No, we don't normally allow a universally owned superstar to headline Closing Time. But it's not often that a universally owned superstar delivers one of the best-pitched games that any of us have ever witnessed.
On Wednesday night, facing Colorado, Clayton Kershaw was as close to perfect as any pitcher in memory. He struck out 15 batters and walked none over nine no-hit innings. The only base-runner he allowed reached via error. Kershaw's curve, as you might imagine, was pure evil. Just check the tape. Vin Scully was of course masterful, as always.
Kershaw needed only 107 pitches to complete his 15-K gem, which is silly. That's the most Ks without a walk of any no-no in MLB history. (Sandy Koufax and Matt Cain each fanned 14 in perfect games; Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez threw no-walk one-hitters in which they struck out 20 and 17 respectively.)
We typically issue a sell order on players who've just pitched no-hitters, but Kershaw is an obvious exception. There aren't more than a half-dozen names that can be reasonably paired with him in one-for-one trade discussions, and it would take a remarkable collection of talent to tempt anyone with a multi-player deal. So let's just enjoy the returns, Kershaw owners. Take a victory lap in comments, then hit the bulleted fantasy content below.
• Were it not for Kershaw's uncommonly brilliant performance, Bartolo Colon might have been our top story — both for this deft piece of hitting and for the quality of his recent pitching. Colon limited the Cards to four hits and one run over 8.0 frames on Wednesday, earning his seventh win of the season and lowering his ERA to 3.88. He hasn't given up more than two earned runs in any of his last six starts. The man rarely issues a walk, so he's consistently WHIP-friendly. Colon, despite his string of useful outings, is still only 35 percent owned. He's approved for use these days in nearly all starts.
• Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman impressed in a not-so-difficult matchup at Tampa, striking out five over 6.0 shutout innings, allowing one walk and five hits. The 23-year-old has won his last three starts, giving up just two runs over his last 19.0 frames. He'll get the White Sox next week, likely facing the big-WHIPped Hector Noesi.
• Kris Bryant's reign of terror in the Southern League has finally ended, as the Cubs promoted the third baseman to Triple-A Iowa. Bryant, as most of you know, was utterly dominant at Double-A Tennessee, slashing .355/.458/.702 for the Smokies with 22 homers, 20 doubles and eight steals in 68 games. We aren't likely to see him in Chicago before September, but he figures to be an impact bat in the season's final month.
• Jake Arrieta feasted on the Marlins on Wednesday, striking out 11 and allowing just one run over 7.0 innings. Arrieta has K'd 27 batters over his last three starts, and 55 in 50.0 innings this season. The kid is just 32 percent owned, despite the terrific ratios (1.98 ERA, 1.20 WHIP). Add if you can. Arrieta was considered a high-end prospect back in the day — Baseball America ranked him No. 67 overall in '09 — so it's not as if this surge is a total surprise.
• Twins closer Glen Perkins was unavailable on Wednesday, sidelined by back stiffness. In his absence, Casey Fien blew a save opportunity against the Red Sox, allowing back-to-back homers in the tenth to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. The Perkins injury doesn't seem like DL-level event, so there's no obvious reason to panic just yet.