CC Sabathia hardly delivered an ace-like performance last night, but fortunately for him, his offense was there to pick him up. On the strength of a five-run fifth inning, the Yankees defeated the Orioles 8-5 at Yankee Stadium and remain very much alive in the AL Wild Card race.
Miguel Gonzalez failed to get an out in that fifth inning, as he gave up a go-ahead three-run homer to Ichiro Suzuki and then loaded the bases before giving way to T.J. McFarland, who allowed a two-run single to Robinson Cano. Sabathia allowed five runs over 5 2/3 innings before being pulled and has failed to complete seven innings in eight out of his last nine starts. The Yankees need that trend to change if they hope to make a series run in October.
The Yankees (71-63) now sit 4 1/2 games behind the Rays for the second Wild Card spot while the Orioles (71-62) are four back. The two clubs will meet again this afternoon when Scott Feldman pitches for Baltimore and Ivan Nova starts for New York.
Your Friday box scores:
Phillies 6, Cubs 5
Royals 2, Blue Jays 3
Mets 3, Nationals 2
Indians 2, Tigers 7 (7 innings- rain)
Cardinals 0, Pirates 5
White Sox 3, Red Sox 4
Marlins 1, Braves 2
Twins 3, Rangers 2
Angels 5, Brewers 0
Reds 6, Rockies 9
Mariners 7, Astros 1
Giants 1, Diamondbacks 0
Rays 3, Athletics 4
Padres 2, Dodgers 9
Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.
The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.
Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.
While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.
Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?