And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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It’s gonna take me a few hours to get back up to speed after a week off, so bear with me.  Can’t wait to fire up my DVR and check out those couple of Stephen Strasburg starts I missed! That kid is fantastic!

Braves 7, Marlins 6: If you thought that after a week off I wasn’t going to come back leading with a Brian McCann walkoff jack to bring the Braves back from a 6-1 eighth inning deficit then you’re just not familiar with my work.

Phillies 5, Padres 0: Swept by the Astros at home, sweep the Padres at home. I dunno man, you figure the Phillies out.

Brewers 8, Pirates 4: The Brewers have so thoroughly owned the Pirates at Miller Park the past couple of years (28-2) that they’re considering taking out an equity loan on their asses and adding a deck. Or maybe a gazebo. Save number 599 for Trevor Hoffman. I hope he gets to an even 600 and shuts himself down for good so he can (a) have a nice round number next to his name in the books; and (b) end his career with a fist pump and a high five from his catcher after closing one out, because that’s the only way it should be.

Mariners 2, Twins 1: Nice outing for Carl Pavano, but as people have been saying for years, there’s just not a hell of a lot you can do when you’re facing Luke French (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). Well, I’m guessing someone said that once or twice. Like, his mom or his Legion coach or someone like that.

Nationals 4, Cardinals 2: The Cards are 2-5 in their last seven. Those seven were against Washington and Pittsburgh. Gettin’ your butt handed to you by last place teams is no way to win the NL Central, son.

Reds 7, Cubs 5: The Reds take advantage of the Cardinals’ loss, extending their division lead to five games. They’re now 11-4 since getting swept by the Cardinals at home. The lesson: trash talking and kicking dudes in the face = victory.

Rockies 10, Dodgers 5: For the first time in six starts since coming over to L.A. in the trade, Ted Lilly loses. In fact, he gets pummeled (4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER). Three of those seven runs came on a pair of Carlos Gonzalez bombs.

Orioles 1, Angels 0: The O’s took all six this year from the defending AL West champs. And this series was your basic flogging: the Angels scored one run on Friday night and were shut out both yesterday and Saturday night. The O’s will finish the month with a winning record and, in fact, will have the best August of any AL East team. Sadly, however, the Yankees’ and Ray’s victories yesterday eliminated them from playoff contention.

Athletics 8, Rangers 2: The A’s take two of three to pull within seven and a half of Texas. Doesn’t seem very doable for Oakland, especially with only one series left between these guys. Not impossible, I guess. In 2002 the A’s were down four and a half at the beginning of that 20-game win streak and found themselves up three and a half when they lost their next game. Now, if Oakland can find that extra run or so a game that 2002 team had over the 2010 team, they’ll be in business.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 7: San Francisco avoids the sweep at the hands of Arizona. They did their best to lose it, though. Adam LaRoche hit a two-run RBI double to right in the seventh inning. The time it took Jose Guillen to get to that ball is best measured in epochs. Guillen got the two runs back on his own RBI single, but really, no team that considers itself a contender should be playing that guy in right every day.

Yankees 2, White Sox 1: Frank Thomas Day, as The Big Hurt gets his number retired. The Sox could have used him in the lineup, though, as Ivan Nova allowed one run and five hits and struck out seven.

Tigers 10, Blue Jays 4: Dave Stieb Day, as the Blue Jays honor Sir David. The Jays could have used him the rotation, though, as Ryan Raburn hit two homers and the Tigers rattled off 12 hits. By the way, Dave Stieb was better than Jack Morris, and no one ever goes all crazy making his Hall of Fame case.

Royals 6, Indians 2: You can’t stop Bruce Chen and Kila Ka’aihue, you can only hope to contain them.

Mets 5, Astros 1: As of 7:30 P.M. last night, the little AP game story headline was “Dickey Handcuffs Astros.”  Heh heh, “Dickey handcuffs.”  Heh heh heh heh.

Rays 5, Red Sox 3: The season is growing short for Boston. Um, wait, that’s kind of an oxymoron. But you know what I mean. They’re 6.5 back. Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford hit dingers off John Lackey.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.

The Dodgers asked the Tigers about Justin Verlander this offseason

DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on May 18, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.

It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.

The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.

So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.