Justin Verlander pitched the second no-hitter of the 2011 season and his second career no-hitter Saturday in a 9-0 win over the Blue Jays.
Verlander had a perfect game going until catcher J. P. Arencibia worked a walk on an exquisite 12-pitch at-bat with one out in the eighth. Arencibia, who barely missed a double down the left-field line earlier in his at-bat, was promptly erased on a double-play ball from Edwin Encarnacion, and Verlander went on to make it look easy in the ninth, getting a popup from David Cooper, a soft groundout from John McDonald and then a strikeout of Rajai Davis to end it.
Oddly enough, Verlander, who was tied for second in the AL with 51 strikeouts entering the day, fanned just four in the game. Francisco Liriano had only two strikeouts in his no-hitter earlier this week. Prior to that, every no-hitter thrown since Dwight Gooden’s on May 14, 1996 had featured at least six strikeouts.
Verlander’s previous no-hitter came against the Brewers in interleague play on June 12, 2007. He joins Mark Buehrle and Roy Halladay as the only active pitchers with multiple no-hitters. Halladay’s second no-hitter came in the postseason last year.
The no-hitter was the seventh in Tigers history. The last Tiger besides Verlander to throw one was Jack Morris on April 7, 1984.
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.