Minnesota’s chances of getting something for Matt Capps at the trade deadline took a hit yesterday, as the Twins announced that the closer is headed for the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
Capps stayed on the active roster for more than a week while hurt and then looked terrible in one appearance, at which point the Twins finally decided to shut him down.
Left-hander Glen Perkins is the obvious choice to step into the closer role, but yesterday manager Ron Gardenhire turned to right-hander Jared Burton to close out a 4-3 game against a right-handed heavy portion of the Reds’ lineup.
Gardenhire has always preferred a set closer, so it’ll be interesting to see if he continues to use a closer-by-committee approach based on matchups while Capps is out. It’s tough to go wrong with Perkins or Burton considering how well they’ve both pitched in setup roles.
I broke down the Twins’ bullpen situation much further on yesterday’s “Gleeman and The Geek” show.
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.