Jered Weaver Getty

Jered Weaver makes first-half history with Sandy Koufax

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Jered Weaver put the finishing touches on his brilliant first half with eight shutout innings against the Orioles yesterday, improving to 10-1 with an MLB-leading 1.96 ERA in 15 starts.

Last year Weaver entered the All-Star break with an 11-4 record and 1.86 ERA, which puts him in some exclusive company for first-half dominance.

Dating back to 1950 the only pitchers with 10 or more wins and a sub-2.00 ERA at the All-Star break in back-to-back seasons are Weaver in 2011-2012 and Sandy Koufax in 1963-1964.

And as Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times notes, if AL manager Ron Washington chooses Weaver to start the All-Star game he’ll be the first pitcher to do so in back-to-back seasons since Randy Johnson in 2000-2001.

Not bad for a guy who missed nearly a month with back problems earlier this season.

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)
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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.