And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 4, Cubs 3: Norichika Aoki hit two homers including the walkoff. Overall, he’s kicking some major butt.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: As I said yesterday: Dickey beats Wang. I’m still giggling, by the way.

Pirates 5, Reds 4: Aroldis Chapman finally allowed a run. You see? You see? He’s not a machinehe’s a manhe’s a man!  Someone alert the authorities. Wait, don’t do that. Chapman doesn’t need anymore interaction with the authorities.  It was a an RBI double by Michael McKenry in the 10th which proved to be the game winner.

Giants 8, Padres 3: The Giants stay hot, winning their ninth in 11 tries. Matt Cain struck out nine and withstood some awful San Francisco defense to win his sixth straight start.

Dodgers 8, Phillies 3: The sweep. Aaron Harang won his 100th. And Charlie Manuel is losin’ it:

Asked about his frustration level, manager Charlie Manuel said: “I never put it up to a level. I just feel how hot my face gets.” And it is, he said, “pretty damn hot.”

Nightmare season for Philly thus far.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 0: The Sox finally beat the O’s at home. And do it in impressive fashion. Clay Buchholz with the four-hit shutout.

Athletics 7, Rangers 1: Yu Darvish gets shelled by one of the worst offenses in baseball and walks six on top of that. Brandon McCarthy, meanwhile, allows one run in seven innings. Coco Crisp had a triple a homer and drove in four. The A’s took three of four from Texas, which according to the Rangers fans I follow on Twitter has caused some Texas fans to freak out and think about trading everyone.

Tigers 7, Indians 5: Casey Crosby won his first ever game. Not that it came easy. Detroit was up 7-1 and the Indians started to rally to close it to 7-5 and had the bases loaded in the eighth but couldn’t get one more hit that they needed. It was the first win by the Tigers over the Indians in six tries.

Braves 8, Marlins 2: Jason Heyward had two homers in a game for the first time since 2010 and Mike Minor finally had an effective outing, allowing one run in five innings. The Braves scored all of their runs from the sixth inning on. It was a 4-1 road trip for the Braves and now they get nine straight at home.

Rays 7, Yankees 3: David Price only went five innings but he survived them well, striking out eight and getting out of a one-out bases loaded jam in the fifth by retiring Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.  CC Sabathia struck out 12 over seven innings in a losing effort.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Orlando Hudson singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Rios drove in three.

Cardinals 14 vs. Astros 2: Two homers and six RBI for David Freese as Lance Lynn joins R.A. Dickey with nine wins. Just as everyone predicted would be the case before the season began.

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?