Phil Hughes outdueled Corey Kluber on Thursday, allowing one run over seven innings as the Twins beat the Indians 4-1. It was his fourth straight victory and 14th of the season. It was also his 15th consecutive start with one or no walks, the longest such streak for a starter since Cliff Lee had 20 in a row from July 2012-April 2013.
Hughes now has a 148/15 K/BB ratio in 165 innings on the year. If the season ended today, that’d be the third best ratio for a qualified starter since 1901.
11.0 – Bret Saberhagen – 1994 Mets (143/13 in 177 1/3 IP)
10.3 – Cliff Lee – 2010 Mariners/Rangers (185/18 in 212 1/3 IP)
9.9 – Phil Hughes – 2014 Twins
9.6 – Curt Schilling – 2002 Diamondbacks (313/33 in 259 1/3 IP)
8.9 – Pedro Martinez – 2000 Red Sox (284/32 in 217 IP)
8.9 – Greg Maddux – 1997 Braves (177/20 in 232 2/3 IP)
8.5 – Pedro Martinez – 1999 Red Sox (313/37 in 213 1/3 IP)
8.3 – Ben Sheets – 2004 Brewers (264/32 in 237 IP)
7.9 – Carlos Silva – 2oo5 Twins (71/9 in 188 1/3 IP)
7.9 – Greg Maddux – 1995 Braves (181/23 in 209 2/3 IP
Of course, the season isn’t ending today. And Hughes doesn’t actually have the best ratio in baseball this year. That belongs to Hisashi Iwakuma, who is at 120/12 K/BB in 147 innings. Plus, Clayton Kershaw isn’t far behind at 9.2, having struck out 174 and walked 19 in 145 1/3 innings.
Barring disaster, both of those guys will join Hughes in qualifying for the ERA title, and the entire top 10 above could get rewritten. Heck, David Price is at 7.6 right now and could squeeze in himself with a stellar finish. It’s certainly a new era as far as K/BB ratios go.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who’s been playing through an assortment of injuries for much of the season, left Game 1 of the ALDS in the third inning after tweaking his back on an RBI single.
Beltre grimaced in pain during the follow-through of his swing and could barely make it down the first base line. He remained in the game, but looked even worse trying to go to second base on Prince Fielder‘s ground out and was removed after the half-inning. He exited the field in tears.
Beltre is one of the best all-around third basemen in MLB history and even at age 36 had a fantastic season, hitting .287 with 18 homers and a .788 OPS in 143 games. That includes hitting .318 with 11 homers and an .884 OPS in the second half.
His pain threshold has been extremely high over the years, but based on how bad Beltre looked before exiting the game it’s hard to imagine him being available for a while. Texas has the option of removing him from the ALDS roster and adding another player, but doing so would make Beltre ineligible to return for the ALCS.
Hanser Alberto replaced Beltre and the Rangers are short on infield depth, making it an especially tough loss. According to the team, Beltre first hurt his back sliding into second base in the first inning and then worsened it with his third-inning swing.
St. Louis announced its roster for the NLDS and the biggest news is the inclusion of Adam Wainwright as a reliever.
Expected to miss the entire season following a torn Achilles’ tendon in April, he instead returned to make three relief appearances in the final week of the season and now may be counted on to get some key late-inning outs against the Cubs.
Right-hander Steve Cishek and left-hander Randy Choate are not on the NLDS roster, losing their bullpen spots to Tyler Lyons and Carlos Villanueva. Outfielders Jon Jay and Tommy Pham both made the roster, which had been a topic of much debate in Cardinals nation.
First baseman Mark Reynolds made the roster, but first baseman Matt Adams did not despite returning from the disabled list for some late-season action. And of course catcher Yadier Molina is on the roster and will give it a go playing through a sprained left thumb that’s sidelined him since September 20.
John Lackey will start Game 1, followed in the rotation by Jaime Garcia in Game 2, Michael Wacha in Game 3, and Lance Lynn in Game 4.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.