Lance McCullers is youngest pitcher to throw complete game with 10+ strikeouts since Kerry Wood

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Making just his fourth career start Wednesday night, 21-year-old Astros right-hander Lance McCullers racked up 11 strikeouts with zero walks and allowed one run in a complete-game win over the Orioles.

In doing so at 21 years and 244 days old McCullers became the youngest pitcher with double-digit strikeouts in a complete game since Kerry Wood’s incredible 20-strikeout game in 1998.

McCullers was the Astros’ “other” first-round pick in the 2012 draft that also saw them snag baseball’s best prospect, Carlos Correa, with the No. 1 pick. He has a 29/6 K/BB ratio in 24 innings since being promoted to the big leagues on May 18 following a dominant stretch at Double-A in which he struck out 43 batters in 29 innings with a 0.62 ERA.

Houston has the AL’s best record at 34-20 and the young, high-upside talent isn’t even done arriving yet.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.