Rays send Jake McGee to minors, call up Alex Cobb for spot start Sunday

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Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays have sent Jake McGee to Triple-A Durham and called up Alex Cobb to start Sunday’s series finale against the Angels.

The Rays need a spot starter for Sunday because of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Twins.

McGee, 24, made the Rays out of spring training, but posted a 5.84 ERA and 2/3 K/BB ratio over his first seven innings. While he’s still considered the closer of the future in many circles, Rays manager Joe Maddon told J.B. Long of Bright House Sports Network that he wants the young left-hander to get more work in the minor leagues.

Cobb, a 23-year-old right-hander, has a 3.10 ERA over parts of six seasons in the minors, averaging 7.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. The former 2006 fourth-round pick has a 2.05 ERA and 29/6 K/BB ratio over his first four starts with Triple-A Durham this season. He was ranked as the organization’s No. 16 prospect by Baseball America over the winter.

His first taste of the big leagues is expected to be a brief one, as Cobb will be sent back to the minors following Sunday’s outing. Topkin writes that right-hander Brandon Gomes, who was acquired from the Padres in the Jason Bartlett trade, is a “strong candidate” to join the Rays’ bullpen.

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.