delays, a surprise COVID outbreak for the Cubs and protests in Minneapolis, half the league’s schedule has been upended. Nonetheless, even among all this confusion, there’s still several top pitching matchups this week that can’t be missed. Note that all game times are in EST and each matchup is subject to change.
The reigning AL Cy Young is making it known that last year wasn’t a one-off. Through three starts, Bieber (2.11 ERA) is mowing down batters at an incredible rate, striking out a league-best 35 through 21.1 innings. His last outing was one of the best starts of his career as he pitched nine shutout innings against the AL Central favorite White Sox. Don’t discount Miley (0.00 ERA) in this matchup, however. The 35-year-old has yet to give up a run this year. Granted, he’s only pitched 11 innings, but it’s been a dominant 11 innings. Without eclipsing 80 pitches in either start, he’s held batters to just four hits and two walks.
In another key matchup between the two best teams in the NL, Snell (4.35 ERA) takes the mound with some unfinished business. After infamously being taken out in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the World Series vs. the Dodgers, he’ll look to shutdown LA’s offense for good this time. Further fueling him tomorrow is the fact that he only lasted 0.2 innings in his last start against the Pirates. Bauer (2.70 ERA), on the other hand, is coming off his best start of the year. After an mixed first couple of starts, he fired seven shutout innings against the Rockies, giving up just one hit and striking out nine.
No one is entering this week on a greater high than Rodon (0.00 ERA). He’ll hope to keep his hot streak going after throwing his first career no hitter. Eovaldi (2.08 ERA) is coming off a solid start as well. Though he gave up two runs in five innings, he demonstrated incredible command, throwing 60 of his 82 pitches for strikes.
Woodruff (2.12 ERA) has shaken off a rusty debut to deliver back-to-back quality outings. After shutting out the Cubs over seven innings, he again stifled their offense by allowing just one run over six innings last week. Then there’s Musgrove (0.47 ERA), who followed up the first no hitter in Padres history with a less than stellar outing at Pittsburgh. Lasting just four innings against his old team, he labored to 81 pitches but was able to limit the damage to a single run.
Another exciting matchup between the Brewers and Padres, this time the youngsters will take the mound. Burnes (0.49 ERA) is in the midst of one of the greatest stretches by any pitcher in history. He’s gone at least six innings in all three starts, surrendering just one run while striking out 30 and walking zero. Paddack (4.15 ERA), meanwhile, is still trying to get back on top of things. After pitching just four innings in his first two starts, he finally made it through the fifth last week. While it wasn’t pretty, he did manage to allow just one earned run despite the Pirates having as many chances as they did.
One of the biggest surprises of the 2021 season so far is DeSclafani’s (1.06 ERA) resurgence. Following a horrible 2020 season (7.22 ERA), he’s pitching better than ever before. Starting with a one-run performance against the Padres, he has since blanked the Rockies and held the Marlins to a single run. Eflin (3.15 ERA) is also off to one of the best starts of his career. Last week, he efficiently took a shutout into the eighth inning before a Justin Williams‘ two-run home run spoiled his day.
A rematch of last week’s meeting between these two, it’s Lynn (0.92 ERA) who will look to come out on top this time. Though he gave up his first two earned runs of the season, he still had 10 strikeouts through six great innings. Civale (2.18 ERA) will hope for more of the same this week after he held the White Sox to one run over six innings.
Oh look, another matchup between the Padres and Dodgers. For the second time in five days, Darvish (2.55 ERA) is taking on the Dodgers. Last week he held the offense to just one run and one hit over seven innings, all while striking out nine. Buehler (2.00 ERA) is also coming off a strong, if a bit uneven, outing against the Padres. While he only gave up two runs through six innings, he also surrendered seven hits, including a home run. Likewise, his strikeout numbers are way down this year at just four in each start. Maybe this will be the game where he finally puts up a 10 spot.
With two off days this week, it will be interesting to see what the Blue Jays do regarding their rotation. If they stand fast, Matz (1.47 ERA) will likely take the mound on Friday. His comeback season has already produced three gems, topped off by a one-run, six-inning performance against the Royals. Glasnow (0.73 ERA) is also riding high after stifling the Yankees on Saturday. While he let a few pitches get away from him, culminating in four walks and 105 pitches in only five innings, he limited New York to two hits and one run.
Joe Musgrove (SDP) vs. Trevor Bauer (LAD) 9:10 PM
Just as the week starts with the two best teams in the NL facing off, it ends the same way. Bauer (2.70 ERA) will face the Padres for the second time in a row. If he can shut them down in both outings, he might just silence any of his remaining critics. For Musgrove (0.47 ERA), a solid start against the Dodgers can further solidify his place as a dark horse for the NL Cy Young.
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