Good night, Jose Valverde. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Mostly for opposing hitters:
This was inevitable. Valverde appeared in 20 games this season. His ERA is sitting at 5.59. He’s got nine saves but three blown saves and two day ago he was lit up like a pinball machine while doing mopup duty in a loss to the Orioles. Jim Leyland had clearly lost confidence in him. Heck, he only turned to him in the first place out of desperation.
It’s hard to see anyone wanting to take a chance on Papa Grande at this point. My guess is that he’ll be released outright by the Tigers in a few days and, at best, get a minor league deal from someone desperate for a live arm. A live arm which throws laser-straight fastballs and walks dudes at the worst possible time.
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.