Hells Bells going silent? Trevor Hoffman blows another save

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Trevor Hoffman’s first save opportunity since May 7 did not go well this afternoon. He came in to face the Reds with a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning and this happened:
Paul Janish single.
Scott Rolen homer.
Chris Heisey double.
Brandon Phillips walk.
Joey Votto single.
Game over.
Hoffman now has a hideous 13.15 ERA, allowing 19 earned runs in 13 innings. To put that into some context, he hasn’t allowed more than 19 earned runs in a season since way back in 2002. He’s also blown five saves in 10 opportunities after going 37-for-41 last season.
I’ve been slower than many people to declare Hoffman toast because a) he’s been so great for so long, and b) his mid-80s fastball has led to premature burials in the past. With that said, serving up seven homers and 15 total extra-base hits in 13 innings sure seems to shout that the fastball-changeup combo that has baffled hitters for so long is just no longer fooling anyone.
Obviously the first step is a demotion from closer to middle reliever, perhaps giving Hoffman a chance to get on track in low-leverage situations. However, whether he’s working the ninth inning or the sixth inning a few more ugly outings and the Brewers will have no choice but to start thinking about simply cutting bait.
Much like watching Ken Griffey Jr. flail away in Seattle, it’s sad to see one of the greatest relievers of all time get knocked around like he’s throwing batting practice. Maybe the future first-ballot Hall of Famers can stage a dual retirement at midseason.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.