Phillies on pace for most shutouts since Braves in 1992

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Last night Cliff Lee threw 8.2 scoreless innings and Ryan Madson came in to get the final out as the Phillies shut out the Reds.

It was the 19th time this season the Phillies have held their opponent scoreless, which is the most in baseball this year:

Phillies     19
Rangers      16
Dodgers      15
Braves       14
Rays         13

And here’s a list of the most shutouts in a season during the past 20 years:

Braves       1992     24
Braves       1998     23
Phillies     2010     21
Pirates      1992     20
Padres       2007     20
Padres       2010     20

At their current pace the Phillies will end up with 23 shutouts, which would be the most since Atlanta had 24 in 1992. That team had John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, and Charlie Leibrandt in the rotation and lost to the Blue Jays in the World Series. And then that offseason they signed Greg Maddux away from the Cubs.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.