Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have talked to the agent for veteran reliever Brad Lidge. We first learned of the club’s interest during last week’s Winter Meetings.
Lidge, who turns 35 next week, didn’t make his first appearance this year until late-July due to arm problems, but ended up posting a 1.40 ERA and 23/13 K/BB ratio over 19 1/3 innings. While his velocity was at a career-low this past season, his slider still proved to be a very effective weapon.
Renck notes that Lidge grew up in the Denver area and still has a home there, so the belief is that he would seriously consider joining the Rockies. Rafael Betancourt is expected to close next season following the recent trade of Huston Street, so Lidge would pitch in a set-up role.
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.