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.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.
The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.
Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.
Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.
In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.