Matt Garza “is bracing for a trade” before July 31

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I speculated Monday that the sudden influx of “Matt Garza and the Cubs have talked contract extension” reports were mostly the Cubs attempting to use the media to generate some negotiating leverage for an inevitable trade.

Garza was asked about the situation and pegged the chances of agreeing to an extension at “50-50” but according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com: “Privately, Garza is bracing for a trade and expects to be in a new city soon, perhaps well in advance of the July 31 non-waiver deadline.”

Garza’s elbow problems had the potential to wreck his trade value, but since returning from the disabled list he’s gone 5-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 10 starts, including 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA in his last 37 innings.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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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.