San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws against the Colorado Rockies in their Major League Baseball game in Denver

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Giants 4, Rockies 2: Madison Bumgarner took a no-hitter into the sixth, silencing the Rockies bats that rocked Tim Lincecum’s world the night before. That, and some bad defense by Dexter Fowler, prevented Jamie Moyer from becoming the oldest pitcher to ever win a game. Can’t have errors behind the old guy or he’s toast. Why? Because as Jason Giambi said after the game: “He’s not a strikeout pitcher.” To which the interviewer responded thusly.

Cubs 8, Brewers 0: Attention Zack Greinke: you’re doing this whole free agency push thing wrong (3.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER). Matt Garza, in contrast, was masterful (8.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER).  Well, almost masterful.

Nationals 3, Reds 2: The first place Nationals one won (professional writer, folks!) their home opener in front of a sellout crowd. There are, like, three things unusual about that sentence. But which over the next several years will seem pretty normal I reckon. Ryan Zimmerman scored the winning run on an Alfredo Simon wild pitch in the 10th.

Rangers 5, Mariners 3: Michael Young went 3 for 4 and drove in four. Derek Holland struck out eight in seven and a third. The Rangers have gotten a lot of really good starting pitching over the past three games.

Twins 10, Angels 9: The Twins rapped out 20 hits, including homers from Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (who were booed earlier in the game, BTW. What the hell is wrong with you people?). Not that it was an offensive tour de force, as Minnesota stranded a bunch of runners. But that paled compared to the Angels’ bullpen, which gave up 11 hits and seven runs over the last four innings.

Tigers 7, Rays 2: Drew Smyly made his major league debut for the Tigers. It was rough at first — he loaded the bases with no one out to start the game — but wiggled out of it. Still didn’t get the win, though, as he threw 90 pitches over four innings.  It was Brennan Boesch’s birthday, it was his birthday, so he partied like it was his birthday, driving in four.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1: Joe Blanton had no trouble handling the Marlins, giving up one run on three hits in seven innings.

Dodgers 3, Pirates 2: The Dodgers sweep. Third game in a row without Vin Scully, by the way, as he recovers from a bad cold. Which just means that when he comes  back and the Dodgers don’t win the division, I’m going to start claiming that it was because of the curse of Vin Scully. That ought to be popular.

Diamondbacks 3, Padres 1: Ian Kennedy strikes out nine in six innings. A lot of people, myself included, thought that Kennedy would regress some this season. I think what we were forgetting is just how many games he gets to pitch against the Padres each year.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.