Matt Purke, who turned down signing with the Rangers as a first-round draft pick in 2009 and then got a $4 million big-league contract to sign with the Nationals as a third-round draft pick in 2011, needs Tommy John elbow surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.
Purke was initially drafted 14th overall after a standout college career at TCU, but he’s been limited to just 136 career innings due to injuries. Before being shut down this year he had an 8.04 ERA and 22/18 K/BB ratio in 31 innings at Double-A as a 23-year-old, and because of the MLB contract he received Purke will be out of minor-league options by the time he returns from surgery.
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.