Bases loaded walk

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 8, Rays 6: All tied into the 11th when the Tigers scored three, the first of which came on a bases-loaded walk. Came off a guy named “Balfour” so maybe everyone shoulda seen it coming. I’m gonna guess teams that draw bases loaded walks win a lot of games. Less so because bases loaded walks suggest that they already had a lot of base runners and that the other team is getting ineffective pitching, both of which likely correlate well with the walking team winning and more so because giving up bases loaded walks utterly kill the issuing team’s soul and turns them into angry/emotional shells of their former selves. Or maybe that’s just fans of teams who issue bases loaded walks. Not sure. Oh, the next run that inning scored on a wild pitch. Let me tell you my psychological theories of wild pitches  . . .

Cardinals 5, Reds 4: Hmm. Wondering now if bases loaded HBPs are more soul-killing than bases loaded walks. Well, no matter, because this bases loaded HBP came in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, giving the cards the walkoff plunk. Jon Jay was the plunkee,  J.J. Hoover the plunker. Hoover has a 5.37 ERA and a 1-10 record. Gives new meaning to the phrase “sucks like a Hoover.”

Marlins 4, Rangers 3: Giancarlo Stanton made an error in the seventh that led to the Rangers tying the game which led to extra innings which led to Giancarlo Stantion hitting the walkoff single. There are no accidents in this world. Everything is important. Everything means something. In other news, the Marlins now have more wins — 63 — than they had all last season. And they’re over .500 for the first time since late June. If they had Jose Fernandez around they’d probably be leading the NL wild card race.

Cubs 2, Giants 0: A rain-shortened win for the Cubs. Or, more to the point, a grounds crew-shortened win, as in the Chicago grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on the field properly when the rains came. The rain lasted just 15 minutes. Because the tarp was all crooked and screwed up, though, it took three hours after the rain stopped for the crew to try to prepare the field for play. They couldn’t get it in good enough condition and the game was called. Bruce Bochy was not pleased:

“I hope they listen and watch what happened there,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was visibly upset. “In this day and time, it shouldn’t happen. It can’t happen with the importance of these games. I’m going to leave it at that.”

The Giants are thought to be mulling a protest given that they’re in a pennant race, but the rules do not support a protest in this situation. Also: the Yankees and Rangers had this same situation earlier this year and that game was not resumed at a later date as it too was already a regulation game when the tarp follies began. This is a rain delay. We’ll have more on it later, obviously.

Nationals 8, Diamondbacks 1: Eight wins in a row for Washington. Stephen Strasburg gave up one run in eight. Ian Desmond drove in four, Asdrubal Cabrera knocked in three. This one not being close deprived Nats fans of yet another walkoff, but I’m guessing Matt Williams is cooler with it not being close.

Astros 7, Yankees 4: Chris Carter hit his 17th home run since July 1st, and it was a big one: a three-run shot in the ninth to snap a 4-4 tie. A hit like that will make striking out in your previous four at bats — which he did — not seem like such a big deal. Also, the fact that the ball went approximately five hundred miles will make you forget it too.

Mariners 5, Phillies 2: Hisashi Iwakuma struck out 11 in eight scoreless. The Phillies mounted a mini-rally in the ninth but it was too little to do anything besides aggravate Phillies fans and make them say things like “where was this five innings ago!” and stuff.

Angels 4, Red Sox 3: Tied up in the ninth when Chris Iannetta put the Halos up for good with an RBI double. This one could’ve been 4-0 Sox in the second inning, however, if it wasn’t for Kole Calhoun robbing Brock Holt of a three-run homer in right. He caught it right where Torii Hunter went arse-over-teakettle on the David Ortiz bomb during the playoffs last year. I didn’t see that cop anywhere this time, however.

Braves 11, Pirates 3: Andrew McCutchen made his return but went 0 for 4 and the Pirates lost yet again. Their losing streak is now at seven. The Braves’ winning streak is now at five thanks to Justin Upton driving in five and Evan Gattis hitting one of the longest homers you’ll see in PNC Park.

Orioles 5, White Sox 1: Chicago batters really had trouble in this one. As did Chicago hitters. And Chicago lost this one.

Yes, I’m trying to wind you up, Orioles fans. I’ve done these recaps for seven seasons and while fans of almost every team claim I am biased against them and in favor of someone else, Orioles fans are basically the only ones who get angry if they feel I don’t properly credit their guys with winning games instead of the other team losing. Totally serious: when it comes to complaints of this nature, like we saw in the comments of yesterday’s ATH, about 90% of them have historically come from Orioles fans. I really don’t get it — an ace like Chris Sale getting rocked is news to everyone but you guys — but that’s how you roll I guess. Which is weird given that you guys are the ones most likely to actually know what happened in the previous night’s Orioles game and thus don’t need some national person saying what happened in the form of little recaps which are, by design, superficial and not aimed at fans of any specific team. But sure, Chris Tillman did good here too. Feel better?

Indians 7, Twins 5: Yan Gomes had three hits including a home run and Tyler Holt hit a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth. This after Holt was just called up from Columbus that day and barely made it to the park in time. Good job, Tyler, but dude: you can go to Grandpa’s Cheese Barn at Exit 186 on an off day. Next time drive faster to Cleveland.

Brewers 6, Blue Jays 1: Mike Fiers allowed only one run on two hits over seven. The Brewers hit four RBI doubles.

Athletics 6, Mets 2: The A’s end their five-game losing streak. Coco Crisp hit a tiebreaking three-run triple in the fourth inning and Scott Kazmir got his 14th win. The A’s remain a half game behind the Angels in the West.

Royals 7, Rockies 4: Three doubles for Omar Infante, with four RBI. The Royals win their 22nd in 27 games and give Ned Yost a nice 60th birthday. Which is weird, because I thought that all men named Ned were automatically born at age 60 — ask yourself: you ever meet a 16-year-old kid named Ned? — but I guess not.

Dodgers 8, Padres 6: The Dodgers snap a three-game skid. They have not lost more than three in a row all year. The last time they had a season without a four-game losing streak was 1988. This is important. This means something.

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.