Shaun Marcum

Shaun Marcum shuts down White Sox to avoid 0-10 start

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After nine straight losses to begin the season, the Mets’ Shaun Marcum blanked the White Sox for eight innings on Wednesday and picked up his first victory in a 3-0 game.

Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save.

Marcum was in danger of becoming the first pitcher since the Cardinals’ Anthony Reyes in 2007 to start 0-10. He was the sixth pitcher to start 0-9 since 2000, joining Mike Maroth (2003 Tigers), Edgar Gonzalez (2004 Diamondbacks), Reyes, Kenshin Kawakami (2010 Braves) and Chris Volstad (2012 Cubs).

Marcum allowed just four hits over eight innings while facing what should be considered the American League’s worst offense. The White Sox had outscored the Mariners entered the night (3.74 runs per game to 3.60), but they have a big ballpark advantage over Seattle. They had the league’s worst OBP (.296) and OPS (.673), and both of those figures took another hit tonight.

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)
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.