What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

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Phillies right-hander Alec Asher will make his 2016 debut on Thursday night in a 7:05 PM EDT start opposite the Nationals A.J. Cole at Nationals Park.

Asher, 24, was suspended 80 games on June 16 earlier this year after testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance enhancing drug. Which really goes to show that simply taking a PED alone doesn’t make you a good athlete. Asher never had the most impressive minor league numbers, posting an aggregate 3.97 ERA last year in 24 starts between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock in the Rangers’ minor league system as well as Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the Phillies acquired him in the Cole Hamels trade. In seven major league starts last year, he had an ugly 9.31 ERA.

A lot of people — fans and sportswriters alike — have this idea that PEDs are like Popeye’s spinach where you take the substance and it instantly makes your muscles bigger and your reflexes faster, leading to undeniably improved on-field performance. Asher is a good reminder that that’s not the case.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Ivan Nova), 7:05 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Alex Cobb) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia), 7:05 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia), 7:15 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Jeff Hoffman) @ San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard), 10:10 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Derek Holland) @ Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker), 10:10 PM EDT