Alec Asher (2016 Debut) vs. A.J. Cole (1-1, 3.86 ERA) – 7:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2
Asher will be making in his first start of the 2016 season tonight. Asher was suspended 80 games in June for PED’s. The 24-year-old was one of the pitchers acquired by the Phillies from the Rangers in July 2015 as part of the Cole Hamels deal.
Last season, Asher made seven starts for the Phillies and went 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA. One of those starts came against the Washington Nationals on September 16. He went five innings, gave up four runs on seven hits, struck out four, and walked one in the loss. Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth each have a home run against him.
Cole will be pitching on extended rest tonight after Stephen Strasburg pitched in his normal spot last night. Against the Mets on September 2, Cole went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out five, and walked two on 98 pitches in his first Major League win.
In three starts, Cole has given up a home run in each of those games. But, the one thing I like about him is his resiliency after he gives up the home run. For example, in the fourth inning on Friday, the Mets got two players on base after the solo home run by Asdrubal Cabrera. But, Cole retired the next two hitters to get out of trouble and keep the Nats in front.
While Cole has never started against the Phillies, he has one relief appearance. That came on May 23, 2015 when he went 4.1 innings, gave up two runs on four hits, and struck out seven. Ryan Howard does have a solo home run against him.
Prediction: It will be interesting to see how Cole does on extra rest, but I think he will find a way to pitch well. I like the Washington Nationals to win this game because Asher hasn’t pitched in a game since June and he hasn’t shown the ability to strike out many hitters in his brief time in the Major Leagues (16 K’s last season).
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup