Orioles forced to go to the bullpen in the fifth inning of ALCS Game 1

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Chris Tillman’s night ended with a runner on third base with one out in the top of the fifth inning of ALCS Game 1 against the Royals. The Orioles had fallen behind when Tillman allowed four runs in the third inning. In the fifth, Tillman allowed a hit in the right-center field gap to Lorenzo Cain, who hustled for a double, narrowly beating center fielder Adam Jones’ throw in to second base. Cain moved to third base on an Eric Hosmer ground out to second base. Manager Buck Showalter decided that was the end of the line for Tillman after throwing 84 pitches to 22 batters.

Tommy Hunter, who had begun warming up when Tillman was struggling in the third, entered the game in relief. He allowed Cain, the inherited runner, to score on a Billy Butler sacrifice fly, stretching the Royals’ lead back to four runs at 5-1. Alex Gordon then ripped a line drive single to center field, but was promptly picked off of first base to end the fifth inning.

Tillman’s final line: 4 1/3 innings, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Definitely not the outing the Orioles were looking for to begin the ALCS.

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.