Corey Kluber tossed an 85-pitch shutout last night

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Friend-of-HBT and frequent commenter Jason Lukehart created a statistic a couple of years ago called “The Maddux.” One achieves a Maddux when one tosses a complete game shutout while using fewer than 100 pitches to do it. Quirky? Sure. I mean, you’re not likely to have a 10K game or something doing that. But it’s very cool.

Corey Kluber has been very cool this year. And yesterday he paid tribute to recent Hall of Fame inductee Greg Maddux by spinning a Maddux himself. Three hits, eight strikeouts and no walks while blanking the Mariners on 85 pitches. Yes, 85 pitches. That he did that and still managed to strike out those eight is pretty darn impressive.

All the more impressive given that, with Felix Hernandez on the other side, Kluber had to be dominant. Indeed, Hernandez himself only gave up two runs, both coming on a fifth inning double. It was a true battle of aces. It was also over in 2:10, which is almost unheard of these days.

Justin Masterson may be gone, but Indians fans still have an ace to cheer for. One that’s even better than the last one.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.