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Pitching matchups for Thursday’s MLB games

We take a look at the pitching matchups for each MLB game on the slate for Thursday, May 20th.

Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park on May 14, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

After a full slate of games on Wednesday, we only have 11 games on deck Thursday, with the first game starting at 12:35 p.m. ET between the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds. We are going to look at the best pitching matchup and the sleeper pitching matchup that could turn out to be a pitchers’ duel.

Here’s a look at the pitching matchups for Thursday’s 11-game MLB slate on May 20th.

Best Matchup: Nick Pivetta vs. Steven Matz

As crazy as it might sound, this matchup between Pivetta and Matz could end up being the best matchup on Thursday. Now granted, Trevor Bauer is on the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Riley Smith is not an intriguing enough opponent on the other side.

This season, Pivetta has been one of the best pitchers on the Red Sox’s starting rotation. He has a record of 5-0 with an ERA of 3.16 in eight starts this season. In his last start against the Los Angeles Angels, he allowed 4 hits (1 HR), 2 earned runs, and still recorded 7 strikeouts in 6.0 IP. The former Phillies pitcher has been excellent on the mound, allowing opponents to hit .189. Furthermore, he’s only allowed two or fewer earned runs in six out of his last eight starts.

As for Matz, he started out the season on fire for Toronto, winning his first four starts. Since then, the former Mets pitcher has gone 1-2 over his next four starts. In his last start against the Phillies, Matz allowed 4 hits, 0 earned runs, 3 walks, but still racked up 9 strikeouts in 5.0 IP.

Sleeper Matchup: Johnny Cueto vs. Tyler Mahle

The best matchup on Thursday will be in the first game between the San Francisco Giants and the Cincinnati Reds. Johnny Cueto will get the start for the Giants, while Mahle will be on the mound for the Reds.

Cueto comes into the matinee game with a record of 2-1 and an ERA of 3.62 through five starts this season. The former Reds pitcher will be looking to bounce back after a rough outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates last week. Cueto allowed 8 hits, 2 earned runs, and recorded 2 strikeouts in 4.1 IP. Meanwhile, Mahle has a record of 2-1 and an ERA of 2.93 through eight starts this season. In his last outing against the Rockies, the 26-year-old starter gave up 7 hits (1 HR), 2 earned runs, and produced 4 strikeouts in 7.0 IP.

Giants vs. Reds: Johnny Cueto vs. Tyler Mahle
Rays vs. Orioles: Rich Hill vs. Dean Kremer
Yankees vs. Rangers: Domingo German vs. Dane Dunning
Nationals vs. Cubs: Joe Ross vs. Trevor Williams
Astros vs. Athletics: Luis Garcia vs. Cole Irvin
Twins vs. Angels: Lewis Thorpe vs. Griffin Canning
Marlins vs. Phillies: Sandy Alcantara vs. Vince Velasquez
Twins vs. Angels: Jose Berrios vs. Dylan Bundy
Pirates vs. Braves: Wil Crowe vs. Drew Smyly
Red Sox vs. Blue Jays: Nick Pivetta vs. Steven Matz
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers: Riley Smith vs. Trevor Bauer