Asdrubal Cabrera, John Jaso

A’s lose 10th straight opener, set major league record

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The A’s have certainly been a rather successful franchise the last 10 years, going to three postseasons and never losing more than 88 games. While the timeframe doesn’t include their extremely successful 2000-03 run, they’re still 45 games over .500 since the beginning of 2005.

It just doesn’t happen for them on Opening Day.

On Monday, they lost their 10th straight opener, dropping a 2-0 game to the Indians. They’re the first franchise in major league history to take a loss in their first game 10 consecutive years.

Tonight’s game, a pitcher’s duel between Sonny Gray and Justin Masterson, was scoreless in the eighth, when Josh Donaldson hit a ball off the very top of the wall in center field. Three inches more and it would have been a homer. Instead, it was one of the longest singles in history (just to the right of the 400 foot sign at the Coliseum), as the runners on first and second returned to the bag to tag up and advanced only one base. Cody Allen then pitched out of the bases-loaded jam, striking out Jed Lowrie and inducing a grounder from Brandon Moss.

A’s closer Jim Johnson went on to take the loss in the ninth after retiring just one of the five batters he faced.

The last time  the A’s won an opener was 2004 against the Rangers. Tim Hudson started that game for Oakland, and Eric Byrnes had the big hit in the bottom of the eighth, turning a one-run deficit into a lead with a two-run double.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.