And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 20, Tigers 4: Well, that was something. Eight homers in all for the Red Sox. Two from David Ortiz, who picked up his 2,000th career hit as well. Injury added to insult: Jose Iglesias left the game with shin splints.

Cardinals 5, Reds 4: A sixteen inning affair in which Matt Adams homered twice in extra innings. Once in the 14th and once in the 16th. The latter, obviously provided the margin of victory. The Cards are two and a half up on Cincinnati for second place. They play their last head-to-head game today. That is, unless you count the wild card game for which they are on a collision course.

Athletics 11, Rangers 4: And the West is tied again. A’s bats knock Yu Darvish around like crazy and Jarrod Parker extends his unbeaten streak to 18 games. He hasn’t lost since May 22. Darvish walked six guys in five innings and change. He’s 1-5 against Oakland.

Indians 6, Orioles 4: With this the Indians move ahead of the Orioles and just behind the Yankees in the wild card race. Watch out for Cleveland. Yes, they have two teams ahead of them in that race now, but they also play 14 of their final 23 against the likes of the White Sox, Twins and Astros.

Nationals 3, Phillies 2: Roy Halladay is a shell of his former self, but he battled hard with the few weapons he has left after starting out the game with multiple walks and all kinds of other trouble. Of course the Phillies’ pen couldn’t hold a lead for him. They’re exactly like their former selves.

Mets 5, Braves 2: Call it a hunch, but I don’t think Kameron Loe is going to be in the Braves playoff rotation. Andrew Brown and Lucas Duda homered off of him and Dillon Gee didn’t give the Braves much of anything to work with.

Astros 6, Twins 5: Trevor Crowe knocked in Jonathan Villar in the ninth with the game-winning single. It was the first time in six tries the Astros beat the Twins.

Cubs 9, Marlins 7: The Cubs avoid getting swept, hitting four homers in the process and posting a four-run seventh inning. The Marlins pen blew 6-3 and 7-4 leads.

Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 3: The Diamondbacks walked off with a Willie Bloomquist single. Then they did what has become their little walkoff celebration: getting muddy. Like, literally adding water to some infield dirt and smearing the guy with mud. This is where the whole “the Diamondbacks are gritty” thing has led. It has also led to them still being 7 games out of a playoff spot, but hey, grit.

Giants 13, Padres 5: Pablo Sandoval has had a nightmare season but he hit three homers here, reminding everyone of his Game 1 performance in last year’s World Series. He only had 10 homers all season coming into this game.

Yankees 6, White Sox 5: CC Sabathia looked OK for a change, allowing three runs in seven and a third. A couple RBI a piece for Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano. The Yanks sweep the mailing-it-in White Sox. The Yankees are 2.5 back of the wild card.

Mariners 6, Royals 4: Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for the winning margin. The Royals used eight pitchers in nine innings because, I dunno, Ned Yost wanted some screen time.

Brewers 9, Pirates 3: I suppose it would be some story if the Pirates went on a 25-game losing streak to end the season and deprive themselves of a winning record. That’s not gonna happen, but it really would be something.

Rays 3, Angels 1: Two homers for Wil Myers, off Jered Weaver no less. In other news, when I was a kid parents knew how to spell their childrens’ names properly.

Rockies 7, Dodgers 5: Jorge De La Rosa ties for the NL wins lead with 16. Brian Kenny then dropped into the ballpark from his Kill-the-Win-a-Copter wearing a Bane mask, sprayed the crowd with gunfire and told them all that only when De La Rosa leads the league in FIP and WAR do they have his permission to cheer.

Agent: Nick Senzel’s reassigment “egregious case of service time manipulation”

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Reds prospect Nick Senzel is ready for the majors. Although he battled injuries, the 23-year-old performed well with Triple-A Louisville last season, batting .310/.378/.509 with 20 extra-base hits, 25 RBI, 23 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 193 plate appearances. Senzel has also performed well this spring, batting .308 across 39 at-bats.

The Reds, however, announced on Friday that Senzel was among a handful of players reassigned to minor league camp. Senzel was drafted as a third baseman, began playing second base last year, and had been playing in center field during spring training. The common thought is that the Reds, who have built a competitive roster, will keep Senzel at Triple-A to begin the season and call him up right after the club secures an extra year of contractual control.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Senzel’s agent Joel Wolfe calls Senzel’s reassignment an “egregious case of service time manipulation.” The full quote:

I don’t believe I’ve ever made public statements on this issue in my career, but I feel compelled to do so in this case where it feels like a simply egregious case of service time manipulation.

We are well aware of the mandate from ownership for the Reds to win this year — and this seems to fly in the face of it. The NL Central was decided by one game last year. Every game matters. This is a shortsighted move that may be frugal now but could cost them dearly later.

Nick Senzel is not a young prospect. He’s a major league-ready impact-type player. He has done everything they’ve asked this spring, including working hard to become a major league center fielder.

Nick takes pride in wearing the Reds uniform. He appreciates how much support he’s received from Reds fans. He’s going to go to Triple-A and prove every day he belongs in MLB.

We have covered the service time manipulation issue pretty extensively here, so Wolfe’s statement doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Prior to an injury, the Blue Jays were going to undeservingly stuff Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. — baseball’s No. 1 prospect — at Triple-A for the first two weeks or so of the season. The White Sox were going to do the same with Eloy Jiménez before using their leverage to nudge him into inking an extension. The Braves toyed with Ronald Acuña Jr.’s playing time last year. Kris Bryant and Maikel Franco filed respective grievances against the Cubs and Phillies for service time manipulation several years ago.

Team executives don’t outright admit to gaming a prospect’s service time to gain that extra year of control because that’s how one loses a grievance. They dance around the topic by making a nebulous claim, typically about the player’s defense needing to be worked on at Triple-A. That’s what the Cubs said about Bryant, and it’s what the Jays said about Guerrero. It’s a subjective enough evaluation that it can’t be falsified. It’s why the grievances that have been filed over this have fizzled out and it’s why more and more teams have brazenly joined the service time manipulation bandwagon.

Senzel’s case is, admittedly, a bit more murky. Though he performed well this spring, Scott Schebler has outperformed him, batting .379 with five extra-base hits and 11 walks in roughly 40 trips to the plate. The starting spot in right field is taken by Yasiel Puig and left field is taken by Jesse Winker. Schebler has ostensibly earned the starting job in center. I can’t imagine Wolfe having a compelling case if he were to file a grievance on Senzel’s behalf.

That being said, it is important that agents (and the MLBPA) speak out about this when they can. Senzel’s case may not be open-and-shut, but bringing service time manipulation into the public consciousness will have a lasting impact ahead of the December 2021 expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement. Holding team executives publicly accountable may make them less willing to manipulate their players’ service time going forward, as it may sour what could otherwise be a terrific relationship between team and player. Service time manipulation is an important piece of the labor puzzle and those on the players’ side have to seize whatever they can to potentially gain leverage. Awareness leads to solidarity.