Settling the Score: Thursday’s results

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If Thursday afternoon wasn’t rock bottom for the Red Sox, they could have a long summer ahead of them.

After blowing an early lead and making mishaps on the bases and in the field, the Red Sox lost 8-4 to the Twins yesterday at Fenway Park in Boston.

Powered by home runs from Dustin Pedroia and Blake Swihart against lefty Tommy Milone, the Red Sox had a 4-0 lead through four innings. However, knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up a three-run homer to Torii Hunter in the fifth inning before Kurt Suzuki tied things up with an RBI single in the sixth. The Red Sox ran out of a possible rally on back-to-back plays in the seventh after Hanley Ramirez tried to go to third base on ground ball to the left side of the infield and Mike Napoli was thrown out trying to score from first base on a single. Not good.

The ugliness continued in the top of the ninth after the first two batters reached against Koji Uehara. Joe Mauer surprisingly dropped down a bunt, but Pablo Sandoval couldn’t handle the throw to third base from Swihart and the go-ahead run came around to score. The Twins tacked on three more runs before Glen Perkins retired the Red Sox in order in the bottom of the ninth to lock down the victory.

The Red Sox have lost 11 out of their last 16 games and sit at 24-31 on the season. Amazingly, that still puts them just 5 1/2 games out of first place, but that’s the mediocrity of the American League East for you.

Below are Thursday’s box scores and recaps…

Twins 8, Red Sox 4

Athletics 7, Tigers 5

Orioles 3, Astros 2

Indians 6, Royals 2 (called after 8 innings)

White Sox 2, Rangers 1 (11 innings)

Reds 6, Phillies 2

Cubs 2, Nationals 1

Mets 6, Diamondbacks 2

Cardinals 7, Dodgers 1

Rays 2, Mariners 1

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: