Heyman: Phillies making “big push” to keep Jayson Werth

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Well, lookie here: Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that the Phillies are making a “big push” to keep free agent outfielder Jayson Werth.

No, Werth isn’t going to sign tomorrow or anything, but Heyman also refers to Ruben Amaro’s comments from earlier this afternoon, when the Phils’ GM indicated that he would like to know relatively soon whether they have a realistic shot at re-signing the outfielder. But do those comments mean that the Phillies are making a “big push” to keep him? I must have missed that.

I realize that Amaro has other priorities, mainly adding a couple pieces to his bullpen and possibly finding a right-handed hitting outfielder, but would it really hurt to hang around in the background just in case Werth can’t get his “Matt Holliday money” this winter? Honestly, I don’t see why the Phillies have to go after a right-handed platoon partner for rookie Domonic Brown or Raul Ibanez when they already have a pretty competent (and cheap) one in Ben Francisco. They can afford to wait there.

Just in case you forgot that Werth’s agent is Scott Boras, Heyman reminds us that a quick deal is “not likely.” You think? Why do I have the funny feeling that we’ll still be talking about this guy until early January?

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.