Nationals defeat Giants in Game 3 of NLDS to keep their season alive

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The Nationals’ season will live to see at least one more day.

Thanks to a big outing from Doug Fister and a big mistake by Madison Bumgarner, the Nationals defeated the Giants 4-1 in Game 3 of the NLDS today at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

With his team facing elimination, Fister tossed seven scoreless innings en route to the victory. He held the Giants to just four hits (all of them singles) and three walks while striking out three. The biggest threat came in the second inning, but Fister struck out Bumgarner with the bases loaded to keep the Giants off the board.

Bumgarner matched Fister until the top of the seventh. After Ian Desmond singled and Bryce Harper drew a walk to begin the inning, Wilson Ramos dropped down a sacrifice bunt. However, instead of throwing to first base for the easy out, Bumgarner decided (at the advice of Buster Posey) to go after the lead runner at third base. It backfired in a big way, as his throw eluded Pablo Sandoval and bounced along the left field line. It would have been late even if the throw was on the money. Two runs ended up scoring on the play.  The very next batter, Asdrubal Cabrera, singled to left to bring home the third run of the inning.

Tyler Clippard followed Fister with a scoreless eighth before Harper hit a long solo home run in the top of the ninth to provide some extra insurance. After blowing the lead in Game 2 on Saturday, Drew Storen came on to protect the lead in the bottom of the ninth. It looked pretty dicey at first, as he gave up a single to Sandoval and a double to Hunter Pence to begin the inning. However, he struck out Brandon Belt looking before getting Brandon Crawford out on a sacrifice fly and Travis Ishiwaka to ground out to end it. It’s safe to exhale, Nationals fans.

With the Giants now up 2-1 in the series, Game 4 of the NLDS will take place tomorrow night at AT&T Park. Ryan Vogelsong will start for San Francisco while Washington will counter with Gio Gonzalez.

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: