Ben Revere homered off of Max Scherzer. Because of course.

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Max Scherzer was already reeling after surrendering a hit to the Phillies in the sixth inning of Friday night’s start at Citizens Bank Park, ending his bid for a perfect game, which would have doubled as the back end of back-to-back no-hitters. That would have paired him with Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitchers to have tossed back-to-back no-hitters.

Then Scherzer relented a run in the seventh on a Domonic Brown RBI double to left-center, which ended the Nationals’ streak of 48 consecutive scoreless innings pitched by the starting rotation.

Ahead 5-1, manager Matt Williams opted to have Scherzer start the eighth inning, which was a bit questionable considering the right-hander’s recent workload, his pitch count nearing 100, and the fact that the Nationals were comfortably ahead. Freddy Galvis helped Scherzer out, though, popping up a bunt attempt on the first pitch to bring up Ben Revere.

Revere, if you aren’t aware, is not exactly known for his power. He memorably had baseball’s longest active home run drought, at 1,466 at-bats, before ending it in late May last year. He homered again in September for good measure. Revere hadn’t homered since then. Scherzer hadn’t allowed a home run since Stephen Drew took him yard on June 9. Revere had 304 homerless plate appearances on the year coming into Friday’s action; Scherzer had thrown 1,449 pitches and yielded only six home runs (0.41%). And yet, as baseball is wont to do, the statistically improbable happened:

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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: