Cliff Lee is still ridiculous

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You know, just in case you had any doubts.

Cliff Lee earned the 100th victory of his career Friday night, tossing eight innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 win over the Athletics. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA over his first six starts since joining Texas.

While that’s pretty impressive on its own, consider that Lee has now worked eight innings or more in 10 consecutive starts. Nobody has done that since Pat Hentgen of the Blue Jays went 12 straight in 1996.

Lee also struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter Friday, improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio to a ridiculous 126-to-9. As you’ll see here at Baseball Reference, Lee is currently on pace to shatter Bret Saberhagen’s single-season record from 1994.

Oh, and the Rangers now lead the American League West by 9 1/2 games, their largest margin of the season. They are sittin’ pretty.  

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.