Fresh off referring to the Yankees as chickens in the New York Post, Frank Francisco was called on to close out Friday’s game. It wasn’t pretty and he didn’t strike out the side like he promised, but he was able to escape a jam to notch his 18th save as the Mets won the first game of the weekend Subway Series by a score of 6-4.
The Mets plated five out of their six runs in the first inning off Andy Pettitte, the big blow of which was a three-run home run by Ike Davis. He actually got a little help from Nick Swisher, as the ball deflected off his glove and over the right field fence as he was attempting to make a leaping catch. Pettitte settled down after the rough first while the Yankees chipped away against Jon Niese and the Mets’ bullpen, getting home runs from Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano.
The man of the hour, Frank Francisco, entered the top of the ninth with a two-run cushion and got Russell Martin to fly out to deep center field for the first out. In typical Francisco fashion, he made things interesting by walking Raul Ibanez and giving up a single to Derek Jeter, but he was able to get Curtis Granderson to strike out looking and induced a pop up from Mark Teixeria to end it. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who had Luis Castillo flashbacks on that last one.
The Mets are now winners of four straight and will enter play tonight at a surprising 39-32, 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals in the National League East.
Your Friday box scores:
Nationals 1, Orioles 2
Tigers 1, Pirates 4
Braves 4, Red Sox 1
Twins 5, Reds 4
Blue Jays 12, Marlins 5
Rockies 1, Rangers 4
Indians 2, Astros 0
Brewers 1, White Sox 0 (10 innings)
Cardinals 11, Royals 4
Dodgers 5, Angels 8
Giants 5, Athletics 4
Mariners 5, Padres 9
Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 6
Rays/Phillies – postponed, doubleheader on Sunday
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.
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.