And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Strasburg walks off.jpgNationals 5, Pirates 2: A star is born.

Giants 3, Reds 0: Not to be a killjoy or anything, but Matt Cain’s game score (76) was one better than Strasburg’s (75). Cain was dancin’ with the Devil, though, recording 16 fly ball outs in a park where you don’t want to be giving up a ton of fly balls.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 0:  And not to be a further killjoy, but Jeff Niemann was better than both Strasburg and Cain, shutting out the bashingest team in baseball on two measly hits.

Mets 2, Padres 1: And while we’re listing outstanding pitching performances, let’s not forget Mike Pelfrey, who went nine and gave up a single
run on five hits. Ike Davis hit a walkoff tater in the 11th too, which means that Strasburg wasn’t the only NL East rookie to have a nice night either.

Phillies 10, Marlins 8: Speaking of NL East rookies, how about Mike Stanton’s big league debut? It was a good one — 3 for 5, all singles and a run scored — but the Marlins’ pitchers and defensive game decided not to show up, basically gifting this game to the Phillies.

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: More great starts! Ted Lilly (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB,
8K, higher game score than Strasburg) and Yovani Gallardo (7 IP, 4 H, 0
ER, 2 BB, 7K). Of course neither of them figured in the decision.

Rangers 7, Mariners 1: King Felix decided that he wasn’t going to be one of those sheeple, mindlessly joining in last night’s pitching party. No, he was his own man: 6 IP, 8 H, 7 ER.  Colby Lewis was game, though (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER).

Twins 7, Royals 3: Hey, yet another kickass pitching performance: Kevin Slowey, seven shutout innings in which he gave up only three hits.  Meanwhile, Zach Greinke joins Felix Hernandez in the non-conformists club (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).  I guess those two are just the toast of 2009 compared to this Strasburg kid.

Dodgers 1, Cardinals 0: I’m struggling to recall a night with more great pitching lines. Let’s add Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Carpenter to the mix: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER 6K for Kuroda, 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 5K for Carpenter.

Athletics 10, Angels 1: The A’s pitching was more of a group effort, with Vin Mazzaro going only five innings and four relievers joining him in collectively allowing one run on eight hits. The real star of the game was Kurt Suzuki, who went 4 for 5 with a homer and four RBI.

Red Sox 3, Indians 2: Tim Wakefield not only baffled the Tribe and got
the win, but he passed up Roger Clemens as the all-time Red Sox innings
pitched leader. Assuming Strasburg stays on regular rest, he gets the
Indians next. For those of you who think he only had a great night
because he faced a crappy lineup in the Pirates, well, you can just go
on thinking it, because there will be no evidence to the contrary
presented for a couple of weeks.

Tigers 7, White Sox 2: Armando Galarraga wasn’t perfect but he was good enough to win, scattering seven hits and two runs over five innings. Matt Thornton imploded for the Sox, giving up five runs on three hits and two walks in a mere third of an inning.

Yankees 12, Orioles 7: The Bombers bash the Orioles into submission, led by a Curtis Granderson grand slam and Nick Swisher’s five RBI night. Chad Gaudin coming in and giving up four runs in garbage time can’t be too comforting, though.

Braves 7, Diamondbacks 5: The Braves should have had a hell of a lot more runs than this, but they stranded 14 runners. Between that and Kris Medlen hurting his non-pitching shoulder while running the bases this could have been a disastrous night. Instead it was merely bad with a silver lining. Medlen should be fine. If he slides like that again, however, he’ll probably be fined until Hell won’t have it.

Astros 4, Rockies 3: Here’s the downside of following the draft: As a Braves fan I remember when they drafted Matt Belisle and I followed his career for a good while. Then he shows up and loses a game like this one and my first thought is “Matt Belisle? He’s got to be 42 years old now.”  He just turned 30.  I invested a lot of time in his development years and I’m not sure what I got out of it besides a misleading impression of the guy’s age.  Sometimes it’s just better to be surprised by some guy who shows up in the big leagues.  Now get off my lawn.

Minor League Baseball established a political action committee to fight paying players more

DURHAM, NC - JULY 28:  The Chicago White Sox play the Most Valuable Prospects during the championship game of the 2011 Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on July 28, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina.  Most Valuable Prospects won 17-2 over the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
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Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.

You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.

The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.

So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.

Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”

Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.

Report: White Sox, Nationals making “strong progress” on a Chris Sale deal

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox deliivers the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.

Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.

The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.

Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.