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Ross' return, Max vs. Mets headline .TV slate

June 16, 2017

It has been a long, frustrating road for Tyson Ross, one that's taken him from an Opening Day start in San Diego at the beginning of the 2016 season to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and a new team in the Rangers.Now, 438 days since that last start, that road takes

It has been a long, frustrating road for Tyson Ross, one that's taken him from an Opening Day start in San Diego at the beginning of the 2016 season to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and a new team in the Rangers.
Now, 438 days since that last start, that road takes Ross to the mound in Texas, where he finally gets to play baseball in the Majors again. He'll face off against James Paxton and the Mariners at 8:05 p.m. ET in a matchup that leads today's slate of games on MLB.TV.
Rangers fans are likely hoping Ross will pitch like the All-Star who compiled a 3.03 ERA and struck out 407 batters over 391 2/3 innings from 2014-15. But given the rough history of thoracic outlet syndrome and Ross' performance during his rehab assignment, expectations should likely be tempered, as the right-hander currently posted a 7.71 ERA across four rehab starts.
The Mariners' starter will be dealing with some injury concerns of his own. Paxton's last two starts have been two of his toughest of the season, a worry given he is only a couple weeks removed from a DL stint with a forearm strain. After starting 2017 with a 1.26 ERA and 51 strikeouts in seven starts, Paxton has yielded seven earned runs over his last starts while walking three in each.

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Here's what else to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):
Scherzer rides again: [email protected], 7:10 p.m
As long as a healthy Clayton Kershaw exists, there will likely never be a safe lead in the NL Cy Young race for another pitcher. And yet, Max Scherzer's current numbers are something to behold as he continues his 2017 campaign against the Mets and Steven Matz.
The Nationals ace currently ranks in the top 2 of National League qualified pitchers in ERA (2.36), FIP (2.82), WHIP (0.85), batting average against (.175), strikeouts (124) and strikeout percentage (35.1). Despite those numbers, Scherzer has allowed a full third (eight out of 24) of his earned runs this season against New York.

On the Mets side, Matz will be trying to show he is indeed at 100 percent for a team that could certainly use some good news after a rough day on Thursday, losing Matt Harvey and Neil Walker for several weeks and pushing back Noah Syndergaard's timetable. Matz was stellar in his season debut after missing the first two months of the season with an elbow injury, going seven innings and allowing one earned run against the Braves.
Newcomer Newcomb follows up his debut: [email protected], 7:35 p.m
Sean Newcomb,'s No. 69 overall prospect, looked sharp in his MLB debut, striking out seven Mets and allowing only an unearned run in 6 1/3 innings on Saturday. Now the hard-throwing southpaw takes on another division rival in the Marlins, who will run out Dan Straily, who has been their most dependable starter.
Originally drafted by the Angels, Newcomb came over to the Braves as the main prize in the Andrelton Simmons deal and has been generally limited in the Minors with command issues since. Between Atlanta and Triple-A Gwinnett, Newcomb has issued 35 free passes in 64 innings this season. Luckily for Newcomb, he faces a Marlins offense that ranks last in the NL in walk rate.

Bats come out in Houston: [email protected], 8:10 p.m
Two of the three best records in the American League kick off a series in Houston as the Red Sox and Astros meet for the first time this season. Their only other regular-season series will come at a season-ending four-game set in Boston.
The Astros still hold the top record in the Majors at 45-22 despite some recent hard times, dropping six in the span of eight games. Both the team and starting pitcher Mike Fiers will be coming off recent bounce-backs though, as the Astros routed the Rangers 13-2 on Wednesday, and Fiers put up a season-high 7 1/3 innings on Saturday while allowing no earned runs for the first time this year.

Boston starter Thomas Pomeranz fell flat his last time out, yielding six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Tigers after going five straight starts without allowing more than two runs.

Jack Baer is a reporter for