Playoff Reset: League Championship Series Game 4

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The Game: ALCS Game 4. Kansas City Royals lead Baltimore Orioles 3-0
The Time: 4:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Jason Vargas
The Upshot: Can anything stop the Royals at this point? Probably not in the series, as it would take an historic comeback by Baltimore to keep Kansas City from the World Series, and they’ve shown that, in the ALCS anyway, they have no second gear. The real question now is whether the Royals can sweep the entire playoffs, as they shoot for their eighth playoff win in eight tries this afternoon. Jason Vargas? He’s hittable. The Royals lineup? You can pitch to them. But that’s the same story that has held for a couple of weeks now and it hasn’t mattered a bit. The Royals are gelling and the defense — maybe it’s most important, though undersold trait — is all but immune from struggling. The real question is whether Buck Showalter can get some fight out of his men or if, alternatively, they know where this is going and subconsciously play in such a way as to put themselves out of their misery.

The Game: NLCS Game 4. San Francisco Giants lead St. Louis Cardinals 2-1
The Time: 8:07 PM Eastern
The Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Shelby Miller vs. Ryan Vogelsong
The Upshot: Yesterday afternoon’s game was just plain weird, ending with the Cardinals’ worst reliever on the mound in extra innings of a playoff game and a guy who went 0 for 4 with a sac bunt as the hero in a mob scene. Going for the Giants is Ryan Vogelsong, who is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his last five playoff outings. The Cardinals have handled him in the regular season, however, and they’ll need to do so again in order to find themselves with their backs against the wall. Shelby Miller, who stood to be the loser in Game 4 of the ALDS before Matt Adams’ homer off Clayton Kershaw bailed him out, takes the hill for the Cards. Once again, one assumes, Yadier Molina won’t play.

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.