The Astros, of all teams, recorded their third shutout Tuesday and beat the Cubs 3-0 in the first matchup of 100-loss teams since 1962.
Houston handed the Cubs their 100th loss by winning 3-0 on Monday, setting up the historic matchup. Tonight’s game featured the same score. The Cubs fell to 60-101 for the season, though that still leaves them five games ahead of the 55-106 Astros in the NL Central.
The last time two 100-loss teams met was fifty years ago, when the Cubs played the expansion Mets at the end of the 1962 season. Those Cubs finished 59-103, while the Mets, one of the worst teams of the century, went 40-120.
The Astros also beat the Brewers 7-0 on Sunday, so this gives the team three straight shutouts. Bud Norris did the bulk of the work tonight, pitching six scoreless innings. The Astros are the third team this season to notch three straight shutouts. The Giants did it four games in a row in June, and the Braves did it earlier this month. It’s just the third time in franchise history the Astros have pulled it off. They did it once in 1974 and again in their NLCS year of 1986.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.
The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.
Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.
As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.