And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 4, Dodgers 0: It’s hard to have as good of a series against your rivals than the Giants just had. In addition to your pitcher hitting a homer off the reigning Cy Young and MVP award winner, you shut them out for three straight games, outscoring them 10-0. That’s 34-straight scoreless innings for the Dodgers in AT&T Park dating back to their series there a month ago.

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Braves 10, Brewers 1: Will Smith getting ejected for a foreign substance “That thing you’re doing is against the rules and we’re gonna get you run out of the game for it and you’ll get suspended but thank goodness you’re doing it because it’s to ensure the safety of our guys but Jesus, man, you have to hide that good/illegal thing you’re doing!” In other news, the whole “that guy is doing something technically illegal and ultimately it actually helps at mitigating injuries but, dude, don’t be so obvious about it” is the human growth hormone story too.

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Orioles 5, Mariners 4: Steve Pearce hit a grand slam and the teams used 13 pitchers and sat at the park for hours and hours on end thanks to a lengthy rain delay. This sort of game makes me wonder why no baseball TV show — either a drama or a sitcom — has ever taken off. If you treated it like “M*A*S*H” or something episodic but character-driven you could totally do it. One whole episode would just be guys killing time during a rain delay. Some weird personal drama with the manager and his bench coach — maybe musings on old mens’ mortality — is your A-story. A running thing about guys playing cards is your b-story. The whole episode is about how ill-equipped these guys are to function outside of baseball and how, when you have three hours to do NOTHING but think about non-baseball things, they’re all at a loss. Jesus, Hollywood. Give me my development deal already. Got a head full of ideas on this.

Blue Jays 8, Angels 4: R.A. Dickey allowed four runs and five hits, walked two and struck out seven while tossing a complete game. In that baseball “M*A*S*H”-up, you have to go light on actual game action because, unless MLB Network produces it, game action footage is going to be expensive and if you try to DIY your way through it it’s gonna look hokey. But at some point you have a one-off episode in which the team picks up a knuckleballer and he totally messes up the rhythms of everything from the clubhouse and on the field and personal relationships and all around. The overall theme of that episode is baseball’s comfort of conformity and the inability of these odd and often damaged people to confront change and unconventionality in their lives.

Tigers 6, Astros 5: James McCann hit a homer in the 11th inning to put the Tigers up for good. This guy has two career homers. An inside-the-parker and an extra-inning game-winning job. All of the rest of his homers will be relatively anti-climatic now. Congratulations, McCann. Best case scenario now is that you’re Orson Welles or Norman Mailer and you spend the rest of your life trying to convince people you’re really as good as your earliest work. There are way worse problems to have, but that has to be kind of annoying.

Mets 5, Cardinals 0: More like Jacob deGREAT, amirite? Oh, God. I’m sorry. That’s maybe the worst thing I’ve said in, well, maybe a day or two. deGrom strikes out 11 in eight one-hit shutout innings. Lucas Duda hits two bombs.

Rockies 7, Phillies 3: These two teams have played each other for 125 straight nights. I didn’t check that to be sure, but I am almost positive that is the case. Ryan Howard homered again. Is he back? Back just long enough to create a little trade value bubble for him? Who knows. The Rockies’ had more offense, though, as Michael McKenry hit a two-run homer Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run single and Brandon Barnes, had four hits. Jorge De La Rosa passed Ubaldo Jimenez to become the Rockies’ all-time strikeout leader with 774 in a black, white and sometimes purple uniform. David Nied has 127.

Rangers 3, Red Sox 1: Wandy Rodriguez shut the Sox down and Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer and drove in two. The Sox’ offense is stank on a stick. They’re 23rd in runs per game, 18th in OBP, 25th in slugging, 27th in batting average and 25th in extra-base hits.

Rays 3, Athletics 0: Alex Colome and four relievers combined on a six-hit shutout. The Rays have had some damn good pitching for a team which had, like, every single good pitcher get injured, get traded or come down with ebola or something in the past year.

Indians 5, White Sox 2: Three in a row for Cleveland who got six scoreless from Danny Salazar and homers from Nick Swisher — still alive apparently? Who knew? — and Mike Aviles.

Cubs 3, Padres 0: Kyle Hendricks with the five-hit shuout. Not over x innings with “x” defined as <9. Like, a legit, old school big boy shutout. Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer.

Diamondbacks 7, Marlins 6: A four-game sweep as the Marlins’ freefall continues. Keep in mind, this is a Dbacks team which came into this series having just been swept by the Phillies. The Flounders have lost seven straight.

Major League Baseball threatens to walk away from Minor League Baseball entirely

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The war between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball escalated significantly last night, with Minor League Baseball releasing a memo accusing Major League Baseball of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations and Major League Baseball responding by threatening to cut ties with Minor League Baseball entirely.

As you’re no doubt aware, negotiations of the next, 10-year Professional Baseball Agreement, which governs the relationship between the big leagues and the minors — and which is set to expire following the 2020 season — have turned acrimonious. Whereas past negotiations have been quick and uncontroversial, this time Major League Baseball presented Minor League Baseball with a plan to essentially contract 42 minor league baseball teams by eliminating their major league affiliation while demanding that Minor League Baseball undertake far more of the financial burden of player development which is normally the responsibility of the majors.

That plan became public in October when Baseball America reported on it, after which elected officials such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren began weighing in on the side of Minor League Baseball. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball were not happy with all of that and, on Wednesday, Manfred bashed Minor League Baseball for taking the negotiations public and accused Minor League Baseball of intransigence, saying the minors had assumed a “take it or leave it” negotiating stance.

Last night Minor League Baseball bashed back in the form of a four-page public memo countering Manfred’s claims, with point-point-by-point rebuttals of Major League Baseball’s talking points on various matters ranging from stadium facilities, team travel, and player health and welfare. You can read the memo in this Twitter thread from Josh Norris of Baseball America.

Major League Baseball responded with its own public statement last night. But rather than publicly rebut Minor League Baseball’s claims, it threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

So, in the space of about 48 hours, Manfred has gone from being angry at the existence of public negotiations to negotiating in public, angrily.

As for Minor League Baseball going public itself, one Minor League Baseball owner’s comments to the Los Angeles Times seems to sum up the thinking pretty well:

“Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams. That’s rich.”

Things, it seems, are going to get far worse before they get better. If, in fact, they do get better.