Indians hurler and reigning AL Cy Young champ Corey Kluber tossed his second career Maddux on Saturday, expending just 98 pitches in his first complete game shutout of the season.
The Angels eked out three hits against Kluber, but were limited to one extra-base hit and only managed to put runners in scoring position once. In the third inning, Eric Young Jr. doubled to left field and advanced on a fly out to position himself at third base. With two outs and runners at the corners, Kluber induced a rally-killing groundout from Shohei Ohtani to end the inning.
For much of the game, there was no touching the right-hander. He needed just five pitches to get through the second inning and made short work of the heart of the order with eight pitches in the ninth. Backed by a three-run lead on Leonys Martin‘s solo home run, Michael Brantley‘s RBI single and a run-scoring passed ball from Francisco Arcia, Kluber finished his night with three hits, a walk and seven strikeouts, boosting his season totals to an AL-leading 14-6 record in 23 starts and 2.63 ERA, 1.2 BB/9 and 8.5 SO/9 across 154 innings.
Prior to Saturday’s gem, only two other pitchers have tossed complete game shutouts with fewer than 100 pitches this season: the Pirates’ Trevor Williams, whose 7-0, 84-pitch feat was helped enormously by a rain-shortened, six-inning game, and the Mariners’ James Paxton, who completed a Maddux in the conventional nine innings with 99 pitches in a 5-0 shutout against the Rays.
Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.
For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.
The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.
The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:
One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?
In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.