And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

16 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2Justin Smoak smacked a two-run homer to tie it up in the sixth and Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer to break that tie in the eighth. It was Donaldson’s bobblehead day too. I wonder how many guys knock in game-winning runs on their bobblehead day? I wonder if anyone’s been ejected on their bobblehead day?

Pirates 11, Mets 1: The Pirates had a 5-1 lead in the seventh when John Jaso grounded into an inning-ending double play. The players went to their dugouts to get ready for the bottom half of the inning, the fans stood and “God Bless America” was sung. Then, because Clint Hurdle had actually challenged the call on the double play and because he won the challenge, the Pirates went back to bat, making this the first time the top of the seventh inning was finished before the seventh inning stretch. When play resumed, David Freese singled home a run to make it 6-1 before the Mets finally recorded the third out. They played “Take me out to the Ballgame” for the second seventh inning stretch. And you thought replay made the game less interesting.

Mariners 7, Rays 1: Seattle’s Ariel Miranda pitched a four-hitter complete game, striking out nine, as the M’s sweep the Rays. All that’s great, but this play by Jarod Dyson is really all that matters:

Red Sox 7, Orioles 3Andrew Benintendi hit two solo homers and added an RBI single. They scored two more runs when opposing catcher Francisco Pena tried to keep a runner at third base close by firing the ball down the line after fielding a pitch in the dirt but airmailed it. When I saw this in the box score at first, it didn’t say where Pena was throwing it, but did say that Pablo Sandoval was safe at second base after it was all said and done, so for a moment I imagined it all kicking off with Sandoval trying to steal a base. Alas, that was not what happened and we are all worse off for it not happening.

Phillies 9, Giants 7: , Freddy Galvis homered from both sides of the plate and Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera went deep too. The Phillies win back-to-back games for the first time since April. The Giants have lost their seventh of ten. After the game, Bruce Bochy said “We just didn’t execute pitches very well today and we got what you’re going to get when you don’t make pitches.” I have a bit of a rant coming up later this morning about “executing pitches.” It’s not the most well thought-out rant, but it’s been a long time coming. Stay tuned.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 0: Zach Davies tossed six shutout innings, allowing three hits, and the bullpen added three hitless innings onto that to shut the Dodgers out. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana homered for Milwaukee. No one went deep for L.A., because as I said, they were shut out. In this homer-happy age, though, I’m sure some team will find its way around that at some point this year.

Nationals 11, Athletics 10Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run homer to give the Nats a 6-3 lead in the eighth and the A’s made it 6-4 in the bottom half. The Nats scored five in the top of the ninth thanks in part to back-to-back homers from Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor to make it 11-4 but the A’s scored six in the bottom half to make this one really dang close. The Nats have a 10.5 game lead in their division but boy howdy do they need a closer. The A’s have lost seven of nine.

Tigers 7, White Sox 4: Tied at four in the bottom of the ninth and Justin Upton hit a walkoff three-run homer. The White Sox have dropped five in a row and were outscored 32-10 in the series. The win makes what was otherwise a bad day for Detroit more tolerable.

Braves 13, Reds 8: Ender Inciarte had five hits, reached on a walk and knocked in five runs. Danny Santana had four hits and three RBI and Matt Adams hit his third homer in two days. Fourteen hits in all for Atlanta, who took two of three from the Redlegs. Zack Cozart homered twice and drove in five runs in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Marlins 6, Diamondbacks 5: Tyler Moore hit a three-run homer, Derek Dietrich drove in two and A.J. Ellis knocked in the go-ahead run with an RBI single on the 14th pitch of his seventh inning at bat. The Marlins have won seven of eight and eight of ten.

Indians 8, Royals 0: Daniel Robertson drove in three, Roberto Perez knocked in two and Jason Kipnis homered and drove in two as the Indians pound the Royals to avoid the sweep. Trevor Bauer didn’t figure in the decision here because of a two-hour rain delay that chased him out of the game, but he probably had the highlight of the game anyway when he kicked a ball to start a double play.

Astros 7, Rangers 2: Two homers for George Springer and four homers in all for the Astros as they sweep the Rangers and win their tenth game in a row. The Astros have won six of seven from the Rangers this year after going 4-15 against them. Houston has a 13.5 lead over the Angels and Mariners in the division.

Twins 3, Angels 2Miguel Sano hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth as the Twins take three of four from the Angels. The game ended on an overturned call on an attempted steal of second base by Ben Revere.

Rockies 3, Padres 1: Rockies starter allowed one run on three hits over seven innings and Trevor Story drove in a couple as the Rockies jump back into first place in the NL West. Hoffman, who the Rockies acquired in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, is 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA and has struck out 26 dudes while walking only two in 20.2 innings this year. He has mid-90s heat and kills you with curveballs. This kid’s gonna be a good one.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 6: Rookie Ian Happ hit two homers and pinch hitter Jon Jay drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh with an RBI single as the Cubs sweep the Cards and move back over .500. The Cards have lost 8 of 11.

Must-Click Link: Do the players even care about money anymore?

Getty Images
20 Comments

Yesterday I wrote about how the union has come to find itself in the extraordinarily weak position it’s in. The upshot: their leadership and their membership, happily wealthy by virtue of gains realized in the 1970s-1990s, has chosen to focus on small, day-to-day, quality of life issues rather than big-picture financial issues. As a result, ownership has cleaned their clock in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the union is to ever get back the considerable amount of ground it has lost over the past 15 years, it’ll require a ton of hard work and perhaps drastic measures.

A few hours later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped an absolute must-read that expands on that topic. Through weeks of interviews with league officials, agents and players, he explains why the free agent market is as bad as it is for players right now and why so many of them and so many fans seem not to understand just how bad a spot the players are in, business wise.

Passan keys on the media’s credulousness regarding teams’ stated rationales for not spending in free agency. About how, with even a little bit of scrutiny, the “[Team] wants to get below the luxury tax” argument makes no sense. About how the claim that this is a weak free agent class, however true that may be, does not explain why so few players are being signed.  About how so few teams seem interested in actually competing and how fans, somehow, seem totally OK with it.

Passan makes a compelling argument, backed by multiple sources, that, even if there is a lot of money flowing around, the fundamental financial model of the game is broken. The young players are the most valuable but are paid pennies while players with 6-10 years service time are the least valuable yet are the ones, theoretically anyway, positioned to make the most money. The owners have figured it out. The union has dropped the ball as it has worried about, well, whatever the heck it is worried about. The killer passage on all of this is damning in this regard:

During the negotiations leading to the 2016 basic agreement that governs baseball, officials at MLB left bargaining stupefied almost on a daily basis. Something had changed at the MLBPA, and the league couldn’t help but beam at its good fortune: The core principle that for decades guided the union no longer seemed a priority.

“It was like they didn’t care about money anymore,” one league official said.

Personally, I don’t believe that they don’t care about money anymore. I think the union has simply dropped the ball on educating its membership about the business structure of the game and the stakes involved with any given rule in the CBA. I think that they either so not understand the financial implications of that to which they have agreed or are indifferent to them because they do not understand their scope and long term impact.

It’s a union’s job to educate its membership about the big issues that may escape any one member’s notice — like the long term effects of a decision about the luxury tax or amateur and international salary caps — and convince them that it’s worth fighting for. Does the MLBPA do that? Does it even try? If it hasn’t tried for the past couple of cycles and it suddenly starts to now, will there be a player civil war, with some not caring to jeopardize their short term well-being for the long term gain of the players who follow them?

If you care at all about the business and financial aspects of the game, Passan’s article is essential.