Because of a J.J. Putz blown save, Arizona’s Ian Kennedy was denied a win last night despite holding the Giants to just an unearned run over eight innings. I noticed afterwards that it was the fifth time already this season that Kennedy has pitched at least eight innings and allowed one or no runs. As it turns out, that’s tied for the major league lead.
Here’s the pitchers with the most starts fitting those two qualifications (8 or more IP, 0 or 1 runs allowed):
5 – Cole Hamels, Kennedy, Kyle Lohse, James Shields
4 – Jaime Garcia, Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver
3 – Bartolo Colon, Yovani Gallardo, Carl Pavano, Anibal Sanchez, Carlos Zambrano
And still no Roy Halladay. He’s had just two, those coming back-to-back against the Padres and Mets at the end of April. He’s had three starts in which he’s pitched at least eight innings and allowed two runs and two more in which he’s come out after seven scoreless innings.
Josh Beckett, the major league leader in ERA, has also had two. He’s lasted eight innings in only three of his 14 starts.
Jair Jurrjens, the NL ERA leader, has had one.
Kennedy has quietly been outstanding for the Diamondbacks this season. In all, he’s allowed one run or fewer eight times in 14 starts. Still, he hasn’t gotten a lot of hype. Giving up nine runs to the Cardinals in his third start of the year has left him with an inflated ERA that he only finally managed to bring under 3.00 with last night’s performance. However, he’ll deserve All-Star consideration if he keeps this up.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.