The big surprise here is that neither of his previous shutouts came against the Cubs.
Veteran left-hander Paul Maholm pitched a three-hitter Saturday as the Pirates won 10-0 at Wrigley Field. He struck out four and walked none in the 91-pitch gem.
Ronny Cedeno, Lyle Overbay, Chris Snyder and Andrew McCutchen all went deep in the game.
It was just the second win of the year for Maholm. He leads the NL with seven losses despite an ERA that dropped from 3.65 to 3.18 today.
The Pirates gave some thought to trading Maholm last year, but it would have been a case of selling low. He had his worst year as a big leaguer in 2010, going 9-15 with a 5.10 ERA.
Now that he appears on his way to maybe his best or his second-best season (he had a 3.71 ERA and a nice 1.28 WHIP in 206 1/3 innings in 2008), he could bring a couple of quality prospects in return this summer. The Pirates are also in better position to move him, considering that they’d still have three-fifths of a decent rotation in place with Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.
But before giving away their players again, we might as well let the Pirates enjoy this one. They’re back up to 24-26 on the season, and they’ll have a chance to go for a sweep in Chicago when Jeff Karstens faces Ryan Dempster on Sunday.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.