Max Scherzer made his first start in over two weeks on Monday. He was not rusty.
Scherzer held the Marlins to one run over seven brilliant innings, striking out 10 batters while yielding just five hits and two walks. He even managed to hold the scorching-hot Giancarlo Stanton in check, whiffing him twice and getting him to hit into a double play.
Scherzer was coming back from a neck issue that caused him to miss a couple starts and exit another one after only one inning this month. It certainly didn’t hinder him on Monday, though, as he put together his 14th double-digit strikeout game of the season. Even after the DL stint, Scherzer leads the National League in strikeouts by 29 with his 230 punchouts. He could be headed to his second straight NL Cy Young award.
The Nationals also got Jayson Werth back Monday from a nearly three-month long absence from a foot injury, and he provided an immediate impact with a single and a long two-run home run. Manager Dusty Baker figures to give Werth extra days off down the stretch in order to keep the 38-year-old healthy, but the outfielder could still provide some deep league fantasy value.
But wait, I’m not done with the good news for the Nationals.
Baker also announced that Trea Turner will be activated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday after missing two months with a fractured right wrist. The speedster also was sidelined for a couple weeks earlier this season with a hamstring issue, but he still ranks as the No. 5 shortstop in fantasy.
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Judge didn’t start Monday against the Indians and is expected to be on the bench for at least Tuesday’s game, as well. It’s the first day off since August 3 for Judge, who is hitting just .179/.341/.352 so far in the second half.
"I just thought that he's been missing some pitches that he usually was hitting in the first half," Girardi said. "Sometimes just a couple of days away can refresh a guy and get him back on track. It's not what you really want to do. We've tried a lot of other different things and we're going to try this."
Judge is striking out in 35.7 percent of his plate appearances so far in the second half after whiffing in a more digestible 29.8 percent of his plate appearances in the first half. He also has only seven home runs after the break (or one every 26 plate appearances) after slugging 30 before the break (or one every 12.2 plate appearances).
The standard “the league has adjusted to him and now he must adjust back” applies here, but might Judge also be compromised physically?
MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes that Judge "has repeatedly received treatment" on his left shoulder "in recent weeks" and notes that the slugger has been “wearing a heavy ice wrap during some of his postgame interviews.” When asked about the shoulder, Judge has insisted that he’s fine. However, Girardi indicated that that could just be the rookie’s desire to stay on the field for his team even if he’s not 100 percent.
"He never wants to sit," Girardi said. "He's got some of those character traits of (Derek Jeter). You ask him how he is and it's always, 'Good.' Those are things that you have to read through. Maybe being around 2 so often, I learned something."
We might not ever find out how much, if at all, Judge’s shoulder has affected his production. In the meantime, his fantasy owners will hope that this little break can fill up his tank.
Year’s Over for Yoenis
For all intents and purposes, the season has been over for the Mets for a while. It’s now officially over for one of their stars.
Yoenis Cespedes was placed on the disabled list this past weekend after suffering a strained right hamstring last Friday. On Monday, the Mets revealed that they expect the outfielder to need six weeks to recover from the malady. There are only five weeks left in the season.
The injury ends what has been a largely frustrating campaign for the left fielder. Cespedes batted .292/.352/.540, rate stats that largely mirrored what he did last season when he was a Silver Slugger and finished eighth in the National League MVP voting. However, the counting stats were way down as they often are when you play exactly half of the schedule.
Cespedes made a pair of trips to the DL with hamstring issues and missed many more games with nagging leg ailments. He missed a good amount of time last season, too, mostly because of injuries to his lower half. It’s not ideal especially for a guy who will turn 32 in October to be developing constant leg issues, but the Mets can take solace in the fact that Cespedes has been a dynamic player when on the field. He’s hit .287/.342/.537 over the last three seasons.
The Mets also announced that David Wright has been pulled off his rehab assignment after experiencing renewed discomfort in his ailing right shoulder. Wright was hoping to make it back before the end of the season, but now he’ll be re-examined by a doctor later this week in New York and his 2017 campaign is almost surely over.
Wright has played only 75 games since the beginning of 2015 and zero this season due to a potpourri of ailments. The 34-year-old is still owed $37 million from 2018-20 and his career remains very much up in the air at this point.
American League Quick Hits: Jose Ramirez blasted two home runs, drew a walk and stole a base in Monday’s win over the Yankees … Andrew Heaney whiffed a career-high 10 batters across six frames of one-run ball versus the A’s on Monday … Ben Gamel went 2-for-5 with a homer and a career-high five RBI in Monday’s loss to the Orioles … Logan Morrison had a three-run homer and an RBI double as the Rays beat the Royals on Monday … Miguel Cabrera was pulled from Monday's game in Colorado due to lower back tightness. He missed time earlier this month with the same ailment … Mike Trout was not in Monday’s lineup due to a stiff neck, but he’s expected back Tuesday … Corey Kluber struck out seven while yielding two runs over eight frames in Monday’s win over the Yankees … Austin Pruitt pitched one-hit ball over six shutout innings Monday against the Royals … Eduardo Nunez went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, a walk, and two runs scored in Monday’s victory over the Blue Jays … Tigers manager Brad Ausmus suggested Sunday that Victor Martinez (heart) might not return this season … Justin Smoak slugged a two-run homer, drew two walks, and scored two runs Monday against the Red Sox … The Blue Jays designated Nori Aoki for assignment Monday … Rays pitching prospect Brent Honeywell has been suspended four games by Triple-A Durham for disciplinary reasons …
National League Quick Hits: Buster Posey has been diagnosed with a bone bruise and inflammation in his left thumb. He'll sit out a second straight game Tuesday but isn't considered a DL candidate for now … The Dodgers officially announced that Clayton Kershaw (back) will rejoin the rotation Friday in San Diego … Jeff Samardzija struck out five while yielding just three hits and no walks in a shutout versus the Padres on Monday ... Mike Montgomery tossed seven innings of one-run ball in Monday’s victory over the Pirates … Ian Desmond went 2-for-4 with a run scored Monday in his return from the disabled list … Aaron Nola fired seven innings of one-run ball in win over the Braves on Monday … Justin Bour (oblique) took some swinging in a batting cage on Monday and is about a week away from a rehab assignment … The Phillies could activate both Odubel Herrera (hamstring) and Aaron Altherr (hamstring) from the disabled list as soon as Friday … Nick Ahmed’s regular season is over after he suffered a fractured right wrist when he was hit by a pitch during a rehab game with Triple-A Reno on Sunday … Carlos Gonzalez was scratched from Monday's lineup with a sore left ankle … Jonathan Lucroy went 3-for-4 and hit his first homer as a Rockie in Monday’s loss to the Tigers …