The bullpen shuffle: the Phillies designate Chad Qualls for assignment, option Joe Savery

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The Phillies bullpen is a hot mess, and two of the messier parts of it have been Chad Qualls and Joe Savery.  They gone now, however, as the team has DFA’d Qualls and has optioned Savery to Lehigh Valley.

Qualls has a 4.60 ERA and has allowed 39 hits in 31 and a third innings. Savery has been worse, sporting a 5.87 ERA and has allowed 26 hits and seven walks in 23 innings. And whether this is cause or effect, the fact is that the Phillies were 0-17 in games in which Savery pitched this year.

In their place, the Phils have called up lefty reliever Jeremy Horst and righty Brian Sanches. Sanches was part of the hot mess brigade earlier this season for Philly, but he has been much better since he’s been down at triple-A and has apparently earned a second chance. Horst has been even better, posting an ERA of 2.11 in 38 and a third innings for the Iron Pigs.

Rearranging deck chairs? Eh, maybe. But sometimes that works with bullpens.

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.