Joe Nathan is feeling better after a “dead arm” period

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After a pair of ugly early season outings Tigers closer Joe Nathan talked last week about going through a “dead arm” phase, but now the 39-year-old is feeling much stronger.

Nathan pitched a scoreless inning Thursday, averaging 92 miles per hour with his fastball, and afterward told Jason Beck of MLB.com that his arm “did feel like it was a lot livelier.”

Four days between appearances probably helped and it’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers and first-year manager Brad Ausmus make a strong effort to limit Nathan’s workload, at least early in the season. They’re paying him $9 million this season and $10 million next season, and as fantastic as Nathan has been 39 years old is still 39 years old.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.