Two of the game's elite young aces will be on the mound Saturday as the Mets' Jacob deGrom and the Marlins' José Fernández meet in a National League East clash at Marlins Park.These clubs are in the midst of a tightly contested division race as they compete behind the first-place
Two of the game's elite young aces will be on the mound Saturday as the Mets' Jacob deGrom and the Marlins' José Fernández meet in a National League East clash at Marlins Park.
These clubs are in the midst of a tightly contested division race as they compete behind the first-place Nationals. Fans can catch this marquee matchup as well as the rest of the day's 15-game slate -- including starts by Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Cole Hamels -- streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
• deGrom, Fernandez star in NL East showdown: [email protected], 7:10 p.m.
deGrom enjoyed one of the best outings of his career in his second-half debut last week, tossing a one-hit shutout in Philadelphia for his first career complete game. deGrom has limited his opponent to three or fewer earned runs in all but one of his 16 starts this year.
"It's all command with him," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's such a competitive guy with such a feel for pitching. He knows when he has to make a pitch, and he makes it."
Fernandez also impressed his last time out, matching his season high with 14 strikeouts and eclipsing 500 for his career. He became the fastest starting pitcher to reach the milestone, doing so in 400 innings. It was his seventh double-digit strikeout performance of 2016 and the 16th of his career.
"He's a special talent," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Stat that matters: Fernandez is striking out 45.6 percent of the right-handed batters he faces (99 of 217), which ranks first among all qualified starting pitchers.
• Sale tries for Major League-leading 15th win: [email protected], 7:10 p.m.
Amid consistent trade rumors about his future in Chicago, Sale will toe the rubber against Matt Boyd and the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. Sale most recently surfaced in reports that the Rangers are making a push to acquire him before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but there remains no indication Chicago is willing to part with its ace.
In his second-half debut last week, Sale was dominant, yielding just one hit and three walks through eight shutout innings against the Mariners. Sale exited with a 3-0 lead but came up short in his bid for a 15th win as Chicago closer David Robertson surrendered four runs with two outs in the ninth.
"He did what an ace does," Robertson said. "He went eight innings, didn't give up any runs, and I went in there and just blew it."
Stat that matters: Left-handed batters are reaching at just a .231 clip against Sale this season. That's the fourth lowest opponents' on-base percentage among qualifiers.
• Scherzer takes the hill: [email protected], 7:05 p.m.
Max Scherzer will look to continue his stellar run when his Nationals host the Padres on Saturday. Since June 1, Scherzer owns a 1.61 ERA with 81 strikeouts against 13 walks in 61 1/3 innings. He's allowed just two runs over his last four starts (27 1/3 innings). Scherzer's opponent, Edwin Jackson, is coming off a strong outing of his own. Jackson carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Giants last week in his first start with the Padres after signing a Minor League contract in June. Jackson spent the 2012 season with Washington. He owns a 3.26 ERA through 107 2/3 innings at Nationals Park.
Stat that matters: Righties are missing on 36.1 percent of swings against Scherzer this year. That ranks second among qualifiers and is well above the league average of 23.3 percent.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers get the Mosaic View -- split screen or quad, available on PC or Mac only. That always comes in handy, especially when scoreboard-watching looms. MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV Single Team subscribers both enjoy HD and both will get real-time highlights and player stats automatically loaded moments after they occur (only for the game you are watching with MLB.TV Single Team, and for all games with MLB.TV Premium).
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com.