It wasn’t quite a near no-hitter, but Max Scherzer became the first pitcher this season to strike out 15 batters Sunday in a victory over the Pirates.
Scherzer allowed two runs in seven innings in the game. Tigers pitchers struck out 17 in all.
This year’s previous high strikeout game belonged to Anibal Sanchez, who fanned 14 Diamondbacks on April 28.
It was the high game for a Tigers pitcher since Mickey Lolich struck out 15 Red Sox on Oct. 2, 1972.
Scherzer joined Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg in striking out a dozen Pirates. Three of this season’s nine 12-strikeout games have come against Pittsburgh.
Scherzer improved to 3-3 with the victory and lowered his ERA to 5.73. He has four games of nine or more strikeouts this year, but he’s also given up at least five runs on three occasions.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.