Felix Hernandez

Stat of the day: facing the Bombers

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61 pitchers have started at least five games versus the Yankees since the beginning of 2007.  Here are the best and worst of the results, ranked by ERA:

Best
1. A.J. Burnett: 4-1, 1.35 ERA (seven starts)
2. Felix Hernandez: 6-1, 2.04 ERA (eight starts)
3. Cliff Lee: 4-1, 2.55 ERA (six starts)
4. Brian Matusz: 2-3, 2.56 ERA (five starts)
5. Roy Halladay: 9-3, 2.85 ERA (15 starts)
6. Jon Lester: 8-2, 3.06 ERA (14 starts)
7. Jarrod Washburn: 1-3, 3.06 ERA (five starts)
8. Jeff Niemann: 3-0, 3.10 ERA (five starts)
9. Francisco Liriano: 1-3, 3.22 ERA (six starts)
10. Scott Kazmir: 6-3, 3.36 ERA (12 starts)

Worst
1. Brian Bannister: 1-3, 13.26 ERA (five starts)
2. Trevor Cahill: 0-4, 10.95 ERA (five starts)
3. Brad Bergesen: 0-4, 9.25 ERA (five starts)
4. Marc Rzepczynski: 1-2, 8.86 ERA (five starts)
5. Derek Holland: 0-4, 8.78 ERA (five starts)
6. Chris Tillman: 1-3, 8.71 ERA (five starts)
7. Jason Vargas: 0-3, 8.14 ERA (five starts)
8. Fausto Carmona: 1-5, 7.52 ERA (eight starts)
9. Jose Contreras: 0-5, 7.52 ERA (five starts)
10. Paul Byrd: 2-3, 7.36 ERA (five starts)
11. Tim Wakefield: 3-4, 7.27 ERA (10 starts)
12. Gio Gonzalez: 1-4, 7.27 ERA (five starts)
13. John Danks: 2-3, 7.11 ERA (six starts)

Josh Beckett, the winningest pitcher against the Yankees with an 11-5 record the last five years, doesn’t make either list with his 4.78 ERA in 22 starts.

Honorable mention goes to Oliver Perez, who was 4-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his four starts against the Yankees.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.