Settling the Scores: Tuesday’s results

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source: AP

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: I don’t believe in “statement games” in baseball because I don’t believe baseball works like that. The season is too long and too random and there are just too many variables involved for any one person, let alone 25 people, to be able to collectively will themselves to a notable victory in some particular, certain terms. When we say such-and-such a game was a “statement game” in the sense that the players actually came out with the specific intent to make a specific statement, we’re grafting post-hoc narrative onto things.

That being said — and at the risk of splitting hairs — I do think we can note when a game, however it was approached by the player or team, did, in fact, make a statement via the results of things. This, it seems to me is one of those games. The statements being made:

  • Zack Greinke is winning the dang Cy Young Award; and
  • The Dodgers, however flawed and injured they may be, ain’t letting the Giants off the mat. Not this year.

Gereinke outdueled Bumgarner, tossing one-run ball into the eighth to Bumgarner’s two-run ball over seven. The Dodgers have won seven of eight and have a five and a half game lead over San Francisco. And, for all of the talk about how Madison Bumgarner is better than Clayton Kershaw in the big games, it’s worth noting that Greinke is 7-0 in seven starts against the Giants since coming to the Dodgers before the 2013 season. That’s not the sort of thing that defines a pitcher or his greatness, but if, like a lot of Giants fan, you think that head-to-head stuff is super important, give credit where it is due.

Sorry for the abbreviated recaps today. Some morning things are happening at Chez Craig. The rest of last night’s results are below. Box scores here.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 4; Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3
Rays 11, Orioles 2
Blue Jays 5, Indians 3
Yankees 3, Red Sox 1
Marlins 7, Braves 1
Phillies 14, Mets 8
Cubs 5, Reds 4
Tigers 6, Royals 5
Brewers 7, Pirates 4
Twins 8, White Sox 6
Mariners 7, Astros 5
Cardinals 8, Nationals 5 — yeah, this will get its own post later.
Angels 6, Athletics 2
Rangers 8, Padres 6

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.