Ryan Braun is back in the Brewers’ lineup this afternoon against the Twins after missing two games following another cryotherapy procedure on his right thumb.
Braun initially had the procedure in October, which involves exposing a nerve in his thumb to sub-zero temperatures. This week’s follow-up was essentially pre-planned maintenance aimed at keeping him close to 100 percent as the season moves along. The Brewers were originally hoping that he’d be able to return to the lineup Sunday, so that he’s back sooner than expected is good news about how he’s feeling.
Braun, 31, is batting .258/.332/.489 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI over 52 games this season. He struggled out of the gate, but has hit 11 home runs with a .960 OPS over his last 33 games.
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.