Phil Hughes pitches Yankees past Red Sox

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The Yankees held serve with the Orioles by beating the Red Sox 2-0 in a breezy 3 hours, 11 minutes on Thursday night.

The win kept the Yankees in a tie for first place in the AL East.

It was the lowest scoring game between the two teams in 59 games dating back to Aug. 7, 2009. That contest was scoreless until the bottom of the 15th, when Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer to end it.

Phil Hughes was the person most responsible for making this a (relatively) quick affair. He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings, walking just one batter in a 95-pitch effort. The Red Sox walked seven, in comparison. Five of those came from starter Felix Doubront, but the lefty turned in a solid outing anyway, allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. It was his fourth quality start against the Yankees this year.

Andruw Jones and Derek Jeter knocked in the runs for the Yankees. Jeter was used as a DH tonight after leaving Wednesday’s game with a bone bruise in his left ankle.

The Red Sox were missing their best healthy hitter. Dustin Pedroia left the team last night to be wife his wife when she gave birth today.

MLB rejected Players’ 114-game season proposal, will not send a counter

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter offer. The league said it has started talks with owners “about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.”

This should be understood as a game of chicken.

The background here is that the the owners are pretty much locked into the idea of paying players a prorated share of their regular salaries based on number of games played. The players, meanwhile, are pretty much locked in to the idea that the owners can set the length of the season that is played. Each side is trying to leverage their power in this regard.

The players proposed a probably unworkable number of games — 114 — as a means of setting the bidding high on a schedule that will work out well for them financially. Say, a settled agreement at about 80 games or so. The owners were rumored to be considering a counteroffer of a low number of games — say, 50 — as a means of still getting a significant pay cut from the players even if they’re being paid prorata. What Rosenthal is now reporting is that they won’t even counter with that.

Which is to say that the owners are trying to get the players to come off of their prorated salary rights under the threat of a very short schedule that would end up paying them very little. They won’t formally offer that short schedule, however, likely because (a) they believe that the threat of uncertain action is more formidable; and (b) they don’t want to be in the position of publicly demanding fewer baseball games, which doesn’t look very good to fans. They’d rather be in the position of saying “welp, the players wouldn’t talk to us about money so we have no choice, they forced us into 50 games.”

In other news, the NBA seems very close to getting its season resumed.