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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 5, Twins 2: Cleveland had a 2-1 lead for several innings when the Twins tied it in the top of the ninth thanks to a Migel Sano homer (remember Miguel Sano?). Trevor Hildenberger was then called in by Paul Molitor because he knows the old baseball maxim of “make sure you use the reliever with the highest ERA in your bullpen in a tight game against a good team.” He also knows that, after he allows two base runners on, you leave that guy in to face one of the most dangerous batters in the game in Francisco Lindor. This is why, when Lindor hit a walkoff three-run homer to send the Twins to defeat, Molitor could sleep easy, knowing that he played this one by the book.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 5: Boston wins their 10th of 11 games and, as I said, oh, a dozen Red Sox wins ago, it’s almost getting boring. They’re even getting manna from heaven now, with Rafael Devers coming off the DL to hit a two-run homer. Tomorrow the Ghost of Ted Williams will probably fly in with his dog on a chrono-synclastic infundibulum and go 4-for-5 with three dingers. It’s just rolling that for the Red Sox these days. J.D. Martinez had three hits and Xander Bogaerts had three RBI, because Boston’s offense is powered by the Universal Will to Become.

Diamondbacks 6, Phillies 0: Patrick Corbin pitched shutout ball into the eighth, Eduardo Escobar knocked in three and David Peralta had four hits and plated a couple. The Dbacks own a half-game lead in the NL West right now and head out on a nine-game road trip in which they face three weak teams in the Reds, Rangers and Padres. Things are looking pretty decent. The Phillies, meanwhile, lost a game of ground to Atlanta, which . . .

Braves 8, Nationals 3: . . . beat the Nats pretty soundly, thanks to Charlie Culberson‘s three-run homer and two-run blasts from Ronald Acuña and Tyler Flowers. Acuña also did this:

Atlanta has won eight of 10 to move within a half-game of the Phillies. Washington is now six games back.

Yankees 7, White Sox 3: It was tied early but Giancarlo Stanton‘s second inning grand slam ended that nonsense and, effectively, ended the game. Aaron Hicks would also go deep as Luis Severino allowed three runs in seven to pick up his 15th win on the year. It was Severino’s first win in a month. It was, somehow, Stanton’s first grand slam in four years. I guess it’s maybe not that surprising given that three of those years were spent in Miami and it wasn’t like he had a conga line of base runners in front of him down there, but still.

Mets 8, Reds 0: I wrote about this one yesterday afternoon. Short version: Jacob deGrom can’t do it by himself and, yesterday, for the first time in ages, he didn’t have to.

Orioles 5, Rays 4: Trey Mancini hit a go-ahead two-run double in the ninth to give Baltimore the win. The Orioles committed five errors. It was the first time they’ve done that since 1983. Of course, they also won the World Series in 1983, so maybe this is important. This means somethings. *sculpts potatoes.*

Rangers 11, Mariners 7: Joey Gallo homered twice and knocked in four. Our dude even raised his average to a cool .200. Way to go, Joey! Yovani Gallardo allowed two runs on three hits, in six innings of work, winning his seventh game in nine starts this season. deGrom would love to talk to him about how to get run support, I imagine. Mike Zunino hit two homers for the Mariners in a losing cause.

Pirates 4, Rockies 3: Chris Archer‘s second start as a Pirate went better than his first, allowing two runs over five innings. He did give up a homer. After the game he said, “The homer I gave up was one of the only times I shook Cervelli off. That was my bad. I should have listened to him.” I’d like to think that Cervelli told the batter what was coming. The Pirates took two of three from Colorado, which scored only six runs in the series.

Angels 6, Tigers 0Kole Calhoun hit a leadoff homer and Justin Upton and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning as the Angels cruised. Detroit has lost six in a row, three of which have been shutouts. We all knew there would come a time when the Tigers, which overachieved a decent bit early in the season would crater, and here we are.

Cardinals 7, Marlins 1: Water wet, sky blue, dog bites man, Matt Carpenter homers again. It was a tiebreaking number for the second straight game, this one coming to lead off the sixth inning. John Gant allowed only one run in six innings and, at one point, he and his relief combined to retire 21 Marlins batters in a row so, no, this one was not particularly competitive after a certain point.

Brewers 8, Padres 4: Jesus AguilarTravis Shaw and Eric Thames hit back-to-back-to-back first-inning homers against Padres starter Brett Kennedy, who was making his major league debut. In addition to the homers, he allowed seven straight batters to reach in the first inning. At least he’ll always remember it. Orlando Arcia and Christian Yelich also homered for the Brewers. Someone check the bus stations for Kennedy. He may be back there trying to buy himself a ticket to El Paso.

Royals 9, Cubs 0: Heath Fillmyer — a real pitcher, I just checked — got hit hard early too, though it was only in the literal sense. He was hit by an Anthony Rizzo comebacker early in the game but he shook that off and shut the Cubs out for seven innings and got the win. Adalberto Mondesi and Drew Butera each drove in three runs, Mondesi via a three-run blast.

Athletics 3, Dodgers 2: Newest Athletic Mike Fiers didn’t win this one — he was facing Clayton Kershaw and they both dealt pretty well — but he allowed only one run on four hits while pitching into the sixth and at least stood to be the winner when he left. Chris Taylor tied the game up with an RBI single in the seventh but Khris Davis hit into a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the eighth to put Oakland up to stay. Oakland won for the seventh time in eight games and pulled to within five of the idle Astros. The Dodgers fell a half game back of the Dbacks.

Mad Dog Licks Boots

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Earlier this week Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reported that the MLBPA and the league are heading back to the table more than two years before the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires following the 2021 season.

This had been hinted at for some time, as the union has shown clear displeasure at the current state of business, particularly with the free agent market. The league, one might assume, is happy with the current state of affairs, but it also has an interest in heading off potential strife or even the hint of a labor stoppage in the future. Moreover, there are priorities which have emerged on MLB’s part since the last CBA was signed that they’d love to advance — pace of play, etc. — so they have some incentive to talk as well. So, while it’s totally newsworthy that the sides are talking, it’s also quite understandable and not particularly controversial.

It’s also quite understandable that, given that this is a negotiation between parties in an adversarial position, there will be public comments from the principles which involve advocacy or even posturing on occasion. That’s part of the deal of any negotiation that holds public interest. So, when Tony Clark, for example, says something like “the system doesn’t work,” and “either we’re going to have a conversation now, or we’re going to have a louder conversation later,” which is what he told Kepner, it’s not really a controversial thing. Indeed, it’s expected.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo thinks it’s pretty controversial, however. The MLB Network host and talk radio legend took to the airwaves yesterday blasting Clark for not being more deferential to Rob Manfred who “was nice enough to extend him an olive branch.”  Russo likewise asked, rhetorically, what “Rob” must’ve thought when reading Clark’s quotes “over his cup of coffee, and bran muffin, on Madison Avenue, after his workout and all those things . . . his morning coffee, milk and two sugars by the way — Sweet and Low.”

He’s the Mad Dog, but he certainly licks boots here:

 

It’s amusing enough that Russo believes that Clark, Manfred’s counterpart and adversary, is supposed to be deferential and thankful for the mighty Manfred. It’s even more amusing, however, that he takes the tack of arguing that MLB has no real interest in negotiating now and is somehow merely throwing the union a bone or offering an olive branch. In saying this Russo, whether he realizes it or not, is accusing Manfred of bad faith, optics-only talks with the union. I don’t feel like Manfred thinks he’s doing that. And I don’t think Clark would be talking to him if he felt he was being patronized to either. Indeed, the dance of the last several months around all of this was, in part, to ensure that that was not the case.

I don’t know what Manfred thought about Clark’s comments on Tuesday, but I do wonder how he feels about being accused by an MLB Network employee of playing games like this. It might be enough for him to spit out his bran muffin and coffee. Cream and two sugars and all.