Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson ties and then overtakes career high in homers

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Curtis Granderson hit his 30th and 31st homers Wednesday to lead the Yankees to a 9-3 win over the Angels.

The second homer gave him a new career high with 47 games left to play.  He hit 30 homers in 160 games in his final year with the Tigers in 2009.

Granderson had already long blown past his career high for RBI.  He knocked in four more runs tonight, giving him 91 RBI for the season.  His previous high-water point was 74 in 2007.

Granderson, though, still has a ways to go in runs scored.  Even though he leads the majors with 104 runs scored — 20 more than Jacoby Ellsbury in second place — he’s 18 short of matching his high total of 122, also from 2007.

Besides new highs in homers, RBI and likely runs and OPS this season, Granderson could also set a personal best in steals.  He’s at 22 right now, leaving him four shy of his total from 2007.  He also needs 14 walks to match his high of 72 from 2009.

But tonight wasn’t all about Granderson: Robinson Cano missed the cycle by a single and rookie Ivan Nova improved to 7-0 in his last eight starts.  The Yankees also beat a pitcher making his major league debut for the first time in seven tries.  Granderson’s three-run homer off young Angels right-hander Garrett Richards set the tone in the first, and the Yankees ended up knocking him around for six runs in five innings.

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.