Report: Blue Jays have checked in with Athletics about Tyler Clippard

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With the Athletics looking like one of the few obvious sellers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, reliever Tyler Clippard figures to be a popular name. One surging team in the AL East has already reached out to express interest in a deal:

The Blue Jays were reportedly interested in Clippard over the winter, so it’s easy to understand why they are revisiting the possibility. The 30-year-old has functioned as Oakland’s closer this season, posting a 3.20 ERA and 22/13 K/BB ratio over 25 1/3 inning while going 9-for-11 in save opportunities. He’s making $8.3 million this season and will be a free agent this winter.

Brett Cecil is Toronto’s closer right now, but they haven’t needed him much in that capacity recently. He notched his first save since May 4 last night.

Gerrit Cole second-fastest to 200 strikeouts in a season

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Astros starter Gerrit Cole dominated the Athletics on Monday night, limiting them to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out 11. It marked his 12th start out of 22 this season with double-digit strikeouts, giving him 205 total on the season.

It is no surprise, then, to hear that Cole is the second-fastest in baseball history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Cole got there in 133 1/3 innings. The only pitcher faster than Cole was Randy Johnson, who reached 200 K’s in 130 2/3 innings back in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.

Along with the 205 strikeouts, Cole holds an 11-5 record with a 3.03 ERA across 136 2/3 innings. Among qualified starters in the American League, only Charlie Morton (2.61), Mike Minor (2.86), José Berríos (2.96), and teammate Justin Verlander (2.99) have a better ERA than Cole, who has twice finished in the top-five in Cy Young Award voting.