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Max Scherzer
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Baseball Daily Dose

Max Unleashes The Fury, Dominates Reds

by Nathan Grimm
Updated On: June 3, 2019, 2:29 am ET

You don’t earn a nickname like “Mad Max” by being docile.

You earn it mostly because Mel Gibson headlined a movie by the same name and the name Max is rare enough that when a guy is named Max it’s an easy layup. In the case of Scherzer, though, you also earn it because you’ve got a reputation for being fiery on the mound.

That fire was on display again Sunday when the right-hander shouted -- literally -- at Nationals manager Dave Martinez as Martinez approached the mound with two outs in the eighth inning. Scherzer had thrown 117 pitches and with Joey Votto stepping to the plate and a runner on second base, it was reasonable for Martinez to wonder whether his ace had reached the end of the line.

He had not.

Scherzer screamed “No!” as he saw Martinez making his way toward the mound, and after a short discussion he was allowed to stay in to face Votto. Three pitches later, Scherzer had his 15th strikeout of the afternoon, completing eight innings with just one run allowed.

“I wanted to hear it from him,” Martinez said. “We exchanged some non-professional words. I’d rather not say what they were, but I loved it. What can I say about Max, he’s the best.”

With the win, the 34-year-old improved to 3-5 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 117/18 K/BB ratio over 85 1/3 innings of work this year. The quality start was his eighth in a row, and his 15 strikeouts were a season high.

You can’t blame Scherzer for wanting the ball in that spot, either, after he’d been denied a win in each of his previous two outings despite allowing zero runs and one run, respectively. The Nationals’ bullpen woes are a national storyline as well, adding to the reluctance to hand the game over.

As the saying goes, if you want a job done right, well, sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself.

 

Nelson Set For 2019 Debut

Jimmy Nelson has had a long road back to the majors.

He’s getting the green light on Wednesday.

Nelson will be recalled to start for the Brewers on Wednesday in a matchup with the Marlins. He’ll take the spot of Jhoulys Chacin, who hit the injured list Sunday wtih a lower back strain.

For Nelson, it’s a day 21 months in the making. The right-hander suffered a partially torn labrum late in the 2017 season -- a breakout campaign for Nelson, in which he struck out 199 batters with a 3.49 ERA in 175 1/3 innings -- and missed all of 2018 as he recovered from the major surgery.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Nelson was “maybe ready last week” but that the timing works out so that he’ll be meeting a need of the team as well.

“I think we built a solid foundation for him, so he's ready to go," Counsell said. "Jimmy's was not the run-of-the-mill shoulder surgery. It has required some extra work. He has certainly put in the work. Credit to him for that. He has aced that part of it.

“It still took him longer than he would have liked. But that's the way it worked, and that's the way he healed. I don't think we've slow-played it all; I don't think we've rushed it at all. This is when he's ready to pitch. He's ready.”

In 24 innings of work at Triple-A San Antonio, the 29-year-old has a 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 29 strikeouts with 12 walks. Most recently, against Memphis on Wednesday, Nelson struck out seven and allowed only an unearned run over five innings of work.

Normally a wait-and-see approach would be advisable for a pitcher like Nelson making his first start in more than a year, but the Marlins, despite playing better in recent days, don’t offer much in the way of competition. Those looking for a spot to take a shot should consider rolling with the right-hander in his debut.

Editor’s Note: Stay ahead of the competition from wire to wire with rankings, customizable projections, trade evaluator, exclusive columns and more in our Season Pass. And start using optimized lineups on Yahoo!, DraftKings and FanDuel with our DFS Toolkit!.

 

Giolito Finds Another Gem

The Lucas Giolito resurrection tour rolls on.

Presumed dead, metaphorically, as recently as last year, Giolito turned in another brilliant outing Sunday, blanking the Indians over 7 1/3 innings while striking out nine. The right-hander now owns a 14 1/3-inning scoreless streak to lower his ERA to 2.54.

“I feel pretty good,” he said after the outing. “(Sunday) was another good one. I’m doing a pretty good job of getting ahead of guys, filling up the zone (and) being aggressive in the strike zone.”

The 24-year-old was 5-0 with a 1.74 ERA in the month of May and started off June on a similar note, scattering five hits over his 7 1/3 innings. Despite his team’s record being a game below .500, Giolito is 8-1 overall.

It’s quite a departure from 2018, when the right-hander posted a 6.13 ERA in 32 starts. Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that Giolito was headlining the White Sox return for coveted outfielder Adam Eaton, so this star turn isn’t a complete shock, either.

“These last six or seven starts, he’s really been on the offensive and making the hitters feel like they have their backs against the wall,” catcher James McCann said. “When you’re locating stuff, it makes it a game of chess and you just make your move.”

 

National League Quick Hits: Fernando Tatis Jr. (hamstring) will begin his minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Amarillo on Monday. It's not yet known how many minor league rehab games he'll require before he's deemed ready to rejoin the Padres. The 20-year-old phenom was hitting .300/.360/.550 with six homers, 13 RBI and six stolen bases in his first 27 big league games before landing on the injured list on April 29. … X-rays revealed that Mike Moustakas has a fractured right ring finger. Moustakas suffered the injury after being hit in the right hand by a 101 mph fastball from Felipe Vazquez on Saturday. He will evidently avoid the injured list for now, though. We’ll see … Charlie Blackmon (calf) will not be activated from the injured list on Tuesday when he's first eligible. Blackmon is coming along nicely in his recovery from a strained right calf, but he will need a rehab assignment before returning to the Rockies' active roster. That rehab assignment seems like it will come soon, although the team hasn't revealed any plans. … Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Sunday that it's conceivable David Peralta (shoulder) could be activated from the injured list Monday. The skipper added that they will not rush the outfielder, so it doesn't sound like Monday is a given. Peralta has been on the shelf for the last couple weeks with AC joint inflammation in his right shoulder. … When asked Sunday whether Alex Reyes could rejoin the rotation next weekend, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Sunday that he "wouldn't rule it out." Reyes got knocked around in his Triple-A Memphis start on Sunday, muddying the waters, but it’s still possible he’s recalled for the weekend. Genesis Cabrera will start for the Cards on Tuesday and is spot will come up again next Sunday, but that outing could go to Reyes. The 24-year-old really struggled in a relief role earlier this season in St. Louis and has been up and down in the minors, but he's pitched well lately and his upside warrants a stash in fantasy leagues. … Phillies acquired OF/1B Jay Bruce from the Mariners for INF Jake Scheiner and cash considerations. The Mariners will receive around $18 million to cover the majority of the $21.6 million that's owed on Bruce's contract through the end of the 2020 season. The 32-year-old slugger will join his new club in San Diego on Monday where he's expected to see the bulk of the action in left field against right-handed pitching. With an improved supporting cast and home ballpark, his fantasy value gets a nice bump as long as he sees everyday at-bats. ... Rich Hill threw seven scoreless innings, striking out nine, as the Dodgers shut out the Phillies 8-0 on Sunday. He has yet to allow more than three earned runs in seven starts, owning a 2.25 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 46/9 K/BB ratio across 40 innings of work. … Nick Pivetta struck out nine while scattering three hits over six scoreless innings in a no-decision Sunday against the Dodgers. If you're inclined to pick him up off the scrap heap or try to buy low, now might be a good time. … Merrill Kelly struck out a career-high 10 batters over 7 2/3 innings, allowing a lone run, in the Diamondbacks' 7-1 win over the Mets on Sunday. It's been a bit of a roller coaster for the 30-year-old in his first go-round back in the States, and through 12 starts he owns a 4.41 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. He's an interesting player but a tough one to trust for fantasy purposes, and it's probably best to wait and see how he fares Saturday against the Blue Jays in Toronto before considering him as a possible pickup. … Nolan Arenado went 2-for-4 with a solo homer to power the Rockies to a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday. Arenado wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 13 games with a single to left field in the opening frame. The 28-year-old third baseman has been one of the most consistent fantasy producers over the last decade and owns a surreal .345/.395/.638 triple-slash line with 47 runs scored and 52 RBI across 256 plate appearances this season. … Brandon Crawford went 2-for-5 with a pair of solo home runs in Sunday's 8-1 win over the Orioles. As nice as this performance might have been, it only serves as a temporary balm on what's been a trying campaign for the shortstop. Through 57 games played, Crawford is hitting just .214/.285/.333 with five home runs and 18 RBI. … Justin Turner (hamstring) is expected to return to the Dodgers' lineup Monday. Sunday was the fourth game in a row that he's missed with a right hamstring issue, but Turner is doing much better and poised to return Monday.

 

American League Quick Hits: Yankees activated LHP CC Sabathia from the 10-day injured list. Sabathia rejoined the rotation Sunday night against the Red Sox following a minimum IL stay due to a recurring left knee issue. He pitched well, too, striking out eight while allowing three runs over six innings of work. … Twins activated C Mitch Garver from the 10-day injured list. Garver missed two and a half weeks with a sprained left ankle but got through three rehab games with no issues. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in Sunday’s win over the Rays. … Rays activated INF Yandy Diaz from the 10-day injured list. Diaz was still feeling some pain in his left hand while swinging a bat as of a couple days ago, but evidently he's well enough to give it a go. Nate Lowe was sent back down in a corresponding move. … Rangers placed OF Joey Gallo on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain. Gallo tweaked his oblique during a plate appearance Saturday. The team hasn't revealed the grade of the strain, so it's unclear at this point how much time he might miss. It surely will be longer than a minimum stay on the injured list, though. Danny Santana should get the first shot to replace Gallo in center field. … Yoan Moncada is not in the White Sox' lineup due to leg soreness. Manager Rick Renteria didn't offer additional details other than to say it's not a serious injury. Jose Rondon covered third base Sunday. … Jake Odorizzi struck out nine across six scoreless innings in Sunday's 9-7 win over the Rays. With this one in the books, the right-hander lowered his ERA to 1.96 and his WHIP to 0.96. He owns a 70/21 K/BB ratio (64 1/3 innings) in addition. A road start against the Tigers shows next on Odorizzi's schedule as he looks to keep his charmed season going. … Adrian Sampson struck out a career-high 11 batters over seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Royals on Sunday. Sampson easily eclipsed his previous career-high of six strikeouts, a feat he had accomplished twice in his 19 appearances (10 starts) since 2016. He'll carry a 4.14 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 46/13 K/BB ratio into his next start against the Athletics on Saturday. He's worthy of a speculative pickup in deeper formats, but he needs to sustain these recent gains in the strikeout department to be a viable mixed league asset moving forward. … Myles Straw had a big day Sunday, finishing 3-for-4 with three stolen bases and three runs scored to help the Astros edge the Athletics 6-4 in 12 innings. The 24-year-old has speed to burn and could put it to use if given some regular playing time, but that's a tall order on a loaded Astros club, and it's hard to see him getting to the point of being fantasy relevant outside of AL-only leagues at the moment.