Marvin Miller doesn’t know why the players agreed to HGH testing

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I liked to Shaughnessy earlier, so why not link to Murray Chass?

He spoke with former union head Marvin Miller — they’re bffs, you know — about the MLBPA agreeing to submit to HGH blood testing in the new collective bargaining agreement. Miller is perplexed by the union agreeing to this and to earlier concessions regarding drug testing:

 “I don’t understand the rationale of this. I don’t understand the rationale of a lot of things. It’s an unproven test. We don’t know the basis for this. I haven’t heard any rationale for this and there is no rationale for it … I understand Selig wanting it, but I don’t understand why the union would agree to it … It’s not a step forward … They didn’t get anything when they agreed to reopen testing when there was no reopening in the agreement to test. I can’t imagine anything appreciable to make you think twice about saying yes.”

Setting aside that Marvin Miller is 94-years-old and may not completely have his finger on the pulse of what’s going down in labor relations at the moment, he has a narrow technical point regarding negotiation tactics. You don’t, traditionally, give something up in this way. And he’s right that the HGH test is kind of a joke.

But Miller’s position is also some pretty old thinking when it comes to baseball labor relations.  What the union finally figured out — too late, but did figure out — was that there was a serious downside to the public thinking that everyone was on ‘roids. And that that perception was going to eventually translate to lower confidence in the game and ultimately lower revenues.

So, like Miller, you could just view this through the lens of owner-player politics.  Or you could see the longer game in which the players giving in on drug testing was actually in their own financial interests. And that’s before you talk about how, you know, getting on board with drug testing was the right thing to do anyway.

I agree with Miller that the HGH test thing is kind of silly — I’ve spoken about why before — but I don’t think you can give the union much hell for agreeing to go down this road, even if they’re doing it for reasons other than “HGH is bad, mmmkay?”

Red Sox opening as betting favorites vs. Dodgers

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Series prices could fluctuate wildly in a World Series matchup between two legacy franchises on opposite coasts. The Boston Red Sox are an opening -165 favorite with the Los Angeles Dodgers coming back as a +135 betting-line underdog on the World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Red Sox, who host Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday, are attempting to become the sixth team in the last 24 seasons to win the World Series after having the best record in the regular season. The Dodgers are the 28th team to return to the World Series after losing the previous one and those teams are 15-12 all-time.

For Game 1, the Red Sox, with left-hander Chris Sale starting, are a -148 betting favorite while the Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw are a +128 underdog and the total is at 7.5 runs. The total has gone OVER in Sale’s last three home starts and the total has also gone OVER in five of Kershaw’s last six starts on the road.

The Dodgers had the shorter turnaround – two days to the Red Sox’s five – after the league championship series and also had 17 fewer regular-season wins. However, they played at a nearly 100-win clip over the final three-quarters of the regular season (75-46 in the final 121 games).

Los Angeles offers higher-reward, higher-risk betting value, as its deep starting staff of Kershaw, Rich Hill Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler and its bullpen, anchored by Kenley Jansen, will try to stymie baseball’s best offense. The Dodgers bullpen had a 1.45 earned run average over 31 innings during their most recent series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Hitting-wise, the Dodgers are not as deep as the Red Sox and will need the likes of Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig to carry them.

Boston, paced by right fielder Mookie Betts, led MLB in runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage and has shown little sign of cooling off against October pitching.

The Red Sox’ series price will only go deeper into minus money if they overcome Kershaw in the opener, or take a 2-0 lead after Game 2. Speculators looking for more immediate value with Boston might want to bet a more specific outcome such as Red Sox in five games or six. There are reports that Betts will move to second base so that designated hitter J.D. Martinez can start during the games at Dodger Stadium, where National League rules will be used.

Boston has had consistent starting pitching for most of the playoffs from Sale, fellow lefty David Price and right-handers Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello. While there has been a great deal of hand-wringing about Boston’s bullpen, specifically closer Craig Kimbrel (7.11 ERA in the playoffs), middle relievers Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly have thrived at protecting leads.

Game 2 on Wednesday is also an all-lefty pitching matchup, with Hyun-Jin Ryu starting for the Dodgers while David Price starts for the Red Sox.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.