Tim Hudson pitched eight effective innings for the Giants, but his bullpen was in the process of taking him out of the running for the win when Lady Luck helped out on defense.
Hudson started the ninth inning, but issued a lead-off walk to Collin Cowgill, so manager Bruce Bochy took him out and brought in Sergio Romo. Romo allowed a one-out single to Mike Trout to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Albert Pujols, who had homered earlier in the game. Romo struck him out.
With the left-handed-hitting Kole Calhoun coming to the plate, Bochy brought in southpaw Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt, however, gave up an RBI single to Calhoun, which brought the Angels closer at 5-3. Closer Santiago Casilla then came in to try to end the threat. David Freese singled to center to bring in another run, making it 5-4. Taylor Featherston came in as a pinch-runner for Freese at first base.
The Angels were, then, down by one run with runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the ninth. Matt Joyce swung at Casilla’s first offering, a 92 MPH fastball. The Giants were shifted to the right side, but none of their three infielders on that side had a chance to make a play on the ball as it hit Featherston. By rule, Featherston was out and the game ended. Second baseman Joe Panik, played in right field, probably could have made a play on it, but there was always the chance he misplayed it in some fashion. It’s certainly one of the more unconventional ways with which to win a ballgame.
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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.