The Phillies sign Chad Durbin

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The lastest move from Ruben Amaro:

Sources told MLB.com today the Phillies and right-hander Chad Durbin have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, pending a physical. The deal includes a club option for 2014. Durbin, 35, pitched for the Phillies from 2008-10, when he helped solidify the middle innings.

Jerry Crasnick says the deal is for $1.1 million with some incentives.

Durbin is useful, and his ERA was a bit misleading last year after he began the season with a few disaster appearances before settling down into a reliable groove. Anecdotally (he pitched for the Braves last year) he seemed to give up more hits and walks and allowed more inherited runners to score than he actually did. I have no idea what to make of that. Vexing really. Especially the inherited runner part. In reality he allowed only 11 of 44 to score, which isn’t bad.  So I’m wondering why I have this irrationally dour view of his performance last year. Probably has a lot to do with Fredi Gonzalez using him in some high leverage situations rather than go to his better relievers, thereby causing me to subconsciously transfer my anger at the manager to the pitcher. Whatever the case, it probably says an awful lot about the irrationality and subjectivity of being a fan, especially when it comes to bullpens.

Oh well.  He is another new face in the Philly pen, which desperately needed a makeover. If things break right, he and Mike Adams could turn what was a profound weakness last year into a strength. It’s little moves like these which tend go unnoticed until a team exceeds expectations and then someone writes the “how are the Phillies doing it?” article.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.