Aaron Heilman was spotted shaking hands with teammates and cleaning out his locker following yesterday’s game, which jibes with the report from Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona that the Diamondbacks will release the veteran right-hander.
Heilman re-signed with the Diamondbacks for a one-year, $2 million deal in the hopes of snagging a rotation spot after years of relieving, but instead he’s been exclusively a reliever again while posting a 6.88 ERA in 35 innings.
Serving up eight homers in 32 appearances has played a big role in Heilman’s struggles and his velocity is also down this season, but his 33/11 K/BB ratio suggests he can still be effective in a low-leverage role. He may have to work his way back to the majors with a minor-league deal at age 32.
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.