Tampa Bay has called up switch-hitting infielder Nick Franklin, whom the Rays acquired from the Mariners on July 31 in the three-team trade revolving around David Price.
Franklin hit just .210 in 27 games at Triple-A following the trade, but he came up with some big hits during the International League playoffs and the out-of-contention Rays will want to get a look at him to evaluate for next season.
Franklin was in line to be the Mariners’ starting second baseman until they signed Robinson Cano for $240 million, at which point they tried him at shortstop and in the outfield before ultimately deciding to ship him to the Rays.
He’s struggled mightily in the majors so far, but Franklin is still just 23 years old, can handle second base defensively and could also potentially be useful at other positions, and has generally hit well at Double-A and Triple-A. Expect him to have a sizable role in Tampa Bay next season.
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.