Report: Orioles offer up young arms for Millwood

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MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Orioles offered Brandon Erbe and David Hernandez to the Rangers for Kevin Millwood, but that talks have now “cooled off.”
Judging by the fact that the Orioles were prepared to surrender two intriguing right-handers, they must have been expecting Texas to pick up a significant portion of the $12 million that Millwood is owed next season. Even if the Rangers were willing to go that route, it’d sure make a lot more sense for the Orioles to keep their arms and go out and sign a Jon Garland or Doug Davis for their rotation.
Millwood is likely a better pitcher of those two, but it’s well worth remembering that he did post ERAs of 5.16 and 5.07 in back-to-back years before rebounding to 3.67 last season. Even his 2009 was marred by a mediocre second half. April and June were the only months of the season in which he posted a sub-4.00 ERA.
Plus, Millwood would likely be nothing more than a one-year option for a team likely to finish in fourth or fifth place. He might not even bring any draft picks as a free agent, considering that his generous salary would make offering him arbitration a risk. Taking Millwood and his salary while giving up nothing in return would be an acceptable move for the Orioles. There’s just no good reason to give up young talent for him, though.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.