Giants tie NLDS Game 2 in the ninth, go-ahead run denied on reviewed play at the plate

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Jordan Zimmermann was nearly untouchable deep into the ninth inning. The right-hander, who no-hit the Marlins to end his regular season, limited the Giants to just three singles and was on his way to tossing a “Maddux” — a complete game shutout on fewer than 100 pitches (hat tip to @JasonLukehart for coining the term).

One out away from the shutout, Zimmermann walked Giants second baseman Joe Panik on five pitches, his first walk of the evening. Rather than let his starter finish the job, Nationals manager Matt Williams decided to bring in closer Drew Storen. Storen was lights out in the final month of the season after usurping the closer’s role from the struggling Rafael Soriano. Storen, however, last pitched in the post-season in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS, when he allowed four runs in an inning of work against the Cardinals.

Storen was greeted with a single to left-center by Buster Posey, moving the tying run into scoring position. Shortly thereafter, Pablo Sandoval sliced a line drive down the left field line, easily allowing Panik to score. Posey was in overdrive, so third base coach Tim Flannery decided to send Posey home. Left fielder Bryce Harper relayed the throw into shortstop Ian Desmond, who fired home to catcher Wilson Ramos. Ramos applied the tag to Posey, it appeared, just before his foot touched the plate. Home plate umpire Vic Carapazza ruled Posey out, ending the inning.

The play, however, was reviewed. It was very, very close, but the tag did indeed appear to have been applied to Posey just in the nick of time. Further, the umpires need to see overwhelming evidence in order to overturn the initial ruling, and there wasn’t any, it was that close.

Sergio Romo took the hill for the Giants in the bottom half of the ninth. He set Desmond, Harper, and Ramos down in order to send Game 2 of the NLDS into extra innings, which is incredible considering the Nationals were one out away from evening up the series.

The 2014 post-season is crazy, folks.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.