Here’s a perfect example of how baseball is simultaneously amazing and bizarre: Monday night Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, a former Cy Young winner with the most wins in the league this season, matched up against Royals right-hander Joe Blanton, who briefly retired last year and has a 5.00 ERA since 2000.
Blanton out-dueled Hernandez, tossing six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts and zero walks. Last time Blanton allowed one run or fewer with at least seven strikeouts and zero walks in a start? June of 2012. And before that it was August of 2010. And before that it was never, because Monday was just the third time in his 11-season, 250-start career Blanton has had such an outing.
Hernandez wasn’t exactly terrible, allowing four runs in 6.1 innings, but he continued a pattern of alternating great starts with bad starts that dates back to late May.
May 27: Complete-game shutout
June 1: Seven runs in 4.2 innings
June 6: Seven innings of one-run ball
June 12: Eight runs on 0.1 innings
June 17: Eight shutout innings
June 22: Four runs in 6.2 innings
Blanton, meanwhile, has a nifty 1.73 ERA and 24/3 K/BB ratio in 26 innings for Kansas City and the Royals somehow keeping chugging right along in first place with a patchwork starting rotation.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.