And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and hghlghts

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Mariners 6, Blue Jays 3: Yesterday was all about Kansas City. Let’s now look at what Seattle is doing. The M’s have now won seven of eight and are tied with the Tigers for the second wild card spot. They’re nine games over .500. There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but can you imagine a world in which the Royals and Mariners both make the playoffs and the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers do not?

White Sox 3, Giants 2: Chicago blew a two-run lead in the ninth, but then Gordon Beckham hit a two-out RBI single in the 10th. Tough no-decision for Chris Sale who struck out 12 over eight shutout innings.

Padres 4, Rockies 1: The Padres have won four in a row. Odrisamer Despainge tossed shutout ball for seven innings, striking out eight. Not bad a for a junkballer.

Cubs 3, Brewers 0: Kyle Hendricks with seven and a third shutout innings. In six starts since making his big league debut, he is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA with only nine walks in 41 and two-thirds innings. Everyone talks about the Astros collection of young talent. The Cubs’ is not too bad.

Angels 7, Phillies 2: I haven’t checked the stats but I bet teams which put up seven-run sixth innings don’t lose a lot of games. I bet that goes for teams that put up seven run any inning. Or seven runs across any number of innings. Basically, scoring seven runs is a good way to win baseball games. The Angels needed this. It was just their second win in seven games and the offense had been struggling.

Marlins 3, Cardinals 0: Jared Cosart outpitches Adam Wanwright, posting seven shutout innings. I’m getting to the point here where I’m about to simply write “the pitcher for the winning team tossed seven shutout innings” for every recap. I could save a lot of time with that approach. Use it to watch cartoons and stuff in the morning.

Astros 10, Twins 4: Chris Carter homered twice and drove in five. He has 15 homers since July 1. Too bad the season doesn’t start on July 1. He was hitting .181 on that date and is now up to .230.

Nationals 7, Mets 1: Four homers backed Doug Fister, who — guess what? — had seven shutout innings. Rookie Michael Taylor, making his big league debut, hit one of the homers. Then — and I am not making this up — a ballboy tossed it to a fan in the stands, not realizing it was a keepsake for Taylor. They got it back, though. I hope the kid in the stands drove a hard bargain.

Athletics 11, Royals 3: Jon Lester struck out nine over six innings and Jeremy Guthrie got knocked around pretty badly, halting the Royals’ winning streak at eight. But they remain in first place because  . . .

Pirates 4, Tigers 2: . . . the Tigers keep losing. Edinson Volquez kept Detroit in check as Tigers starter Robbie Ray couldn’t make it beyond five. Robbie Ray last night. A guy named “Buck Farmer” today. On a team that less than two weeks ago it had more starters than it knew what to do with.

Red Sox 3, Reds 2: Jonathan Broxton threw a ball high-and-inside to Yoenis Cespedes, brushing him back. Next pitch: Cespedes hit a 433-foot home run. Someone send the video of that to Tony La Russa and explain to him that that’s how you retaliate for chin music. Cespedes has reached base in every game as a Red Sox. Red Sock? Um, as a player for Boston.

Rangers 3, Rays 2: The walkoff walk in the 14th inning. Four straight balls from Cesar Ramos to Adam Rosales. Ramos didn’t make Joe Maddon happy. After the game he said, “Just throw a strike there. Give us a chance.” Yikes.

Dodgers 4, Braves 2: We’ve now reached the “Craig needs to find a team to root for in the playoffs this year” portion of the season. Please leave your submissions in the comments. I will not root for the Nationals on division rival grounds and I won’t root for the Yankees or Red Sox on general principle, but that does not appear to be an issue this season. Anyone else is fair game at the moment. Probably not the Cardinals, though, actually. I have nothing against them but so many Cardinals fans think I hate their team and have it in for them that I’m not going to give them an excuse to let go of their derangement. It’s too hilarious.

Yankees vs. Orioles; Diamondbacks vs. Indians: POSTPONED: Come on take a walk on the wild side.  Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain. You like your girls insane. Choose your last words, this is the last time. Cause you and I, we were born to die

Players are waking up and getting ready to fight

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There’s this idea out there that the owners have been eating the players’ lunch at the bargaining table in recent years because the players are, generally, rich and happy and maybe don’t care about a lot of the stuff the previous couple of generations of players did. There is probably some degree of truth to that. The difference between a good deal and a bad deal, in both collective bargaining and on the free agent market, is way less dire now than it used to be and thus the urgency may not have been there over the past several years the way it was in 1981 or 1994.

But it goes too far to say that such a mindset is universal among players. Or that it’s a mindset which, even among those who hold it, will always persist. Players may not have been as vigilant about labor matters over the past several years as they used to be, but they’re not idiots and, at some point, the owners are gonna push ’em too far and they’ll respond.

As we find ourselves in the second straight offseason in which teams simply don’t seem all too keen on signing free agents, it’s starting to happen already.

Earlier this week Dallas Keuchel tweeted out some things critical of the current market and teams’ approach to it (and took another swipe today). This afternoon Giants third baseman Evan Longoria chimed in on Instagram, posting a picture of Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and saying the following:

We are less then a month from the start of spring and once again some of our games biggest starts remain unsigned. Such a shame. It’s seems every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans, why should “value” for your team even be a consideration? It’s not your money, it’s money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of. Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team. And as players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again.

Most of that is common sense, the sort of which we’ve been arguing for around here for some time. Fans should care about good players and winning baseball games, not whether or not their front office can get a great bargain for its own sake. It may be interesting to talk about payroll and salaries and wins/$, but the point of baseball is to win, right? When so many teams seem rather uninterested in that, it’s a problem that all of the interesting analytical insights can’t really make up for.

The second part is worth keeping your eyes on. Maybe players have not been on a war footing the likes of which their predecessors were in the 1970s through the 1990s, but it doesn’t mean they won’t get back there if pushed. As is abundantly clear, the owners are pushing. Salaries are dropping in both an absolute sense and, especially, compared to baseball’s revenues. Players are getting a smaller piece of the pie than they have in a while and ownership seems quite pleased to see that continue.

If players are saying stuff like this publicly, it means that players are talking about it amongst themselves privately. The last two years have likely served as quite a wakeup call for them, and they seem to be waking up. Evan Longoria is. Dallas Keuchel is. So are some others. If current trends continue, more and more will wake up.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires following the 2021 season. What happens over the rest of this offseason and the next two is going to determine the mood of the players. The mood of the players, in turn, is going to dictate the tenor of negotiations. If they were to begin right now, those negotiations would be very, very rocky.