Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that the Orioles are still looking to round out their rotation with another three starters before spring training kicks off next week. The latest name to pop up on their radar? Free agent right-hander Drew Hutchison, who elected free agency from the Pirates last October.
Hutchison, 27, spent the entire 2017 season at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he split a 9-9 record in 26 starts and earned a respectable 3.90 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.0 SO/9 in 159 1/3 innings. His track record in the majors has been less impressive, however, and he hasn’t set foot on a major league mound since 2016. He was last seen as a full-time starter for the Blue Jays in 2014-15 and amassed a perplexing 24-18 record, 4.97 ERA and 3.7 fWAR over the two seasons.
The Orioles don’t appear to have engaged Hutchison in any serious discussions yet, though Kubatko notes that the team has a tentative deadline of March 1 as GM Dan Duquette would like to see starters arrive to camp as soon as possible. They’re also rumored to have their eye on free agent right-hander Chris Tillman this winter. Tillman, 29, has received interest from the Twins, Tigers and Blue Jays as well, despite coming off of a career-worst season in Baltimore.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.