Saturday afternoon, Nationals starter Max Scherzer no-hit the Pirates, losing a perfect game with two outs in the ninth when Jose Tabata leaned down to allow himself to get hit in the elbow — in a 6-0 game. The ending aside, it was a dominant performance by Scherzer, who is, improbably, having the best season of his career in the first year of his contract in Washington. 14 starts in, Scherzer has cut his walk rate in half compared to last season, during which he was already clearly an elite pitcher. After today’s ten-strikeout performance, he’s also whiffed 123 batters in 102 1/3 innings. Tabata’s HBP dashed Scherzer’s chances of a perfect game today, but if he keeps pitching this brilliantly, there might be more shots in his future. Here’s more from the East divisions.
- In 2012, the Red Sox made a franchise-changing trade, dealing Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers and freeing up salary in the process. That deal ended up helping them win the 2013 World Series. Now, the 2015 Red Sox look a little bit like the 2012 version, and Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, following up on a column by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, wonders whether they ought to consider dumping players yet again to give themselves more flexibility. Britton suggests, though, that it would be difficult to find a trade partner as perfect for their current situation as the Dodgers (who willingly took on heaps of money to get a good player in Gonzalez) were in 2012. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, meanwhile, is withholding judgment on the new contracts of players like Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. “We’ve had plenty of examples of guys who five or 10 percent of the way through their contracts, there was an adjustment period and they didn’t take off quite yet and then in time they do,” said Cherington earlier this week. “I’m not going to make any judgments on any specific decision or player based on that short amount of time.” Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- Despite his unusual background, former GM Dan Jennings is settling in as the Marlins’ new manager, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. When Jeffrey Loria broached the subject of Jennings taking the managerial job, Jennings had the same reaction as much of the rest of the industry: “Have you lost your mind?” After beginning Jennings’ tenure with five straight losses, the Marlins are 13-12. “It’s starting to normalize. The boys are playing well, and I’m proud of the way we’ve responded,” says Jennings. “I’m having a blast.”
- Acquiring high-upside talent in the draft can be difficult, so the Braves have tried to acquire talented, if tarnished, pitchers in trades, Ray Glier writes for Baseball America. Those include Manny Banuelos, Chris Withrow, Arodys Vizcaino, Max Fried and Tyrell Jenkins, all of whom have had significant injuries. The Braves’ top 2015 draft pick, Kolby Allard, likewise fell to them because of an injury. “Before you know it, the end of 2015 will be here and it will be 2016, and we will have a lot of fresh, healthy pitchers,” says GM John Hart. As Glier notes, sometimes injury recoveries don’t go smoothly. But Hart insists the Braves are being careful. “For every guy we have acquired I can honestly say we have another 10 to 12 we didn’t bite down on because we didn’t get good enough medical information that allowed us to pull the trigger,” Hart says.