What we're watching: Rangers run up against King Felix

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– Felix Hernandez will attempt to cool off the Rangers, who have won
seven of their last eight games and have gone 5-0 against the Mariners
this season. He’s 4-9 with a 4.35 ERA lifetime against Texas, but he
did pitch seven scoreless innings in a no-decision versus the Rangers
back on May 14. The Rangers will throw Tommy Hunter, who has given them
two straight positive outings since coming up to replace the injured
Matt Harrison. He’s 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts overall. It
seems like a pretty good guess that Andruw Jones will be in the lineup
tonight, though he was held out of both of King Felix’s previous starts
against the Rangers. He hit three homers last night, giving him five in
his last four games.

– Tim Lincecum can add to his case for starting the All-Star Game
for the NL squad by beating the Padres tonight. However, that’s not
been such an easy assignment for him in the past. Even though he has a
1.43 ERA in 10 starts versus San Diego in his career, he’s just 3-2
against the team. When he faced the Padres on May 21, he allowed one
run in seven innings, only to take a no-decision in a 3-2 loss. On
April 12, he was handed one of his two losses when he gave up four runs
in 5 1/3 innings versus San Diego. Of course, Lincecum is throwing a
whole lot better now than he was then. He’s allowed just one run over
25 innings in his last three starts, all of which were wins. He’s 9-2
with a 2.23 ERA.

Game of the Night

Atlanta vs. Colorado – Who isn’t excited to see Tommy Hanson try to
match Jung Keun Bong? If Hanson wins tonight, he’ll become the first
Braves rookie to start his career 5-0 since the Korean left-hander did
so in 2003. Hanson took a no-decision last time out despite giving up
just one run in seven innings. He has a 0.90 ERA in five starts since
getting roughed up in his major league debut on June 7. Pitching for
Colorado will be ace Aaron Cook, who is already riding a five-game
winning streak. He has a 2.47 ERA in his last nine starts.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.