And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 5, Yankees 1Michael Pineda: master criminal. I have a longer, more in-depth post about this here. Short version: the “Jeez, Pineda! How can you be so dumb?!!” angle everyone has jumped to in the hours since he got caught misses the important point of all of this. In the meantime, remember: some have claimed that about 90% of pitchers do what Pineda did. If that’s true, perhaps it’s worth looking at the signals baseball has sent about pitchers using foreign substances before we decide either how bad or how dumb a guy Pineda is. As for Pineda: thankfully no one in New York will turn this into a week-long drama and try to compete with one another for the hottest take on it all. Oh, wait. That’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Rangers 3, Athletics 0: Martin Perez has tossed two straight shutouts and has 26 consecutive scoreless innings overall, as he shut out the Astros for eight innings a couple of starts ago. After the game, Ron Washington said Perez “has weapons and he can throw them all for strikes.” I don’t know about pine tar, but I feel like having weapons is TOTALLY against the rules, so maybe someone should check Perez’s pockets next time out.

Braves 3, Marlins 1: Aaron Harang (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER 11K) is no Martin Perez, but he continues to be one of the better last-week-of-spring-training pickups in baseball history and is either (a) proof that the Indians made a big mistake cutting him in March; (b) proof that pitching in the National League is easier than pitching in beer league softball. or (c) proof that baseball is just a weird game you can’t predict sometimes.

Diamondbacks 7, Cubs 5: It’s probably fitting that the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field featured a pull-your-guts-out loss for Cubs fans. They had a three-run lead entering the ninth inning and, even though Pedro Strop and some bad defense allowed the Dbacks to load the bases and score two runs, they did get the Dbacks down to their final out. Then James Russell and Justin Grimm came in and threw matches on the kerosene Strop poured all over the place. Aaron Hill’s two-run triple gave the Snakes the lead and, ultimately, the win.

Mariners 5, Astros 3: Two homers for Kyle Seager helps the Mariners avoid the sweep.

Giants 12, Rockies 10: Hector Sanchez hit two homers to help his team avoid a sweep too, but his second one was a grand slam in extra innings that gave the Giants the game so he gets extra points over Seager.

Nationals 5, Angels 4: Let’s mix up the Dbacks’ come-from-behind victory with the sweep-avoiding big hits from the Mariners and Giants games: a come-from-behind, sweep-avoiding victory for Washington, this one thanks to a two-run double by Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche’s game-winning RBI single.

White Sox 6, Tigers 4: Wait, here’s another twist: how about a come-from-behind grand slam? Eh? Like that? Marcus Semien and his teammates did. What I liked: watching Jose Abreu hit his second home run of the series into the bushes behind the center field wall at Comerica. That is seriously, seriously far and not a ton of folks can reach that place. Abreu has done it on two swings that looked pretty effortless. That dude is stronger than all get-out.

Indians 5, Royals 3: Michael Bourn had three hits and two RBI, while Bourn, Nick Swisher and Kipnis — Cleveland’s 1-2-3 hitters — combined for six hits and three RBIs. Kipnis’ RBI double in the seventh put the Tribe ahead.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: Alfredo Simon started out a bit shaky. He said it was cold and he had a hard time feeling the ball. Gee, if only there were something he could put on his fingers to help him out … Alas, he settled down and ended up pitching six and two-thirds of two-run ball. Simon is in the rotation filling in for the injured Mat Latos. He has a 1.30 ERA in that role.

Orioles 10, Blue Jays 8: Baltimore spotted Toronto a 6-1 lead but won anyway, thanks in part to Nelson Cruz’s two homers. Chris Tillman gave up seven runs on nine hits and after the game Buck Showalter said “in a lot of ways, it might be one of his best outings this year.” OK.

Mets 3, Cardinals 2: The Mets came close to blowing this in the ninth, but with one out shortstop Ruben Tejada fielded a throw from center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis to nail Matt Carpenter at the plate in a play so close they had to go to replay. In other news, Michael Wacha struck out ten and walked five in four innings. Nuke LaLoosh is going to sue him for stealing his bit.

Brewers 5, Padres 2: Yet another win for the Brew Crew, yet another save for K-Rod. Next year when someone asks me to write up my predictions I’m just gonna post a picture of the 2014 Brewers with the words “There is no God, the universe is chaos” scrawled across it.

Twins 6, Rays 4: All Chris Colabello does is drive in runs. Four more here for 26 on the year, which is a franchise record for the month of April. The best part though was Colabello’s quote about RBI after the game:

“RBIs are a product of opportunity, and I’m thankful to this coaching staff for believing in me enough to put me in the middle of this order, and to the guys in front of me for getting on base. My job is to knock them in, and it just so happens this month there’s quite a few of them.”

Would that anyone remember that at MVP voting time.

Dodgers 5, Phillies 2: Zach Greinke won his fourth, striking out 11. Cole Hamels made his season debut, allowing two runs in six innings and then getting yanked after 86 pitches. About which he wasn’t pleased. More on that later this morning.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: