UPDATE: Pirates reportedly “close” to getting Ryan Ludwick from Padres

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UPDATE: And now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com says the Pirates, not the Indians, are “close” to acquiring Ludwick from the Padres.

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Last night the Indians and Padres were said to be discussing a deal for outfielder Ryan Ludwick and now Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that the two sides are “getting close” to pulling the trigger.

Ludwick has been terrible for the Padres since they acquired him from the Cardinals in the middle of last season, hitting .228 with a .301 on-base percentage and .358 slugging percentage in 160 games, but he wouldn’t be the first power hitter to see his production plummet calling Petco Park home.

Ludwick has been only slightly better on the road since joining the Padres and may simply have declined at age 33, but he hit .280 with a .507 slugging percentage in three-plus seasons for the Cardinals and the impending free agent figures to come with modest price tag.

This would be Ludwick’s second go-around in Cleveland, as he spent 2003 to 2005 in the Indians’ farm system and played a total of 73 games for them in the majors before leaving as a minor-league free agent at age 27.

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.