The Pirates shut out the Reds 4-0 on Sunday, clinching the first NL Wild Card slot, which means they will host the Cubs in the Wild Card game. The winner will travel to St. Louis to play the Cardinals in the NLDS on October 9. The Pirates end the season with a 98-64 record, their best record since 1991 when they also finished 98-64.
Starter J.A. Happ pitched six shutout innings, limiting the Reds to three hits and three walks while striking out seven. Relievers Joakim Soria, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon each pitched a scoreless inning behind Happ to finish out the game.
Neil Walker provided the Pirates’ first run with an RBI single in the first inning. Pedro Alvarez ripped a solo homer in the fourth, Jordy Mercer doubled in a run in the sixth, and Josh Harrison hit an RBI double in the seventh to account for all of the offense.
The Cubs beat the Brewers 3-1 on Sunday to finish with a 97-65 record. They’re in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.