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.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.