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Kendrys Morales homers in seventh consecutive game

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Blue Jays 1B/DH Kendrys Morales drilled a two-run home run off of Phillies starter Vince Velasquez in the third inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Toronto. It’s the seventh consecutive game in which he has homered, setting a new Blue Jays franchise record, surpassing the previous record of six held by Jose Cruz, Jr. If he homers again on Monday, when the Jays open up a three-game road series against the Orioles, Morales will match the major league record shared by Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993), Don Mattingly (1987), and Dale Long (1956).

Morales finished Sunday 1-for-3 with t he homer and a walk in Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Phillies. He is now hitting .264/.343/.484 with 21 home runs, 53 RBI, and 43 runs scored in 397 plate appearances this season.

The 35-year-old Morales is under contract with the Jays for one more year, earning $12 million in 2019.

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.