Russell Martin

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 9, Cardinals 0: Two homers for Russell Martin and a strong start from Jeff Locke. The Pirates — the Pittsburgh Pirates — are in first place in the National League Central. This goes with the Royals being in first place in the AL Central. I predicted each of these teams would be better this year. Maybe even surprisingly good compared to usual expectations. But I figured that meant the Pirates finishing a smidge above .500 and the Royals making third place. Second if absolutely everything went right maybe. That may be where each of them end up, but for now they gotta be enjoying the ride.  This was the Pirates’ 15th win. They last won 15 in the month of April in 1992.

Marlins 6, Cubs 4: Giancarlo Stanton hadn’t hit a homer all year until Saturday, then he launched two homers yesterday. He was just giving everyone a head start I guess.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: For years Blue Jays fans — and often Blue Jays employees — whined how it was so darn hard for them to break through in the AL East given the expensive star power the Yankees were able to assemble. Yesterday the star-laden Blue Jays got swept behind homers from Brennan Boesch and Lyle Overbay. What’s the excuse now?

Reds 5, Nationals 2: Once my daughter found some random baseball trivia/facts website for kids and learned about the drop-the-third-strike rule which enables a struck out batter to go to first base. She thought this was quite rare and esoteric and asked me how a pitcher could strike out four batters in one inning, thinking she’d stump me. I gave her a bunch of dumb answers like “the batter distracts the umpire” or “the umpire is cheating” or “gamblers fixed the game.” I pretended to be all exasperated with her and INSISTED that there can’t POSSIBLY be a way for a pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning because EVERYONE knows that there are only three outs in an inning and a strikeout is an out. Later I admitted that I knew the rule and that I was just having fun with her. To this day she thinks I was lying and that I really didn’t know the rule and she’s the one who taught me. Guess I’ll let her have that one. Anyway, Tony Cingrani struck out 11, including four in one inning. Because he was cheating, I assume.

Red Sox 6, Astros 1: John Lackey had one more tuneup against minor leaguers yesterday. Looks like he’ll be set for his return from the disabled list Thursday versus the Twins. He’s really gotta be looking forward to that.

Phillies 5, Mets 1: Carlos Ruiz came back, Ryan Howard — who has driven in ten runs in his past five games — came off the bench to deliver an RBI double and Cole Hamels got his first win of the season as the Phillies sweep the Mets. Hamels walked six dudes and the Mets didn’t really make him pay for it. Man.

Rays 8, White Sox 3: David Price finally gets his first win of the year. And got into a big bunch of controversy with umpire Tom Hallion, too. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that, even if Hallion was 100% in the wrong here, MLB will do nothing to him publicly because, as history has shown us, umps can pretty much get away with murder. In other news, White Sox hitters struck out 12 times in all and Alex Rios allowed two runs to score when a catchable ball doinked off his mitt. Not a great day on the south side.

Dodgers 2, Brewers 0: Clayton Kershaw is a ridiculously good pitcher (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 12K). Carl Crawford joins Russell Martin and Giancarlo Stanton in the two homers on Sunday club.

Padres 6, Giants 4: The reigning world champs are swept by San Diego. It’s the first time the Pads did that in about three years. Chase Headley had three hits including a dinger.

Twins 5, Rangers 0: Kevin Correia shut out the Rangers for eight innings. Just junked ’em to death. It’s the first time Texas has lost two games in a row all year.

Royals 9, Indians 0; Indians 10 Royals 3: According to the AP gamer, this was the first day-night doubleheader in the history of Kauffman Stadium. That’s pretty surprising. Anyway, without looking at the box score for the first game, I’m gonna assume that it was a forfeit. [looks]. OK, wasn’t a forfeit. But I do love how forfeits go in the books as a 9-0 win. I’m sure someone like Neyer or Mark Armour or Bill James or whoever knows why that is, but I don’t. Jeremy Guthrie got the win. He hasn’t had a loss in 16 starts. That’s something.  In the nightcap Mike Aviles had five RBI.  Good for him.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 2: The loss of the game was bad, but the loss of Troy Tulowitzki to a strained shoulder was worse for the Rockies. The Dbacks take three of four and have won five of six overall.

Athletics 9, Orioles 8: Yoenis Cespedes gets activated and then hits a two-run homer to tie it in the ninth inning. In the tenth, Manny Machado — who had four hits on the day, by the way — threw the ball away on a sacrifice attempt, allowing the winning run to score. Welp.

Mariners 2, Angels 1: Jason Bay and Michael Morse homer. And the Angels keep pace with the Blue Jays in the Most Disappointing Team in All of Baseball race.

Tigers 8, Braves 3: What a blah of a series for the Braves. Wait — I think they just struck out again. And … again. God.

 

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.