Justin Upton, Paul Maholm an unbeatable combination for Braves

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Justin Upton went 4-for-4 and homered yet again while Paul Maholm pitched one-hit ball for seven innings in the Braves’ 2-0 defeat of the Marlins on Monday.

Upton leads the majors six homers, one more than Seattle’s Mike Morse, and he also chipped in with his second double tonight. He scored both runs for the 6-1 Braves.

Maholm, meanwhile, was Upton’s equivalent on the mound, pitching shutout ball for his second straight start. He struck out seven Marlins tonight, giving him 13 K’s in 12 2/3 innings on the season. Since arriving in Atlanta in a trade with the Cubs last summer, he’s struck out 72 batters in 81 1/3 innings, a rate that dwarfs anything he did previously with the Pirates. Before joining the Braves, he averaged 5.6 K/9 IP. Since, he’s at 8.0.

In all, the Braves allowed just two hits tonight, singles from Placido Polanco and Rob Brantly. Giancarlo Stanton walked three times and struck out once in his four plate appearances. He’s hitting .174 and has yet to drive in a run this season.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.