Javier Vazquez

Javier Vazquez wows with seven shutout innings vs. Rays

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The Marlins signed veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez to a one-year, $7 million contract this winter, hoping that he might be able to return to form back in the National League.

Vazquez posted a frightening 5.32 ERA and 1.40 WHIP last season for the Yankees, but he earned NL Cy Young Award votes in 2009 with a dominant campaign in Atlanta and the Marlins believed that the 34-year-old had some of that magic left.

The experiment got off to a disastrous start this year as Vazquez registered a 7.55 ERA over his first eight outings, but a glimmer of hope arrived Saturday afternoon in the form of a seven-inning shutout against the cross-state Rays. The Puerto Rico native struck out seven Tampa Bay batters and issued just two walks while surrendering only three hits.

It was only Vazquez’s second quality start of 2011 and the seven strikeouts were a season-high. The Marlins, who just lost Josh Johnson to the disabled list, will hope for more of the same from Javy next week.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.