Brewers get swept by Phillies; have lost nine out of 10

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The Cardinals and Reds were both dealt some tough blows on the injury front today, but the Brewers are doing their part to let them hang around in the National League Central. The Phillies defeated the Brewers 9-1 this afternoon at Miller Park in Milwaukee to complete a four-game sweep.

Matt Garza was the story early on in this one, as he didn’t give up his first hit until Jimmy Rollins led off the top of the seventh inning with a single. The Brewers held a 1-0 lead before Garza was pulled with two on and two outs in the eighth inning. It was all downhill from there, at least if you are a Brewers fan. The Phillies ended up scoring seven runs in the inning and sent 12 batters to the plate. Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cody Asche, and Domonic Brown all drove in runs in the stunning rally. Howard added a two-run homer in the ninth to officially make it a laugher.

The Brewers have now lost five games in a row and nine out of their last 10. While Ron Roenicke’s club still owns the National League’s best record at 52-41, they are now just one game up in the loss column over the second-place Cardinals. The two clubs will finish off the first half with a series this weekend in Milwaukee.

DOJ settles antirust lawsuit against cable companies who don’t carry Dodgers games

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Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T, accusing its subsidiary, DirecTV, of being the ringleader in a plot in which it conspired with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T cable (then a separate company), to refuse to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodger-owned TV channel in violation of antitrust laws.

Now that lawsuit is over. The DOJ settled with AT&T last night.

The bad news: no part of the settlement obligates DirecTV or any of the other alleged co-conspirators to carry Dodgers games or to even negotiate to that end. There is likewise no fine or truly substantive penalty. It’s basically a “do not do this again!” agreement with some antitrust training requirements for executives and some orders to monitor their communications about these things.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” an AT&T spokesman said yesterday, likely in the tone of a guy who is pretty happy to have had a major antitrust suit against him settled so quickly.

When the suit was filed, I anticipated a settlement, as most antitrust suits brought by the DOJ are settled. Such a settlement could’ve featured a cash penalty or, more significantly, a brokered agreement between the parties in question in lieu of a cash settlement that could’ve led to Dodgers games being carried on more channels. After all, more competition is the end game of the Antirust Division.

As it is, however, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a surrender by the DOJ and a victory for the those carriers who coordinated their efforts to not carry the Dodgers.

An open question, unanswered in anyone’s statements yesterday, is whether this settlement is 100% about the merits of the case — keeping in mind that the DOJ tends not to file antitrust suits unless they think they can win, instead preferring to negotiate first — or whether it represents a new set of laxer priorities when it comes to antitrust enforcement from the Trump Administration and AG Jeff Sessions.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.