Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 4, Rays 2: Chris Davis homers again. Number 46 on the year. He’s four short of the all-time Orioles record. He tied Rafael Palmiero for the most home homers in Orioles history with 25. Tommy Hunter got the save, as it does appear that Buck Showalter is gonna go with the hot hand now. Or, at the very least, avoid Jim Johnson.

Braves 4, Mets 1: Three run homers in the tenth inning are great. Blown calls at first base that allow those three run homers to happen instead of the third out of the inning being properly recorded are not so great. I’ll get over this one and won’t renounce the win because that would be silly, but yeah, this game woulda been very different if it were the Replay Era.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 2: Hit number 4,000 for Ichiro between the U.S. and Japan. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’d be pushing that mark if he had spent his whole career here too. Such a unique talent. Alfonso Soriano — who also spent some time in Japan — hit the tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. The Yankees still have to climb over three teams, but they are only four back in the wild card.

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Brendan Ryan got to play and had two hits and drove in three runs. GIven how awesome his glove is it’s sad that he doesn’t hit better so he can hang around longer and get more PT.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 6: Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig homers and four relievers help bail out the redbirds after Jake Westbrook couldn’t make it out of the fifth. Westbrook did hit a bases-loaded double THHOC, however.

Red Sox 12, Giants 1: Barry Zito was shellacked for six runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds. We may have seen his final start as a Giant, if Bruce Bochy’s cryptic comments about changes to be made mean what they sound like they mean. Even if he gets another, his time in San Francisco is almost over and it’s ending very much like it began.

Indians 3, Angels 1: A year ago Cleveland ended the year with just 68 wins. Last night won their 69th. With more than a month remaining, the Indians are just five and a half games behind division leading Detroit and two and a half behind the A’s for the wild card. Not bad for a team that, at times anyway, has looked lost. Just very hot and cold. A two-run homer for Nick Swisher and a strong outing for Justin Masterson who, last start against them notwithstanding, has historically owned the Angels.

Padres 2, Pirates 1: Ian Kennedy tossed seven shutout innings and the Padres avoided the sweep. Yonder Alonso did all the damage on offense. Or, yonder, Alonso did all the damage. Unless you actually were in San Diego yesterday in which case that would be misleading.

Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Another low-run-support no-decision for Cliff Lee as the Phillies failed to capitalize on many early opportunities, but Michael Young hit a walkoff single to end it.

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Boy the Twins stink. I watched the second half of this game and the Tigers’ late rally was the stuff of both good hitting on their part but a lot of boneheaded plays and curious pitch selection on the part of Minnesota. It just looks like a totally lost team.

Reds 10, Diamondbacks 7: Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBI and the Reds started early with an 8-0 lead. They needed all of that to hold of the Dbacks. But hold them off they did and now have a pretty comfortable six-game lead over Arizona for the second wild card.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Elvis Andrus with a walkoff sac fly. That’s probably among the least uplifting walkoff events you can have. Walkoff errors or wild pitches at least have some moment of unexpected excitement to them. Walkoff walks have a sense of building tension as the pitcher struggles to locate. A walkoff sac fly is, like, “and, yep, there it is. It will be deep enough. Ballgame.”

Dodgers 4, Marlins 1: Zack Greinke had eight innings of one-run ball. Yasiel Puig went 0 for 5, but hey, at least he was on time to the ballpark.

White Sox 5, Royals 2: Dayan Viciedo hit a grand slam and that made all the difference. Well most of the difference, but I read Robert Frost before bed last night and I wanted to say “that made all the difference” at some point today.

Nationals 11, Cubs 6: Two homers for Anthony Rizzo were nice but Cubs pitchers gave up two three-run homers to Nats hitters. And that has made all the difference.

OK, that worked a little better, with the exception of the awkward “has.” But we’ll just go with it.

Are the current Collective Bargaining Agreement talks too friendly?

Scott Boras
Associated Press
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Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1. There have been comments from both commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA director Tony Clark suggesting that progress was being made and there has been no suggestion thus far that there are sticking points which could lead to a work stoppage. Heck, even a few acrimonious rounds of negotiation before it’s all said and done seem unlikely.

That’s good news for fans, but it’s not making certain agents happy. Smooth labor sailing likely means a new CBA that is pretty close in most terms to the current CBA. Agents — especially agents who represent veterans — don’t like that because they believe that the current rules regarding free agency, draft pick compensation, luxury taxes and qualifying offers penalize the players they represent. Today Ken Rosenthal has a story about that anger, talking to both anonymous agents and super agent Scott Boras about how baseball’s middle class is disappearing and baseball’s median salary goes lower and lower.

Major League Baseball counters that while the median salary is going down, the average salary is going up. And baseball is right about that. But it’s also the case that the average is propped up by a handful of superstar contracts while the somewhat less lucrative but still nice mid-level contracts for mid-level veterans are disappearing. The financial landscape of the game is morphing into one with a small upper class with nine-figure contracts and a large lower class of pre-arbitration players and veterans on shorter, smaller deals, squeezing the old veteran middle class out of existence.

Sound familiar?

Baseball, of course, is not the American economy. There are some good reasons why those mid-level contracts have gone away. Specifically, because they tended not to be very good deals for the teams who signed them. At the same time, baseball is far better able to tweak its rules to spread the wealth than the U.S. government can, and those rules — like the qualifying offer and luxury tax — have had a harsh impact on a lot of players.

There’s not a clear answer on what the best system is for free agents, draft pick compensation, draft bonus pools and the like actually is. I tend to favor the fewest restrictions on a player’s right to negotiate freely with teams, but I’ll also acknowledge that there is a less than perfect market at play in baseball given revenue disparities between teams and the need to maximize, within reason, competitive balance. It’s not an easy trick even before you get into the B.S. team owners tend to spew about pocketbook matters.

But it’s also the case that an all-too-friendly relationship between the union and the league — one in which a given set of rules is rubberstamped from CBA to CBA — is not an ideal situation. No one wants acrimony, but the fact is that the players and the union are slicing up a pie. If the person you’re slicing up a pie with is all-too-happy to keep slicing it the same way, it probably means that they’re getting a bigger piece than you. Maybe, if it’s your job to grab a bigger piece?

The agents Rosenthal talked to, who represent a good chunk of MLBPA membership, certainly think the union should be doing some more grabbing. I wonder if their clients do too.

Four baseballs autographed by Jose Fernandez wash ashore

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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This is just . . . ugh.

WSVN-TV in Miami reports that a black bag containing Jose Fernandez’s checkbook and four baseballs signed by him washed ashore on Miami Beach. Probably a bag to keep stuff dry while out on the water.

The bag was given to a lifeguard. Hopefully the bag finds its way back to Fernandez’s family quickly.