Phil Hughes could finish the season with the best K/BB ratio in MLB history


Twins right-hander Phil Hughes has thrived with a change of scenery this season and he could finish the year with a place in MLB history.

Hughes struck out five and walked none while allowing four runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Indians last night. He now owns a 3.61 ERA over 31 starts this season to go along with an absurd 181/16 K/BB ratio over 201 2/3 innings. That gives him 11.31 strikeouts for every walk, which would beat Bret Saberhagen (1994) for the single-season record.

If you look at the list on Baseball Reference (which still has Hughes at the top) you’ll see a lot of names from the late 1800s, so here’s a look at where he stands among qualified starters since 1901:

11.3 – Phil Hughes (2014)
11.0 – Bret Saberhagen (1994)
10.3  – Cliff Lee (2010)
9.6 – Curt Schilling (2002)
8.9 – Pedro Martinez (2000)
8.9 – Greg Maddux (1997)
8.5 – Pedro Martinez (1999)
8.3 – Ben Sheets (2004)
7.9 – Carlos Silva (2005)
7.9 – Greg Maddux (1995)

Some amazing company there. It’s worth noting that Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma currently has 7.89 strikeouts for every walk while Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is at 7.35 and David Price has 7.08. In case you haven’t noticed, pitching is dominating this season.

Hughes can finish off the record when he makes one final start next week against the Diamondbacks at home.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.