Justin Verlander had to settle for a one-hitter in Detroit’s 6-0 win over the Pirates on Friday, but that hardly takes away from his incredible run.
– The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner is now 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA and a major league-best 0.80 WHIP this season. He also took over the league lead in strikeouts by upping his total to 68 tonight.
– He struck out 12 batters for the sixth time in his career. Half of those starts have come in the last calendar year.
– It was Verlander’s 51st consecutive start of at least six innings, the longest such streak since 2000. Mark Buehrle had a streak of 49 six-inning starts in 2004-05.
Josh Harrison was the only Pirate to have decent at-bats against Verlander tonight, so it was fitting that he broke up the no-hitter with one out in the ninth with a line drive single off a 1-2 curveball. In all, Harrison hit three of the four balls that the Pirates got out of the infield in the game.
Of course, Pittsburgh is far from an offensive juggernaut — the Pirates rank last in the majors in runs scored and it’s not even close — but Verlander probably would have shut down any lineup tonight. With two already down, one gets the impression that it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the sixth pitcher in major league history with three no-hitters under his belt.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.