Justin Verlander shakes off All-Star drubbing with near-shutout

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Justin Verlander pitched three-hit ball over eight scoreless innings Sunday as the Tigers topped the Orioles 4-0.

It was Verlander’s first start since he gave up five runs in an inning in losing Tuesday’s All-Star Game for the American League.

Verlander struck out eight and walked two. He’s second in the AL with 136 strikeouts, four behind Felix Hernandez. Jose Valverde pitched the final inning today with Verlander at 117 pitches after eight.

Verlander was just 5-4 after 13 outings this season, but now he’s now reeled off five wins in six starts — even though he hasn’t lowered his ERA much in the process — he should be right back among the Cy Young leaders in the AL.

With the win today, Verlander is 7-0 lifetime in 10 career starts against the Orioles.

Report: Blue Jays and Royals making progress on a Francisco Liriano trade

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and Royals are making progress on a trade involving starter Francisco Liriano. Morosi notes that other teams are still involved with the Jays on Liriano as well.

Liriano, 33, has struggled mightily this season. He carries a 5.99 ERA with a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 76 2/3 innings. By most metrics, this is one of the worst seasons of the lefty’s career.

The Royals acquired a trio of pitchers earlier this week from the Padres: Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill. Adding Liriano would bolster the team’s rotation depth but might not do much beyond that.

Despite a sluggish start to the season, the Royals went 17-9 in June and are 14-8 in July to put themselves right back in the thick of things in the AL Central. They’re just one and a half games behind the first-place Indians, which explains their aggressiveness leading up to Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

The Marlins are open to trading starter Dan Straily

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Miami Marlins are “now open to trading” starter Dan Straily.

Straily is controllable through 2020 and is a solid mid-to-back rotation starter, so you’d think the Marlins would want to hang on to him, but given that all of the starting pitching available right now comes with a high price tag, the Marlins could probably get a lot in return if they were to deal him.

Straily has a 3.84 ERA and a 107/33 K/BB ratio in 117 1/3 innings this season.