Corey Hart, Prince Fielder

NLDS Diamondbacks-Brewers Game 1 Live Blog

73 Comments

4:52: Game of the NLDS is in the books, as the Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 4-1. John Axford pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to notch the save.

The series will resume tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET when Daniel Hudson pitches against Zack Greinke.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for a recap. Enjoy the rest of the games on the schedule for this evening.

4:43: And off we go to the top of the ninth. John Axford is indeed coming in to close this one out. The Diamondbacks have Aaron Hill, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero due up.

4:35: Gallardo followed the solo blast by Roberts by striking out three straight batters to end the top of the eighth. He’s at 106 pitches, so we’ll likely see John Axford in the top of the ninth.

Gallardo allowed just one run on four hits (including the homer by Roberts) while striking out nine and walking just one.

4:28: The Diamondbacks are finally on the board here in the top of the eighth, as Ryan Roberts just went deep to straight away center field to cut the lead to 4-1.

4:19: Well, the Brewers have some insurance. Prince Fielder just slugged a two-run homer off Ian Kennedy in the bottom of the seventh to give the Brewers a 4-0 lead. It followed a two-out double by Ryan Braun. Probably not smart to pitch to Prince with first base open.

Ian Kennedy is now done for the day after throwing 111 pitches. He allowed four runs on eight hits (including the homer by Fielder) over 6 2/3 innings while striking out three and walking one.

4:10: Make that seven scoreless frames for Gallardo. Nyjer Morgan made an excellent running catch to end the inning, eventually running into the center field wall.

Gallardo has only thrown 87 pitches. He’s really rolling right now, so one would think he’ll at least be back out there for the eighth.

4:05: Yuniesky Betancourt just almost killed Ryan Braun. OK, not really, but they did have a minor collision as Betancourt snagged a pop-fly in shallow left field. Everybody is OK, though.

4:00: Gallardo grounds into a fielder’s choice to end the bottom of the sixth, but he now has himself a 2-0 lead going into the top of the seventh.

Gallardo has only thrown 75 pitches so far this afternoon.

3:59: Jonathan Lucroy dumps one in short left field for a single to drive in Betancourt and give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

3:56: Yuniesky Betancourt hits a two-out triple to keep the bottom of the sixth alive. Gerardo Parra had trouble tracking down the ball after it kicked off the wall in left. The Brewers need to cash this one in.

3:50: Gallardo works around a single by Willie Bloomquist to get out of the sixth. For some reason, Justin Upton dove head first into first base while trying to beat out a ground ball for the final out of the inning. Pretty positive he would have made it if he kept his stride. Oh well.

3:42: And so much for that. Fielder lines out to left for the final out of the inning. Another missed opportunity. Still 1-0 Brewers as we move to the sixth.

3:39: Braun with a broken-bat single to left. The Brewers have runners on first and second with two outs for Prince Fielder.

3:37: Kennedy hits Nyjer Morgan in the leg by a pitch with two outs. Obviously no intent there. Here comes Ryan Braun.

3:30: Gallardo just needed seven pitches to set the Diamondbacks aside. It’s 1-0 Brewers moving to the bottom of the fifth.

3:26: Ian Kennedy was able to get a couple ground balls from Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy to end the inning. He’s actually pretty fortunate to walk away with only one run scoring considering the bases were loaded with nobody out. Yovani Gallardo is dealing right now, but this could come back to bite them.

3:22: Jerry Hairston Jr. drives in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly on the first pitch.

3:21: Rickie Weeks is hit by the pitch. And the crowd boos. Yeah, because Ian Kennedy really wants to hit somebody right now. Sigh. Bases loaded for Hairston.

3:20: Prince Fielder takes advantage of the shift for a double down the left field line. Runners on second and third for Rickie Weeks now. None out.

3:19: Ryan Braun rips a leadoff single into left field. Table set for Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks.

3:13: Gets Chris Young swinging for the final out. Gallardo now has five strikeouts over four scoreless innings. We’re moving to the bottom of the fourth in Milwaukee.

3:10: Miguel Montero sends one to the warning track in right-center field for the second out of the inning. Hill still on first base.

3:06: Leadoff walk for Aaron Hill on a very, very close pitch. Didn’t swing, either.

3:01: This probably isn’t the case, but it sort of sounded like Nyjer Morgan has the X-Files theme for his at-bat music. Wouldn’t be that surprising, I suppose. Anyway, he goes down looking for the third out. We’re scoreless through three innings.

3:00: Gallardo pops up the first pitch, which is a shame, because he’s one of my favorite hitting pitchers. Some others? Mike Leake, Dontrelle Willis, Livan Hernandez. Any other good ones I’m missing?

2:56: And Gallardo sits them down in order. We’re still scoreless going into the bottom of the third.

2:53: And now Ian Kennedy goes down looking. Three Ks for Gallardo through the first nine batters.

2:49: Parra goes down looking for the first out. I’d still rather have him leading off than Bloomquist, though.

2:46: Lucroy flies out to left for the final out in the bottom of the second inning. A missed opportunity, as they leave two runners on and do not score.

On the bright side for the Brewers, they made Kennedy threw 27 pitches. He’s at 39 pitches through two innings.

2:42: Hairston reaches on a hard-hit infield single after a long at-bat. Ryan Roberts couldn’t quite get the handle, but he at least prevented the ball from going down the third base line.

2:37: Ian Kennedy walks Rickie Weeks for the first Brewers’ baserunner of the game. Ron Kulpa gave him the outside corner on Fielder, but he just missed this time.

2:32: These constant “Big Bang Theory” promos almost make me long for the days of Frank Caliendo. Almost.

2:30: Overbay goes down swinging for the second out while Ryan Roberts flies out to right for the final out of the top of the second.

By the way, did you happen to notice Gallardo’s final three starts this season? 12Ks, 13Ks, 11Ks. Ridiculous.

2:26: Not sure how accurate this pitch tracker is on TBS, but I’m enjoying it so far. Not too distracting.

2:22: Ian Kennedy shuts the Brewers down in order in the bottom of the first.

2:16: No score as we move to the bottom of the first. The remarkable part about that first inning was how the announcers talked about swinging at first pitches as if that is a good thing. OK.

2:12: Single to left by Justin Upton, but Bloomquist is gunned down at the plate by Ryan Braun. And it wasn’t all that close.

2:11: Bloomquist now steals second base. The Diamondbacks have a runner in scoring position with one out.

2:08: Well, he made me shut up rather quickly. Single of the first pitch of the ballgame.

2:07: Wow, nothing quite like Willie Bloomquist and his .317 career on-base percentage leading off a playoff game.

2:00 PM ET: The American League began postseason play yesterday (though not completely, thanks to the suspended game in New York), but now it’s the National League’s turn, as the Diamondbacks and Brewers will play Game 1 of the NLDS.

Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA) is on the hill for the D-Backs while Yovani Gallardo (17-10) will get the call for the Brewers.

I’ll be dropping some of my random thoughts and observations here throughout the ballgame. Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section.

Looking for lineups? We have you covered right here.

Adams homers in 16th to lift Cardinals over Dodgers 4-3

adams
Getty Images
3 Comments

ST. LOUIS — Matt Adams homered in the 16th inning to lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night for St. Louis’ season-best fifth straight victory.

It was the second consecutive game that the Cardinals won in their final at-bat. They beat the Padres on Thursday after scoring a run in the ninth inning.

Adams homer came with one out off Bud Norris (5-9), who gave up six runs as a starter in an 8-1 loss at Washington on Wednesday.

Seth Maness (1-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief for St. Louis, which was playing its longest game of the season.

Jedd Gyorko hit a two-out homer off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth to tie the game 3-3.

Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick homered for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has lost four of six. The red-hot Turner has seven homers and 17 RBI this month. He hit two homers in a 6-3 win over Washington on Thursday.

Turner blasted his career-high 18th homer of the season off Seung Hwan Oh in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.

Corey Seager had four hits and drove in the first run of the game. He had hit in seven successive at-bats before flying out in the ninth.

Kendrick’s solo shot in the sixth tied the game 2-2. He has hit in 14 successive games trying Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the longest current streak in the majors.

Los Angeles starter Brandon McCarthy allowed one hit and two runs over 6 1-3 innings, the longest of his four starts this season. He left with leg cramps. McCarthy struck out four and walked three.

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha allowed two runs on 10 hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore recorded his 28th successive scoreless outing by retiring two of four batters in the seventh. He has not allowed a run in 41 of 42 appearances this season.

Minor League Players’ Wage Suit against Major League Baseball suffers a huge setback

The judge's gavel is seen in court room 422 of the New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street February 3, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East
11 Comments

A judge handed minor leaguers looking to hold Major League Baseball liable for underpaying and exploiting them a huge setback today, ruling that the case cannot go forward as a class action. Minor leaguers who want to sue over their pay and treatment still can, but they’ll have to do it individually. The ruling saps the minor leaguers of their leverage, as Major League Baseball would likely be able to fend off individual cases which, by themselves, might only amount to several thousand dollars per claim.

The background: in 2014, former Miami Marlins player Aaron Senne sued Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, and three major league clubs claiming that minor leaguers are underpaid and exploited in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. He was later joined by former Royals minor leaguer Michael Liberto and Giants farmhand Oliver Odle. Eventually others joined and the suit had been expanded to 22 teams as defendants.

The upshot of the case is that, while the minor league season lasts only part of the year, players are required to do all sorts of things outside of merely playing games for which they are not compensated. Training, meetings, appearances and the like. When all of that time is added up, the players claim, their already low salaries are effectively far below minimum wage in violation of the law. Major League Baseball has countered this by claiming that minor leaguers are basically part time seasonal workers — like landscapers and pool boys — who are not subject to federal labor laws.

Last year the judge gave the case conditional certification, allowing the players to try to establish that it should go forward as a class action. This would streamline the case from the plaintiffs’ perspective and give them the power of collective action by asserting hundreds or more similar cases into one proceeding. The judge’s ruling today, however, was that the cases really weren’t factually similar and thus collective action was not appropriate because figuring out how many hours each player worked and what was required of him varied too greatly among the players.

From his order:

“The difficulties associated with determining what activities constitute ‘work’ in the context of winter training are compounded by the fact that there appear to be no official records documenting these activities. Because it may be impossible to determine from official records the types of conditioning activities in which the players engaged, membership in the state classes based on winter training would depend largely upon the players’ ability to remember, with a reasonable amount of detail, what they did during the off-season (often for multiple years and for many, several years in the past) to stay fit.”

The judge said that, in light of this, each case would be unique and would require “individualized inquiries” to find damages and liability. That phrase –“individualized inquiries” — constitutes magic words which sink would-be class actions. If a company overcharges all of its customers by $8 due to an error repeated a million times, it’s easy to look at one set of facts and judge them together. If you had to look at a million different wrongs, that’s no class action. And so it is not a class action for the players.

As many courts who have dealt with these sorts of cases have noted, for many plaintiffs, a class action is the only practical method of adjudicating Fair Labor Standards Act cases because individual plaintiffs are frequently unable to bear the costs of separate trials. They are, by definition, (allegedly) exploited workers. They’re not going to be able to pay legal costs and fight off a multi-billion dollar business in order to collect the few thousand dollars they were underpaid. At the same time, however, the defendants have rights too and, if the facts of each players’ treatment truly differ (e.g. the Yankees make their minor leaguers do more than the Brewers do) it’s not fair to bind one defendant’s defense to the acts of another.

So, where does this leave the players? Not dead. Not yet, at least. Their claims have not been dismissed on the merits. They have only been denied the right to act collectively. The individual plaintiffs can now file separate lawsuits against their former employers and Major League Baseball under the same theories. It would be harder to land a big blow in such a scenario, but if enough do, it could end up being death by a thousand cuts for the clubs and the league. Their legal fees might go up and, eventually, if they lose enough of these cases, more might be filed. There are a lot of former minor leaguers, after all, and once there’s some blood in the water, more of them — and their lawyers — may enter the frenzy. Decertification is certainly a win for the league right now, but it’s not necessarily a permanent win.

There are likewise some other quasi-collective forms this case could take such as multi-district litigation in which the cases, while individual, are coordinated in a loose fashion. That could lead to some efficiencies for suing players even if it’s not as robust as a class action.

We’ve written quite a bit about minor league pay and treatment in this space by now, so you probably know where we stand on it. We believe that minor leaguers are exploited and underpaid and we believe that Major League Baseball has been happy to exploit and underpay them for some time. Ultimately we believe that this state of affairs cannot and will not persist and that eventually, somehow, baseball will either see fit to pay its workers fairly or, more likely, will be forced to do so by a court or by collective bargaining of some fashion.

Today, however, was a big setback for the minor leaguers. Today’s ruling will give Major League Baseball and its clubs more time and more comfort in which to underpay them. There’s no doubt about it.