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.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.