If the Sox decide to shop relief pitchers, the Dodgers are interested

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers would be interested in a handful of Red Sox relievers should they be made available, including Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop and Craig Breslow.

Not surprising, as the Dodgers have one of the worst bullpens — at least by ERA — so far this season. Relief pitching tends to be the most commonly traded and most commonly sought-after commodity at the deadline, of course, so it’s not like they’ll have the field to themselves. The Tigers, Blue Jays, Angels, Reds and Braves are just some of the many contenders looking to shore up their relief corps this summer.

As for Boston: while trading John Lackey may not seem like a wise idea given that there is every reason to think Boston will contend next year, Uehara, Miller and Badenhop are all potential free agents. And bullpens are a lot easier to rebuild in relatively short order than starting rotations. Dealing one or more of them may be a way for the Sox to turn a lemon of a season into lemonade.

 

Video: Justin Verlander reaches career mark with 270th strikeout

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Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.

Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.

Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.

After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.