It was tough to know what to expect from Danny Duffy tonight, as he was making his first start since September 6 due to left rotator cuff inflammation. However, he showed little in the way of rust.
Duffy tossed six scoreless innings as the Royals defeated the Indians 2-0 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The southpaw gave up six hits and two walks while striking out five. Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland followed with three scoreless innings to lock down the victory.
Carlos Carrasco pitched a solid game in his own right, striking out nine batters over his 7 1/3 innings of work, but Eric Hosmer delivered an RBI single in the first inning and Alcides Escobar added another run with an infield single in the fifth.
The Tigers lost 2-0 to the White Sox tonight, so the Royals are now just one game back in the American League Central with six games remaining for both teams. The Mariners got blown out by the Blue Jays tonight, so they are now two games back of the Royals in the Wild Card race. Meanwhile, the Indians are 3 1/2 games behind the Royals.
The Cleveland Indians have either traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers or are on the verge of doing so. Jon Heyman says the deal is done. Others are reporting that it’s close. It is not clear yet what the Indians will be receiving in return in what seems like an inevitable transaction.
Kluber made only seven starts this past year thanks to a broken arm and a strained oblique muscle. When he did pitch he was no great shakes, posting a 5.80 ERA and 44 hits in 35.2 innings. Those were freak injuries that do not suggest long-term problems, however, so there’s a good reason to think he’ll bounce back to useful form, even if it’s a tough ask for him to return to the form that won him the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award.
Before his injury-wracked 2019 campaign, Kluber pitched over 200 innings in each of his previous five seasons so mileage could be an issue. For his career he’s 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), a 2.99 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 1,461/292 over 1,341.2 innings in nine big league seasons.
Unless there is cash coming from Cleveland in the deal, the Rangers will be paying him $17.5 million this year and a 2021 option of $14 million pursuant to the five-year, $38.5 million contract he inked with Cleveland before the 2015 season.