Ryan Braun continued to own the Phillies yesterday, hitting a big RBI triple the day after hitting three homers. When he got to third base he made a gesture of sorts. A gesture he claimed was aimed at his dugout but which, I dunno, may have been a taunt of the Philly fans. The 700 Level investigates with video and GIFy evidence.
I’m gonna say it’s a taunt. Partially because Ryan Braun has pretty much forfeited the benefit of the doubt on any subject whatsoever, partially because I really, really want it to have been a taunt. Baseball and its code of professionalism and humility gets so old sometimes. It could use some arrogant villains. Like, real ones, who embrace their unpopularity, not imaginary villains like Puig.
Go full-heel, Ryan. Go full-heel.
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.