The Mets were particularly vulnerable this afternoon with David Wright out of the starting lineup and Blue Jays’ right-hander Brandon Morrow took advantage, tossing a complete game three-hit shutout as part of a 2-0 victory.
Morrow struck out eight and walked one while throwing 76 out of 107 pitches for strikes. The Mets nearly had a rally going after Scott Hairston led off the ninth inning with a walk and Mike Baxter ripped one down the first base line for a potential double, but Jose Bautista made a quick throw from right field and shortstop Yunel Escobar slapped down the tag at second base. While replays showed that Escobar missed the tag on Baxter, second base umpire Brian Knight called him out. Oh, human element. Daniel Murphy then lined out to Escobar for the final out of the ballgame.
It was the second shutout of the season for Morrow, which leads the majors, and the third of his career. The 27-year-old right-hander is now 5-1 on the year with an outstanding 2.63 ERA and 54/17 K/BB ratio in 61 2/3 innings over nine starts.
The Jays have now won four straight, including two wins against the Yankees and two against the Mets, and sit at 23-18 on the young season.
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.
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.