Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award last season, but he crossed an elusive accomplishment off his list Thursday night. He notched his first career complete game in a 4-0 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
Believe it or not, Scherzer had gone 178 starts in the majors without a complete game, the longest such streak in modern MLB history. Seriously. The 29-year-old finally got it done Thursday by holding the White Sox to three hits and three walks while striking out eight batters. He needed 113 pitches to go the distance for his eighth victory, giving Chicago's ace Chris Sale his first loss of the season in the process.
Scherzer had allowed 20 runs in 26 1/3 innings in his previous four starts, an uncharacteristic rough patch, but Thursday's dominant outing pulled his ERA back down to 3.05 for the year. He's averaging 10.1 K/9 and 2.67 BB/9 through 14 starts, which is pretty close to where he was last year. If he can stay healthy, he'll have a strong case for a $200 million contract as a free agent this winter.
Progress For Lee
Well would you look at that, some actual progress to report in Cliff Lee's recovery from an elbow strain. The veteran southpaw took another small but promising step Thursday afternoon by making 40-45 throws on flat ground. If all goes well, he'll play catch again Friday before ramping up the intensity of his throwing in the early part of next week.
"It's feeling good, progressing, it's getting there," Lee told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. "There's a little tightness, but that's from all the exercises I've been doing. Overall, it feels good."
Lee hasn't pitched since May 18 due to a strained flexor pronator tendon and just resumed playing catch this week. Assuming no setbacks, he expects to progress to bullpen sessions next before pitching in simulated games and possibly a minor league rehab start. While there's no official timetable for him to rejoin the Phillies, that process could take around three weeks, which places his potential return in the early part of July. In addition to being a welcome sight for fantasy owners, it would give the Phillies a couple of weeks to showcase Lee's health and effectiveness leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Planning For Heaney
Do you have Marlins prospect left-hander Andrew Heaney stashed in your fantasy league? Well, listen up. The Marlins have a plan in place which could keep him available if they are still alive as contenders in September. Hey, it's possible.
Heaney was a healthy scratch from his scheduled start yesterday for Triple-A New Orleans. No, he isn't on his way to the majors. Not yet, anyway. However, the Marlins plan to skip him here and there with an eye on limiting his innings. The 23-year-old left-hander threw just 95 1/3 innings in the minors last year due to a lat strain and the plan calls for him to be shut down after 160-170 innings this year. He has already thrown 76 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this year while posting an excellent 2.47 ERA to go along with 79 strikeouts and 15 walks.
I included Heaney in Waiver Wired this week, as we're likely only weeks away from seeing him in the majors. The Marlins clearly believe he's capable of making a big impact this year. Get to know him.
AL Quick Hits: Jose Altuve left Thursday's game against the Diamondbacks after he was hit in the right hand on a bunt attempt, but X-rays came back negative and he's considered day-to-day ... Jacoby Ellsbury left Thursday's game against the Mariners with right hip tightness, which appears to be a lingering injury … Jon Lester's excellent season continued Thursday night, as he allowed two runs (one earned) over 7 2/3 innings in a victory over the Indians … Shane Victorino (hamstring) is likely to begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Pawtucket … CC Sabathia (knee) could throw off a mound when the Yankees return home next week … Colby Rasmus (hamstring) went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk as the DH on Thursday in his first rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo … Stephen Drew (oblique) aggravated his right oblique injury during batting practice on Wednesday, but the Red Sox remain hopeful that he won't have to miss significant time … Chris Carter clubbed a walkoff homer in a win over the Diamondbacks in 10 innings on Thursday … Kevin Gausman handed Mark Buehrle his third loss of the season Thursday by holding the Blue Jays to one run over six innings … Nick Swisher (knee) went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Thursday in his return from the disabled list … Chase Whitley allowed two runs over 7 2/3 innings Thursday in a win over the Mariners and now owns a 2.41 ERA and 24/3 K/BB ratio in 33 2/3 innings over six starts ... Meanwhile, Michael Pineda (shoulder) has yet to resume a throwing program … Michael Saunders was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a right shoulder injury, but expects to resume swinging a bat in a few days … The Mariners called up Jesus Montero from Triple-A Tacoma to replace Saunders on the active roster and plan to use him at DH against left-handed pitching …
NL Quick Hits: Hanley Ramirez didn't play Thursday after getting a cortisone shot in his right shoulder and might have to miss another couple of games … Jonathan Lucroy launched a go-ahead two-run homer in an extra-inning win over the Mets on Thursday … Gerrit Cole (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Thursday … Brandon Phillips left Thursday's game with a sore index finger … Gio Gonzalez (shoulder) allowed one run and struck out seven batters over four innings Thursday in his second rehab start with High-A Potomac and appears on track to rejoin the Nationals next week … Tim Hudson allowed an unearned run over seven innings Thursday in a victory over the Nationals … Charlie Blackmon went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in Thursday's win over the Braves … Pablo Sandoval (illness) went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and a run scored in his return to action Thursday … Alfredo Simon won his ninth game of the season on Thursday after tossing eight innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers … Jhoulys Chacin tossed seven scoreless innings against the Braves on Thursday for his first win of the season … Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said Thursday that Mark Trumbo (foot) is likely three weeks away from baseball activities … Curtis Granderson didn't start Thursday due to left calf soreness, but drew an intentional walk as a pinch-hitter and hopes to miss minimal time … Edinson Volquez fired seven shutout frames in a win over the Cubs … Matt Adams (calf) went 1-for-4 with a single Thursday in another rehab game with Triple-A Memphis and is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday … Mets' closer Jenrry Mejia left Thursday's game against the Brewers with back stiffness … Emilio Bonifacio left Thursday's game against the Pirates with a right rib cage injury and will be evaluated Friday … Eric Young, Jr. (hamstring) began a minor league rehab assignment Thursday and makes for a fine waiver wire target if you need stolen bases in fantasy leagues … A.J. Ellis (ankle) is likely to be activated from the disabled list Friday …
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- Cliff Lee