Manny Machado

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 8, Nationals 2: A tight game until the 11th inning when the Orioles erupted for six runs on the back of three homers and a double. Ohio’s own Craig Stammen surrendered five of those runs, including homers to Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy. Manny Machado added one of his own. Seriously: as far as Ohio Craigs go, I had the way better night. And all I did was sit on my couch drinking whiskey and watching a supremely messed up movie that, for some reason, I had no idea existed until yesterday.

White Sox 4, Red Sox 0: Sox win. Scott Carroll one-hit the Red Sox into the seventh inning and Boston was shut out for the ninth time this year. It was one of five shutouts around the bigs last night. I have no idea how long this pitcher-friendly era will last. Some say it’ll go on for years. Others are likely trying to develop some sort of Hari Seldon-esque psychohistory for baseball in which an alternatively shorter intermittent period between high-offense eras persists.

Yankees 5, Indians 3: Shane Greene was called up to take the departed Vidal Nuno’s start and he did pretty well, allowing two runs in six innings and picking up his first major league win. And while I say Nuno is “departed,” I don’t mean dead. I mean that he was abducted by some gray aliens as he drove on a country road and, best case, will be deposited someplace, naked and scared but his memory wiped, after they’re through experimenting on him. OK, I just keep sugarcoating this. It’s way worse than being dead or abducted by aliens. Nuno was traded to Arizona.

Phillies 3, Brewers 2: When Cole Hamels allows one run into the seventh and Chase Utley has a big RBI it, a little over five years later, is like going up on a steep hill and looking East, giving you the right kind of eyes to almost see the high-water mark—that place where the Phillies’ wave finally broke and rolled back.

Reds 9, Cubs 3: Billy Hamilton drove in four thanks to a bases-loaded triple and an RBI single. Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer after getting his first ever professional start at first base. He also allowed a run in on an error, but I guess it was a net positive thanks to the dinger.

Mets 4, Braves 3: The Braves had a 3-2 lead in the eighth but Curtis Granderson tied it up with a homer. Then, of all people, Ruben Tejada singled home the winner in the 11th. But it’s OK Braves fans: the team may have lost, but at least the Braves didn’t use their best reliever to get them out of  that 11th inning jam in a tie-game on the road. That would’ve been horrifying.

Royals 6, Rays 0: James Shields has been up and down this year. This was up: ten strikeouts as he three-hit the Rays over seven innings in his return to Tropicana Field. It was a tight game until he left, though, but his mates plated four in the eighth and ninth innings.

Astros 12, Rangers 7: Jon Singleton homered, had two more hits and drove in four to help the Astros snap a seven-game losing streak. He had been 0 for his previous ten. Houston was 2-17 against Texas last year. They are 4-3 against them this year.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 0: Knotted at zero into the ninth but then Matt Adams hit a two-run bomb to walk off against Pittsburgh in the ninth. It came off a lefty too. Of course, even guys who struggle against lefties can deposit a hanging breaking ball into the seats. The Pirates had their chances against a less-than-at-his-best Adam Wainwright but couldn’t convert.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Angels 5, Blue Jays 2: Jered Weaver had to leave in the second with back stiffness, but five Angels relievers combined to allow only two runs over seven innings. Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar each had RBI hits in the fifth with Josh Hamilton adding a sac fly.

Padres 6, Rockies 1: Six runs for the Padres in 2014 is like, what, 15 runs for any other team? Not that they needed all that offense when they had Ian Kennedy allowing only one run over seven. Chase Headley was 4 for 5.

Athletics 5, Giants 0: Jesse Chavez struck out nine in six shutout innings. It was a sellout in Oakland, but a whole heck of a lot of those buying tickets were Giants fans who left early and disappointed.

Diamondbacks 9, Marlins 1: David Peralta drove in three runs and extended his hitting streak to eight games. Peralta was called up on June 1. He’s hitting .331/.357/.471 since then. He’s a nearly 27-year-old rookie who spent time in independent ball after being released as a pitcher when he was in the low levels of the Cardinals organization. I’d assume this guy has a lot of interesting stories to tell.

Mariners 2, Twins 0: Hisashi Iwakuma was not healthy and was not effective in June, but July has been good to him. He struck out ten in seven innings here and extended his scoreless innings streak against the Twins to 33 and 1/3 innings. Forty five would be a singular accomplishment. Seventy eight would crazy, as no one has put together a record like that for years.

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.