And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Reds 4, Brewers 3: Bronson Arroyo had a no-hitter through seven and then ended up with a no-decision. Guess that happens when you ask a starter who usually throws less than seven innings a start to go eight, eh?  Still a nice game until that eighth, and a win for the Redlegs.

Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Two games against the their division-leading rivals, two shutouts by the Giants. This one led by Ryan Vogelsong, who blanked L.A. for seven innings, out-pitching Clayton Kershaw. This is NOT the Dodgers team we saw in April and May. They have dropped seven of eight, being outscored 35-13 during that time.

Cubs 5, Mets 3: Anthony Rizzo’s Cubs debut: 2 for 4 with an RBI, with said RBI putting the Cubs ahead to stay in the fourth inning.

Cardinals 5, Marlins 2: Carlos Zambrano has blown up in the past when a fielder makes an error which leads to a big inning. Last night Zambrano made a throwing error in the first that led to five unearned runs. No word on whether he yelled at himself. In other news, Miami is in freefall mode, losers of 17 of their last 20.

Red Sox 5, Blues Jays 1: Aaron Laffey, pressed into service as a starter after spending the last couple of years in the pen, pitched really well, shutting out the Sox over six innings. Then the Jays pen came in and the Sox rallied for five runs in the seventh and eighth innings. That came against the backdrop of an effective Daisuke Matsuzaka start (5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 5K).

Rangers 7, Tigers 5: Yu Darvish struck out ten Tigers in seven innings and won his tenth game. Josh Hamilton homered for the second straight night, so maybe his recent swoon is ending.

Braves 8, Diamondbacks 1: Hudson beats Hudson. Tim over Daniel to be precise. The former cruised for eight innings, giving up a single run. The latter was beaten up for five in an inning and two-thirds before leaving with forearm tightness as the Braves racked up 17 hits against Dbacks pitching.

Angels 7, Orioles 3: Anaheim had 17 hits of their own last night — four of them homers — with everyone in the lineup reaching at least once and six guys having multiple hit nights. Brian Matusz gave up 13 of them in his five innings. The Angels have won 12 of 16 overall and 12 of their last 13 on the road.

Nationals 12, Rockies 5: Pfft, 17 hits? How about 21? Well, 21 may translate to something less than 17 after adjusting for Coors, but it was still quite an offensive eruption for the Nats, especially considering that 11 of them were for extra bases. Including Adam LaRoche, who hit two homers. Ian Desmond added a 4 for 5.

Yankees 6, Indians 4: Phil Hughes is something of an adventure. He pitched eight shutout innings last night after a start in which he gave up six to the Braves last Wednesday. Also an adventure: Cory Wade who allowed four runs to the Tribe in the ninth before Rafael Soriano had to be summoned on a night that didn’t figure to require a save before the ninth inning.

Phillies 5, Pirates 4: Carlos Ruiz had three hits and a homer to raise his average to .361. Man, where would Philly be without him?

Royals 8, Rays 2: A couple of errors by Sean Rodriguez put Chris Archer in the danger zone in the third inning, but Brandon Gomes allowing four runs in a third of an inning later on doomed any chance Tampa Bay had. Bruce Chen, meanwhile, pitched seven effective innings and Jeff Francoeur hit a three-run bomb to put the game out of reach. The Rays have dropped five of seven games.

White Sox 3, Twins 2: Chicago took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth behind Gavin Floyd’s seven shutout innings and Matt Thornton’s one, but then Addison Reed allowed two runs on two hits and a walk. He held on, though. Just wanted to make sure everyone was awake, you know.

Astros 5, Padres 1: Kip Wells got a spot start — his first big league action in years — and, not surprisingly, didn’t do that well (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER and a run-scoring wild pitch).

Mariners 3, Athletics 2: Brendan Ryan hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth. I searched all over this this box score for something else interesting and I swear I couldn’t find anything.

MLB Network airs segment listing “good” and “bad” $100 million-plus contracts

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On Wednesday evening, Charlie Marlow of KTVI FOX 2 News St. Louis posted a couple of screencaps from a segment MLB Network aired about $100 million-plus contracts that have been signed. The list of “bad” contracts, unsurprisingly, is lengthier than the list of “good” contracts.

As Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus pointed out, it is problematic for a network owned by Major League Baseball to air a segment criticizing its employees for making too much seemingly unearned money. There’s a very clear conflict of interest, so one is certainly not getting a fair view of the situation. MLB, of course, can do what it wants with its network, but it can also be criticized. MLB Network would never air a similar segment in which it listed baseball’s “good” and “bad” owners and how much money they’ve undeservedly taken. Nor would MLB Network ever run a segment naming the hundreds of players who are not yet eligible for arbitration whose salaries are decided for them by their teams, often making the major league minimum ($545,000) or just above it. Similarly, MLB Network would also never think of airing a segment in which the pay of minor league players, many of whom make under $10,000 annually, is highlighted.

We’re now past the halfway point in January and many free agents still remain unsigned. It’s unprecedented. A few weeks ago, I looked just at the last handful of years and found that, typically, six or seven of the top 10 free agents signed by the new year. We’re still at two of 10 — same as a few weeks ago — and that’s only if you consider Carlos Santana a top-10 free agent, which is debatable. It’s a complex issue, but part of it certainly is the ubiquity of analytics in front offices, creating homogeneity in thinking. A consequence of that is everyone now being aware that big free agent contracts haven’t panned out well; it’s a topic of conversation that everyone can have and understand now. Back in 2010, I upset a lot of people by suggesting that Ryan Howard’s five-year, $125 million contract with the Phillies wouldn’t pan out well. Those people mostly cited home runs and RBI and got mad when I cited WAR and wOBA and defensive metrics. Now, many of those same people are wary of signing free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer and they now cite WAR, wOBA, and the various defensive metrics.

The public’s hyper-sensitivity to the viability of long-term free agent contracts — thanks in part to segments like the aforementioned — is a really bad trend if you’re a player, agent, or just care about labor in general. The tables have become very much tilted in favor of ownership over labor over the last decade and a half. Nathaniel Grow of FanGraphs pointed out in March 2015 that the players’ share of total league revenues peaked in 2002 at 56 percent, but declined all the way to 38 percent in 2014. The current trend of teams signing their talented players to long-term contract extensions before or during their years of arbitration eligibility — before they have real leverage — as well as teams abstaining from signing free agents will only serve to send that percentage further down.

Craig has written at great length about the rather serious problem the MLBPA has on its hands. Solving this problem won’t be easy and may require the threat of a strike, or actually striking. As Craig mentioned, that would mean getting the players all on the same page on this issue, which would require some work. MLB hasn’t dealt with a strike since 1994 and it’s believed that it caused a serious decline in interest among fans, so it’s certainly something that would get the owners’ attention. The MLBPA may also need to consider replacing union head Tony Clark with someone with a serious labor background. Among the issues the union could focus on during negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement: abolishing the draft and getting rid of the arbitration system. One thing is for sure: the players are not in a good spot now, especially when the league has its own network on which it propagandizes against them.