Trying out this new idea where each week I’ll take you through the most intriguing pitching matchups for the upcoming seven days. I’ll pick the ultimate matchup (think Strasburg v. Harvey of last Friday) as well as an undercard matchup pitting two pitchers you might not otherwise instantly be drawn to if you were perusing the slate. If you can’t watch every night, these would be the two I’d go for above all. I haven’t decided exactly how I’ll review the picks each week, but I have seven days to figure that out.
(Obviously any and all of these are subject to change so bear with me if they don’t pan out as I’m using probable starters.)
- CC Sabathia (NYY) v. Matt Moore (TB) – A battle of southpaw pitting the veteran star against the up and coming young gun. This is far and away the best of Monday especially since Dan Haren’s early season struggles have rendered his outing against Shelby Miller a bit more one-sided in the youngster Miller’s favor. That said, I’ll still be checking it out.
- Wade Davis (KC) v. Max Scherzer (DET) – Scherzer has picked up right where 2012 left off with a silly 40 percent strikeout rate while Davis has transitioned back into the rotation quite nicely so far possibly making some re-think their position on the Wil Myers trade. It’s still way early, but the Royals have to be happy with the returns so far.
- Adam Wainwright (StL) v. Ross Detwiler (WAS) – Wainwright hasn’t walked a single batter in his 29 innings of work while also fanning a career-best 25 percent of the batters he is facing. Detwiler succeeds on a pitch-to-contact/groundball approach. He took some major steps forward last year and the improvement is sticking so far in 2013.
- Jeff Samardzija (CHC) v. Mat Latos (CIN) – A couple of young guns tangle in a day game at the Great American Ballpark and hopefully they can shut down the opposing lineups in a park known for offense. Latos is looking to keep his hot start going despite a career riddled with April struggles.
- Ian Kennedy (ARI) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF) – Kennedy has been up and down so far this year, but he escaped with a baseline quality start in Coors Field which hopefully gets him back on track. Bumgarner, meanwhile, is one the most exciting young arms in baseball.
- Andy Pettitte (NYY) v. Alex Cobb (TB) – The finale of this series gives us another matchup of old v. new with both pitchers toting sparkling ERAs south of 2.60 including Pettitte at just 2.01 through 22.3 innings.
- James Shields (KC) v. Anibal Sanchez (DET) – Sanchez is a bit overlooked in that deep Detroit rotation, but he has arguably been the team’s best pitcher since late last August. That’s not an easy feat when you’re teammates with Justin Verlander and Scherzer. Early on, Shields hasn’t missed the friendly home ballpark or sparkling team defense he left behind in Tampa Bay as he aptly fulfills the ace role KC sorely needed.
- Jeremy Hellickson (TB) v. Jake Peavy (CWS) – The list is Tampa-heavy, but of course pitching is their strength and they are facing several strong starters this week, too.
- Homer Bailey (CIN) v. Jordan Zimmermann (WAS) – Two of my favorites going toe-to-toe in DC as NL superpowers play what should be an exciting early season series. Both pitchers look great early on, too.
- Kris Medlen (ATL) v. Doug Fister (DET) – If the defenses are on point, this groundball fest could be a breezy two and a half hour matchup, hopefully with my beloved Tigers faring better than they did when they were on FOX this past Saturday.
- Mike Minor (ATL) v. Max Scherzer (DET) – I didn’t just pick a bunch of Tigers games because they are my favorite team. I actually believe these should be some great matchups. Oddly enough, Verlander wasn’t included in any of them. This is the Sunday night game on ESPN.
- Kyle Lohse (MIL) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – There is a major disparity in how these two succeed, but Lohse has maintained success even after skipping all of Spring Training as a free agent. Kershaw, of course, is simply awesome.
ULTIMATE MATCHUP – Sabathia/Moore
UNDERCARD – Medlen/Fister