Paul Maholm entered tonight’s start against the Pirates with a 0.00 ERA and 20.1 consecutive scoreless innings over three starts. The lefty took his streak into the sixth inning until it was finally snapped on an Andrew McCutchen RBI double. Gaby Sanchez followed it up with a two-run home run to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead. After ending the inning with a double play, Maholm has a 1.03 ERA over his first four starts, a mark surpassed only by Matt Harvey among starters who have made their fourth start already.
ESPN Stats & Info tweeted earlier that Maholm was attempting to become the first pitcher in the modern era to open a season with four straight scoreless starts.
Remember, the Braves acquired Maholm last July when a deal with Ryan Dempster didn’t work out. Maholm and Reed Johnson joined the Braves and they sent out Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.
The Braves lost their second baseman during the game as well, as Dan Uggla exited the game with a left calf strain, per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Ramiro Pena replaced him and he should be expected to start as long as Uggla is on the shelf.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.