Based on their records it’s tough to tell which team is the buyer and which team is the seller here, but the 57-59 Red Sox have traded catcher Kelly Shoppach to the 55-60 Mets for a player to be named later.
Shoppach is an impending free agent, so the Mets are apparently picking him up in the hopes he can help them close what is a 9.5-game deficit for the Wild Card. Or something.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are parting with Shoppach because they have minor leaguer Ryan Lavarnway waiting in the wings to fill the “part-time catcher who crushes left-handed pitching” role as the backup for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Shoppach was a nice offseason pickup for the Red Sox, hitting .250 with five homers and a .798 OPS in 48 games after signing a one-year, $1.35 million deal as a free agent. He’ll split time with the left-handed-hitting Josh Thole in New York.
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.