And then there were two: Collins, Melvin appear to be finalists for the Mets job

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With Clint Hurdle looking more and more like he’s destined for Pittsburgh, it’s being reported that the Mets have narrowed their managerial search down to two men: Terry Collins and Bob Melvin.

While Jose Oquendo is on Sandy Alderson’s interview schedule, the New York Times is saying that he’s not “a serious contender.”  Same with AAA manager Ken Oberkfell. Which saddens me a bit, because (a) I liked Oquendo as a player, probably more than I should ever have liked a utility guy; and (b) with Ken Oberkfell being a former Brave, I could revive the conspiracy theory that Atlanta has been sending deep cover agents to infiltrate and ruin the Mets for years. Agent Glavine did such a good job, I’m sure that Agent Oberkfell could too.

But the saddest news in all of this is the apparent end of Wally Backman’s candidacy. Not for the Mets — I continue to believe that he wouldn’t be the best choice — but for the bloggers. I mean, I could easily have gotten another half dozen posts out of all of this, and no it appears that the party is over.

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.