And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 6, Rangers 2: A homer and three RBI for Wil Myers as the Rays send the Rangers spiraling ever further into despair. Because the Indians lost too the Rangers didn’t fall out of the wild card slot, but they did fall out of the top spot, meaning that they’re now closer to falling out of the playoff picture than Tampa Bay is for now. The Orioles are two games back while the Yankees and Royals are both 2 1/2 games back.

Phillies 12, Marlins 2: Cliff Lee has correctly determined that the best way to win with the Phillies is to go all Baseball Bugs on the opposition. Fourteen strikeouts and four RBI by virtue of a  bases-loaded two-run single, an RBI triple, and another RBI single. That has to be some sort of combined awesomeness high water mark for a pitcher this season and maybe in several years. Oh, and Lee passed the 200 inning and 200 strikeout mark for the year too.

Padres 2, Pirates 0: Andrew Cashner with a one-hitter. It was a Maddux too, completed in fewer than 100 pitches. No walks. seven strikeouts. Simply dominant.

Rockies 6, Cardinals 2: But thankfully for the one-hit Pirates, the Cardinals lost too, keeping them tied with the Cardinals. Or maybe it was “thankfully for the Cardinals, the Pirates were one-hit.” I suppose you can take your pick. Anyway, Charlie Blackmon had three hits and drove in three runs for the Rockies.

White Sox 12, Twins 1: A seven run first inning for Chicago killed every incentive for folks back in Minnesota to watch. Assuming they had that incentive in the first place. Erik Johnson pitched six scoreless innings and got his first major league win.

Brewers 6, Cubs 1: Three hits including a two-run homer for Caleb Gindl.  Wily Peralta allowed only an unearned run in six innings while allowing five hits and striking out seven.

Tigers 4, Mariners 2: Rick Porcello struck out ten and won his 13th. At one point during this game the camera focused on Raul Ibanez. The girlfriend: “he looks like an old man.” Me: “Well, he is.” A few minutes later I got up off the couch, making all kinds of pained noises and walking funny and hunched because I painted a room on Sunday and by last night I was stiff all over. Meanwhile, Ibanez was running his butt off around third base and scoring a run. Old is relative.

Royals 7, Indians 1: The Indians lost a chance to slide into wild card position. Of course, given what Texas is doing lately — and given that the Royals are the Indians’ toughest opponents for the remainder of the year — they have time.

Reds 6, Astros 1: Jonny Cueto is back and he pitched five scoreless innings. Next outing will be a bigger test, though, as he will presumably face major leaguer hitters. Zack Cozart homered and drove in four.

Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 1:  The Dodgers continue their late season slide. They’re lucky to have all kinds of sliding room — win the next two against these Dbacks and they clinch — but they don’t look like the juggernaut of summer. Hey, at least they’re giving maximum effort, though. Paul Goldschmidt with another homer.

Angels 12, Athletics 1: Jarrod Parker’s unbeaten streak ends as he takes his first loss since May 22. C.J. Wilson won his 17th and he himself is now unbeaten in his last 13 starts. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each hit homers in the eighth.

Braves vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.

MLBPA thinks all 30 teams will take a “file-and-trial” approach to arbitration

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There’s something interesting deep in Ken Rosenthal’s latest notes column. It’s about arbitration, with Rosenthal reporting that the players union believes that all 30 teams will take a “file-and-trial” approach to arbitration this winter.

If you’re unfamiliar with this, it breaks down thusly:

  • In mid-January, teams and players who are eligible for arbitration will exchange proposed salary figures. The player says what he thinks he’s worth based on comparable players of his quality and service time and the team will propose a lower counter-figure;
  • Generally, the parties then use these proposals as negotiable figures and eventually reach a compromise deal, usually near the midpoint between the two figures, avoiding arbitration;
  • If a deal cannot be reached, they go to an arbitration hearing and arbitrators pick one of the numbers. They CANNOT give a compromise award. It’s either the higher player’s number or the lower team number.

In the past, a handful of teams — most typically the Blue Jays, Braves, Marlins, Rays, and White Sox — employed a “file- and-trial” approach, meaning that they treated the figure exchange date as a hard deadline after which they refused to negotiate and stood content to go to a hearing. As more teams have adopted this approach, there have been more arbitration hearings. As Rosenthal notes, last year there were more hearings than in any offseason for the past 25 years. Now, the union thinks, every team will do this. If they do, obviously, there will be even more hearings.

There is certainly an advantage to file-and-trial for a team. It makes the player and the agent work harder and earlier in order to be prepared to negotiate with the club before the file deadline. It also makes them work a lot harder to come up with a defensible filing number given that, rather than merely being an opening salvo in an extended negotiation, it’s something that they will certainly have to defend in open court. It’s also simple hardball. Teams have greater resources than the players and the agents and it’s less painful for them to pay for lawyers and hearing prep and to conduct the actual hearing. There’s risk to the team, of course — they might lose and pay more than a settlement would’ve cost — but teams are obviously concluding that the risk is worth it.

The only question I have is, if the union is right and all 30 teams will now proceed this way, how was that decided? Everyone suddenly, after several decades of arbitration, simply decided to take the same approach? Or was there, I dunno, a meeting in which the strategy was coordinated? Inquiring minds want to know!