We first heard whispers of this in early November, but ESPN Deportes is reporting that, yes, Javier Vazquez is considering a comeback. The report — roughly translated, since we have misplaced our babelfish — says that Vazquez is interested in pitching for a contender this season, but doesn’t plan on making any decisions until after the World Baseball Classic.
Given the kind of scratch pitchers are making these days, and given that Vazuqez left the game following the 2011 season in fine form (13-11, 3.69 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 162/50 K/BB ratio in 192.2 innings), you have to figure that he would draw considerable interest should he decide to give it a whirl.
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.