Red Sox “getting closer” to signing reliever Matt Albers

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Peter Gammons reported yesterday that the Red Sox had agreed to a contract with Matt Albers, while “a source familiar with the negotiations” told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the deal is “getting closer” but “not done yet.”

Albers was non-tendered earlier this month by the Orioles, who didn’t want to keep him despite a projected salary that likely would have been around $1 million or so in 2011.

He had a 4.62 ERA in 193 innings spread over three seasons in Baltimore, but posted a sub par 124/92 K/BB ratio while allowing opponents to hit .274.

However, as a ground-ball guy with an average fastball that clocked in at 92.5 miles per hour this season the 27-year-old right-hander could be a useful middle relief option if his control improves.

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.