Bryce Harper, Nick Hundley, Larry Vanover

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 8, Padres 5: Bryce Harper golfed one more than 400 feet to straightaway center for his first ever major league homer. He also struck out on four pitches to Joe Thatcher and launched a really loud f-bomb. I love him for both reasons, frankly. And I love how the back end of the Nats bullpen continues to struggle. Henry Rodriguez came in with a three-run lead in the ninth and walked the bases loaded. Sean Burnett came in and induced a 1-2-3 double play to end it, but man, Davey has to figure out what to do about Rodriguez. Guy throws a billion miles per hour but he has no idea where it’s going half the time.

Reds 3, Braves 1: Jonny Venters: a lot closer to mortal this year than last. Brandon Phillips knocked a double off him as the Reds plated two in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie. Then Chris Heisey drove in Phillips with a double of his own. I was blacked out from watching this one and didn’t know what was going on until the ninth when I saw on the scoreboard that Livan Hernandez entered the game. He’s the Braves’ living white flag.

Rays 7, Blues Jays 1: Good news: the Rays win. Bad news: Jeff Niemann was knocked out in the first inning after taking a grounder to his ankle. Cesar Ramos and the bullpen brigade came to the rescue.

Mets 3, Brewers 1: Milwaukee mustered only four hits off Miguel Batista, who threw seven shutout innings. No offense to Batista, but the Brewers need to take a long look in the mirror after getting stifled like that by a pitcher like that.

Red Sox 6, Mariners 1: Jon Lester pitched a complete game, allowing only one run. Four in a row for Boston.

Pirates 3, Marlins 2: My daddy said “son you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t start games with old Brad Lincoln.” Um, let’s forget I said that. Anyway: Lincoln allowed two runs in six innings after switching from starting to the pen.

Phillies 5, Astros 1: Placido Polanco is in a season-long funk, but a homer gave him his 2000th career hit. One of the more under-the-radar 2000-hit players in big league history, I’d reckon. Joe Blanton continues his nice recent work, allowing one run on six hits in seven innings.

Indians 5, Twins 4: Jeanmar Gomez pitched seven strong innings but his bullpen betrayed him. Shin-Soo Choo came through in the ninth with the go-ahead single.

Cubs 6, Cardinals 4: The Cards have cooled off big time, dropping their fourth straight. The Cubs finally scored some runs in a Ryan Dempster start, but not all when he was in the game. Meanwhile Dempster himself allowed four. Bryan LaHair went 3 for 4 and hit a two-run homer.

Royals 3, Rangers 1: Bruce Chen and four relievers douse the scorching Rangers lineup. A Nelson Cruz homer was all that was doin’ for Texas.

Yankees 8, Orioles 5: Ivan Nova was first ineffective and then injured, spraining his right ankle while fielding a tapper back to the mound. the Yankees pen hurled three and two-thirds innings of shutout ball, however, while a Mark Teixeira homer led the late Yankees charge. A-Rod, Robinson Cano and Teixeira were a combined 7 for 14 with two RBI and seven runs scored. That’s the sort of middle-of-the-order production New York hadn’t been getting in the early going.

White Sox 7, Tigers 5: Detroit had a 5-2 lead but then starter Drew Smyly ran out of gas and reliever Luke Putkonen — who if you asked me before I saw this box score, I would have said wasn’t a real person — unraveled. Detroit is now under .500. Dayan Vicido drove in four on a two-run homer and a two-run single. Adam Dunn homered again too and is slugging over .600 on the season.

Giants 3, Rockies 2:  Buster Posey and Brett Pill RBI singles in the eighth bring the Giants back after Christian Friedrich shut them down bigtime in his seven innings, in which he struck out ten.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: No Matt Kemp? No problem, as with Clayton all things are possible (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

Athletics 5, Angels 0: Anaheim’s nightmare season continues, as Tyson Ross shuts them out for six and the pen shuts them out for three. Oakland has won eight of 12.

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.