Cardinals, Jaime Garcia closing in on contract extension?

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Michael Golde, an employee of KTRS 550 AM in St. Louis, tweeted Thursday afternoon that the Cardinals and left-handed starter Jaime Garcia had reached agreement on a four-year, $27.5 million contract extension with club options for 2016 and 2017.

The Cardinals have not confirmed the rumor, but they’re not completely shooting it down either.

Cards GM John Mozeliak told Matthew Leach of MLB.com before Thursday night’s game against the Diamondbacks that “any contract discussions that we have with any player will be done privately, and when we have an announcement, we’ll have an announcement.” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was informed by a team official that a physical has been scheduled. And that Garcia is not hurt.

In other words, it’s probably happening. And an official announcement could be coming soon.

Garcia earned Rookie of the Year votes last season after posting a 2.70 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 163 1/3 innings. He’s done well in his sophomore campaign, too, with a 3.23 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 95/30 K/BB ratio through 111 1/3 frames. But his home-away splits hint at comfortability — and perhaps confidence — issues.

In 155 2/3 career innings at Busch Stadium, the 24-year-old has a 1.73 ERA and has limited opposing hitters to a .553 OPS. In 135 career innings away from Busch, he has a 4.60 ERA and a .756 opponents’ OPS.

Garcia is still a pre-arbitration player, earning $437,000 this season. The new deal, if similar to the terms that Golde is reporting, would cover all three of his arbitration years while also spilling over into free agency.

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.