Mazzaro's career starts with 13.2 shutout innings

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A’s rookie Vince Mazzaro tossed 6.1 shutout innings against the White Sox in his MLB debut last week and followed that up with 7.1 scoreless innings against the Orioles yesterday afternoon.

Mazzaro becomes just the ninth pitcher since 1954
to begin his career by allowing zero runs in back-to-back starts of at
least six innings. No pitcher during the past 55 years has turned in
three such starts to begin a career, so he’ll try to become the first
to do so Friday against the Giants.

Unfortunately for Mazzaro, the other eight guys who’ve tossed
shutout ball in back-to-back starts to begin their careers aren’t
exactly the greatest company: Scott Lewis, James Parr, Carlos
Hernandez, Vaughn Eshelman, Dave Ford, Larry McWilliams, Tom Phoebus,
Karl Spooner.

McWilliams leads that group with a 78-90 career record and as a
rookie was the starting pitcher when the Braves snapped Pete Rose’s
44-game hitting streak in 1978. Phoebus ranks second with a 56-52
record, which includes a no-hitter against the Red Sox in 1968. And the
other six guys have just 44 career wins between them.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.