And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 6, Cardinals 5:  Pedro Ciriaco — not Pedro Ceranno — hit an RBI double as part of a late rally to lift Pittsburgh over St. Louis. The late-inning losses for the Cardinals this year have been legion. This one coming on a night when the Braves lost was particularly ill-timed.

Marlins 5, Braves 4: Atlanta continues to sputter, but I suppose if the Cards keep pace with them it’s no harm, no foul. Mike Stanton came in as a pinch hitter in the 12th to drive in the winning run. Atlanta has lost 9 of 12.

Rays 5, Orioles 2: The Rays keep the heat on, winning on a night when Boston was idle to pull within three games in the wild card race. B.J. Upton doubled twice and walked twice and has now reached base nine straight times.

Tigers 14, White Sox 4: Juggernaut. Ten straight wins for Detroit. Their nine game winning streak as of Sunday was the longest they had had since 1984. Now that it’s ten, it’s the longest since 1968. And you know what happened in those years, don’t you Tigers fans?

Cubs 12, Reds 8: Starlin Castro scored four times and drove in three. He has a 13-game hitting streak now.

Athletics 6, Angels 3: The Rangers have owned Oakland. Against the Angels, however, the Athletics are playing spoiler. Josh Willingham drove in four.

Yankees 9, Mariners 3: What happened to Felix Hernandez last night? That’s the wrong question to ask, at least if you’re Nick Swisher: “I think we’ve got a great team. The credit goes to us, man.”  I guess so. But King Felix had owned the Yankees prior to last night when the knocked him around somethin’ fierce.

Giants 8, Padres 3: Eleven runs scored in a Giants-Padres game? It’s like they, I dunno, switched to the metric system or something.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 2: The Dbacks don’t let up, winning their 17th of 20.

Nationals 3, Mets 2: Stephen Lombardozzi was 0 for his first 15 since his callup, but he drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI single in the seventh.  Jayson Werth had three hits.

Astros 5, Phillies 1: Roy Oswalt doesn’t fare well against his old mates. Well, his old jerseys. Most of his old mates are gone I would imagine. Houston beats Oswalt up for five runs on 11 hits in seven innings. Brett Myers — against his old mates — scattered six hits over eight innings, allowing a lone run.

Rob Manfred walks back comment about 60-game season

Rob Manfred
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
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Yesterday, on The Dan Patrick Show, commissioner Rob Manfred stuck his foot in his mouth concerning negotiations with the MLB Players Association, saying, “We weren’t going to play more than 60 games.” The comment was taken poorly because MLB owners, represented by Manfred, and the MLBPA were engaged in protracted negotiations in May and June over the 2020 season. Ultimately they couldn’t come to terms, so Manfred had to set the season as prescribed by the March agreement. In saying, “We weren’t going to play more than 60 games,” Manfred appeared to be in violation of the March agreement, which said the league must use the “best efforts to play as many games as possible.” It also seemed to indicate the owners were negotiating in bad faith with the players.

Per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, Manfred walked back his comment on Thursday. Manfred said, “My point was that no matter what happened with the union, the way things unfolded with the second [coronavirus] spike, we would have ended up with only time for 60 games, anyway. As time went on, it became clearer and clearer that the course of the virus was going to dictate how many games we could play.” Manfred added, “As it turned out, the reality was there was only time to play 60 games. If we had started an 82-game season [beginning July 1], we would have had people in Arizona and Florida the time the second spike hit.”

As mentioned yesterday, it is important to view Manfred’s comments through the lens that he represents the owners. The owners wanted a shorter season with the playoffs beginning on time (they also wanted expanded playoffs) because, without fans, they will be making most of their money this year through playoff television revenue. Some thought the owners’ offers to the union represented stall tactics, designed to drag out negotiations as long as possible. Thus, the season begins later, reducing the possible number of regular season games that could be played. In other words, the owners used the virus to their advantage.

Manfred wants the benefit of the doubt with the way fans and the media interpreted his comment, but I’m not so sure he has earned it. This isn’t the first time Manfred has miscommunicated with regard to negotiations. He told the media last month that he had a deal with the union when, in fact, no such deal existed. The MLBPA had to put out a public statement refuting the claim. Before that, Manfred did a complete 180 on the 2020 season, saying on June 10 that there would “100%” be a season. Five days later, he said he was “not confident” there would be a 2020 season. Some have interpreted Manfred’s past comments as a way to galvanize or entice certain owners, who might not have been on the same page about resuming play. There’s a layer beneath the surface to which fans and, to a large extent, the media are not privy.

The likely scenario is that Manfred veered a bit off-script yesterday, realized he gave the union fodder for a grievance, and rushed out to play damage control.