Tigers, Braves discussing trade involving Derek Lowe?

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The Braves have a six-game lead in the National League Wild Card and trail the Phillies by only three games in the National League East, but they may be open to dealing a prominent member of their starting rotation before the July 31 trade deadline.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Tigers have approached the Braves about acquiring veteran right-hander Derek Lowe. And Atlanta’s front office may be ready to listen.

The Braves have one of the top rotations in the majors and possess great pitching depth in the minor leagues. They can get rid of Lowe, who has registered an underwhelming 4.30 ERA in 20 starts this season, and get equal — if not better — production from Julio Teheran or Mike Minor down the stretch.

Atlanta’s preference is to acquire a major league-ready right-hitting outfielder by the deadline, but Morosi says the organization may be content with dumping salary and netting young talent in a deal involving Lowe.

Lowe, 38, is making a whopping $15 million this season and is owed another $15 million in 2012.

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.