Felix Hernandez pitched a five-hitter Monday against the Twins to become the first American League pitcher since David Wells in 1998 to notch five shutouts in a season.
It was his ninth career shutout.
Hernandez has won nine straight decisions to put himself right in the thick of the AL Cy Young race. The shutout stat can’t hurt. Besides Wells, the only AL starter to record five shutouts in a season since 1990 was Roger Clemens in 1992. In the eight seasons from 2003-2010, there were six years in which no AL starter had more than two shutouts.
Hernandez made an unlucky loser of Liam Hendriks tonight in a 1-0 game. Hendriks pitched a three-hitter in his first career complete game, yet he fell to 0-7 on the season.
Hernandez hasn’t lost since June 12. At 13-7, he’s still three wins behind David Price and Jered Weaver. However, he is closing in on Price’s AL ERA lead (Price is at 2.28, Hernandez 2.43 and Justin Verlander 2.50). He’s also third in the league with 184 strikeouts.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.