Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer improves to 15-1 as Tigers embarrass Phillies

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Max Scherzer picked up his easiest W of the season as the Tigers rolled over the hapless Phillies 10-0 tonight at Comerica Park. With reliever Raul Valdes making a spot start in place of Cliff Lee, dealing with a stiff neck, the Tigers put up a five-spot in the first inning. Miguel Cabrera got the ball rolling with a solo home run, his 32nd of the season, and Matt Tuiasosopo added a gut punch with a three-run home run before Valdes could even break a sweat.

The Tigers added three more runs in the second on an RBI single by Cabrera and a two-run single by Victor Martinez. Extra runs were added in the fourth on a Cabrera ground out, and in the fifth on a Torii Hunter sacrifice fly.

Meanwhile, Scherzer limited a decimated Phillies lineup to one hit over six innings. He issued no free passes while striking out seven, lowering his ERA to 3.01. Al Alburquerque tossed two scoreless frames in relief before giving way to Evan Reed in the ninth. Reed enjoyed a quick 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the 10-0 victory.

The loss is the Phillies’ seventh in a row. They fall to 49-55, a full ten games behind the first place Braves in the NL East. They are temporarily ten games behind the Reds for the second Wild Card as well, but it will go up or down by a half-game depending on the result of tonight’s Reds-Dodgers game. The Tigers maintain a three-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.