Corey Kluber

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 4, Royals 1: You can’t stop Corey Kluber, you can only hope to contain him. And I don’t mean that in the ironic, 1990s-Dan Patrick way. I really mean it. He allowed only one run on four hits while pitching into the ninth while striking out 10 in this one, but he’s been doing this stuff all year. His record is only 8-6, but he has struck out 137 dudes in 125.2 innings while walking only 30. He’s sporting a 2.86 ERA and a WHIP of 1.18.

Marlins 8, ,Cardinals 4: Henderson Alvarez is the National League’s Corey Kluber (i.e. that dude you really didn’t realize was having a fantastic season, but by gum he sure is. One run allowed in seven innings here, a 2.27 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP on the season. While his record is nothing to write home about, the Marlins have won his last ten starts.

Angels 6, Astros 1: Garrett Richards allowed one run in seven and a third while striking out 11 and notching his tenth win of the year. His ERA is 2.71, his strikeout rate is great, he has the lowest batting average against in the AL and he doesn’t walk too many dudes. Didn’t make the All-Star team, though, because. Well, I don’t know exactly. He’s in that final five thing with a bunch of other pitchers, including our friend Corey Kluber, but gee zooey, what’s a guy got to do?

Pirates 6, Phillies 2: The sweep. Jeff Locke gave up two runs — only one earned — on three hits and a walk in eight innings. Both Marlin Byrd and A.J. Burnett returned to face their former mates in Pittsburgh. It went better for Byrd, who homered, than it did for Burnett.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 1: The Braves’ nine-game winning streak comes to an end thanks in part to a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt. B.J. Upton’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end too, thanks in part to B.J. Upton.

Mets 8, Rangers 4: The Mets scored five in the first and cruised from there. Which is probably the least Mets thing to happen in quite some time, but every dog has his day. Anthony Recker hit a three-run homer in the first. Recker? Damn near killed him! Wait.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: Jay Bruce was 0 for his last 26 before hitting a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. That’s two of three from first place Milwaukee and 10 of 15 overall for the Reds. I feel like this NL Central race is gonna get freaky and crazy within the next month or so.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: Denard Span’s wheels helped win this one. He led off the eighth with a hit that would’ve been a single for most guys but he busted hard out of the box and just beat the tag sliding into second. Two outs and an intentional walk later, Ryan Zimmerman singled in Span for the go-ahead run. Otherwise, a nice pitching duel between Jake Arrieta and Jordan Zimmermann.

White Sox 1, Mariners 0: Hector Noesi is on his third team of the season and yesterday he faced his first team this season, shutting them out into the seventh inning. The Sox had just two hits and scored their lone run on a wild pitch. In other news, how a 1-0 game with only seven hits in it lasts close to three hours is a bloody mystery.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Yankees 9, Twins 7: The Yankees took a 9-0 lead and then held on just hard enough as the Twins charged back. Jacoby Ellsbury homered, doubled and drove in four. More impressive: Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki each had three hits. Not bad for a couple of dead guys.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 2:  Matt Kemp had four hits and drove in two, Adrian Gonzalez drove in three and Juan Uribe had three hits as L.A. takes three of four. Josh Beckett allowed three hits in five scoreless, but still threw 82 pitches and it took him around an hour and a half to get that far. This is somewhat comforting to me. I had begun to grow discombobulated by quick and efficient Josh Beckett starts. This, however unwatchable it was, does restore some semblance of normalcy to the cosmos.

Giants 5, Padres 3: Tim Lincecum would very much like to pitch against the Padres forever. Two starts after no-hitting them, he allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. Overall, Lincecum had tossed 23.1 scoreless innings before Brooks Conrad hit a homer in the seventh. After the game Bruce Bochy and Lincecum each talked about how this resurgence may be the real deal, and that after several years of talking about how he has to make adjustments and learn to reinvent himself, he finally has. I hope so, because I really think baseball is more fun when The Freak is dominating, but I think I need to see more than three starts against poor offenses before I’ll buy in.

Athletics 4, Blue Jays 2: Jeff Samardzija made his Oakland debut and he immediately showed why the A’s wanted him. He allowed one run on four hits and a walk in seven innings, helping the A’s finish off the sweep against the Jays. Samardzija also learned yesterday that he made the NL All-Star team. He won’t pitch, however, and he’ll actually be in the AL dugout. He’ll still get more run support doing that than he ever got in Chicago.

Orioles 7, Red Sox 6: The O’s and Red Sox played a day-night doubleheader on Saturday and then went 12 innings here. The Orioles blew a 6-1 lead in the seventh but then David Lough hit a triple in the 12th and then scored on a J.J. Hardy single to give Baltimore their sixth win in seven games.

Rays 7, Tigers 3: Rick Porcello had been on a roll, but his roll was slowed by the Rays, who scored seven runs on 11 hits off him. David Price, in contrast, was in control until the ninth when he gave up a leadoff homer and then lost his mojo and couldn’t get the complete game, but by then it was academic. Tampa Bay took three of four from the Tigers and have won 8 of 10 overall.

Adams homers in 16th to lift Cardinals over Dodgers 4-3

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ST. LOUIS — Matt Adams homered in the 16th inning to lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night for St. Louis’ season-best fifth straight victory.

It was the second consecutive game that the Cardinals won in their final at-bat. They beat the Padres on Thursday after scoring a run in the ninth inning.

Adams homer came with one out off Bud Norris (5-9), who gave up six runs as a starter in an 8-1 loss at Washington on Wednesday.

Seth Maness (1-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief for St. Louis, which was playing its longest game of the season.

Jedd Gyorko hit a two-out homer off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth to tie the game 3-3.

Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick homered for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has lost four of six. The red-hot Turner has seven homers and 17 RBI this month. He hit two homers in a 6-3 win over Washington on Thursday.

Turner blasted his career-high 18th homer of the season off Seung Hwan Oh in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.

Corey Seager had four hits and drove in the first run of the game. He had hit in seven successive at-bats before flying out in the ninth.

Kendrick’s solo shot in the sixth tied the game 2-2. He has hit in 14 successive games trying Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the longest current streak in the majors.

Los Angeles starter Brandon McCarthy allowed one hit and two runs over 6 1-3 innings, the longest of his four starts this season. He left with leg cramps. McCarthy struck out four and walked three.

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha allowed two runs on 10 hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore recorded his 28th successive scoreless outing by retiring two of four batters in the seventh. He has not allowed a run in 41 of 42 appearances this season.

Minor League Players’ Wage Suit against Major League Baseball suffers a huge setback

The judge's gavel is seen in court room 422 of the New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street February 3, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East
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A judge handed minor leaguers looking to hold Major League Baseball liable for underpaying and exploiting them a huge setback today, ruling that the case cannot go forward as a class action. Minor leaguers who want to sue over their pay and treatment still can, but they’ll have to do it individually. The ruling saps the minor leaguers of their leverage, as Major League Baseball would likely be able to fend off individual cases which, by themselves, might only amount to several thousand dollars per claim.

The background: in 2014, former Miami Marlins player Aaron Senne sued Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, and three major league clubs claiming that minor leaguers are underpaid and exploited in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. He was later joined by former Royals minor leaguer Michael Liberto and Giants farmhand Oliver Odle. Eventually others joined and the suit had been expanded to 22 teams as defendants.

The upshot of the case is that, while the minor league season lasts only part of the year, players are required to do all sorts of things outside of merely playing games for which they are not compensated. Training, meetings, appearances and the like. When all of that time is added up, the players claim, their already low salaries are effectively far below minimum wage in violation of the law. Major League Baseball has countered this by claiming that minor leaguers are basically part time seasonal workers — like landscapers and pool boys — who are not subject to federal labor laws.

Last year the judge gave the case conditional certification, allowing the players to try to establish that it should go forward as a class action. This would streamline the case from the plaintiffs’ perspective and give them the power of collective action by asserting hundreds or more similar cases into one proceeding. The judge’s ruling today, however, was that the cases really weren’t factually similar and thus collective action was not appropriate because figuring out how many hours each player worked and what was required of him varied too greatly among the players.

From his order:

“The difficulties associated with determining what activities constitute ‘work’ in the context of winter training are compounded by the fact that there appear to be no official records documenting these activities. Because it may be impossible to determine from official records the types of conditioning activities in which the players engaged, membership in the state classes based on winter training would depend largely upon the players’ ability to remember, with a reasonable amount of detail, what they did during the off-season (often for multiple years and for many, several years in the past) to stay fit.”

The judge said that, in light of this, each case would be unique and would require “individualized inquiries” to find damages and liability. That phrase –“individualized inquiries” — constitutes magic words which sink would-be class actions. If a company overcharges all of its customers by $8 due to an error repeated a million times, it’s easy to look at one set of facts and judge them together. If you had to look at a million different wrongs, that’s no class action. And so it is not a class action for the players.

As many courts who have dealt with these sorts of cases have noted, for many plaintiffs, a class action is the only practical method of adjudicating Fair Labor Standards Act cases because individual plaintiffs are frequently unable to bear the costs of separate trials. They are, by definition, (allegedly) exploited workers. They’re not going to be able to pay legal costs and fight off a multi-billion dollar business in order to collect the few thousand dollars they were underpaid. At the same time, however, the defendants have rights too and, if the facts of each players’ treatment truly differ (e.g. the Yankees make their minor leaguers do more than the Brewers do) it’s not fair to bind one defendant’s defense to the acts of another.

So, where does this leave the players? Not dead. Not yet, at least. Their claims have not been dismissed on the merits. They have only been denied the right to act collectively. The individual plaintiffs can now file separate lawsuits against their former employers and Major League Baseball under the same theories. It would be harder to land a big blow in such a scenario, but if enough do, it could end up being death by a thousand cuts for the clubs and the league. Their legal fees might go up and, eventually, if they lose enough of these cases, more might be filed. There are a lot of former minor leaguers, after all, and once there’s some blood in the water, more of them — and their lawyers — may enter the frenzy. Decertification is certainly a win for the league right now, but it’s not necessarily a permanent win.

There are likewise some other quasi-collective forms this case could take such as multi-district litigation in which the cases, while individual, are coordinated in a loose fashion. That could lead to some efficiencies for suing players even if it’s not as robust as a class action.

We’ve written quite a bit about minor league pay and treatment in this space by now, so you probably know where we stand on it. We believe that minor leaguers are exploited and underpaid and we believe that Major League Baseball has been happy to exploit and underpay them for some time. Ultimately we believe that this state of affairs cannot and will not persist and that eventually, somehow, baseball will either see fit to pay its workers fairly or, more likely, will be forced to do so by a court or by collective bargaining of some fashion.

Today, however, was a big setback for the minor leaguers. Today’s ruling will give Major League Baseball and its clubs more time and more comfort in which to underpay them. There’s no doubt about it.