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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 3: Kyle Freelandwho, as Bill wrote last night is someone you should know better — picked up his 15th win while helping his own cause by doubling in a run. Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story homered. Arenado reached the 100 RBI plateau with his. In so doing the Rockies take three of four from Arizona, holding on to their one-and-a-half-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West — two in the loss column — and shoving the fading Dbacks four and a half back. Arizona is 3-12 in September.

Mets 4, Marlins 3; Mets 5, Marlins 2Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers with two outs in the ninth inning to give New York a walkoff 4-3 victory in the first game. Before that the Mets only had two hits in the whole game, though one of them was a homer from starter Steven Matz. In the nightcap Conforto knocked in three more runs and rookie Tomas Nido hit his first career homer. The Mets took three of four in the series and have won nine of 12 overall.

Cubs 4, Nationals 3: A makeup game that the Cubs have been complaining about having to play for some time carried with it some good news and some bad news. The good news: Cubs win, with Javier Baez bunting in a run in the top of the 10th:

Despite what the announcer said there, it was not Joe Maddon’s call. Baez decided to bunt for himself. The runner who scored — Kris Bryant — didn’t even know it was coming. Baez also homered and drove in three runs overall, pushing himself ahead of Trevor Story for the league lead in RBI, 103-102 and keeping himself in the thick of the MVP race.

The bad news for Chicago: reliever Pedro Strop batted for himself in that 10th inning and then strained a hamstring running to first base while trying to beat a double play ball. Losing Strop — as the Cubs are likely to for at least a couple of weeks given how hamstring injuries go — is a huge blow. He’s been closing for them since Brandon Morrow went down to injury and has been doing a fine job of it. Now he’s likely out at least until the playoffs start.

Mariners 8, Angels 2: Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer and he, Mitch HanigerRobinson Cano and Kyle Seager each had two hits as the M’s eliminate the Angels from playoff contention. Not that they were, practically speaking, in playoff contention of course. We just keep track of such things, much like Astinus — the worldly form of Gilean, God of Neutrality — who watches over the Great Library of Palanthas and scribes all history as it happens.

Wait, what?

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: The Blue Jays rallied for two runs to tie the game up in the top of the eighth and then they coughed up a run to Boston when second baseman Yangervis Solarte dropped a popup which allowed Xander Bogaerts to score from third base to give the Sox the lead and, eventually, the game. Rafael Devers homered as Boston increased its lead in the AL East to ten and a half games and reduced its magic number for clinching the division to six.

Orioles 5, Athletics 3: The A’s had a six-game winning streak and the Orioles had a six-game losing streak coming into this one. Streaks: ended. Dylan Bundy allowed two runs on six hits and struck out eight in six innings. Tim Beckham hit a two-run single and John Andreoli and Breyvic Valera each knocked in a run as well. Jace Peterson knocked in the final O’s run with an RBI double and the O’s pen squelched a would-be eighth inning rally for Oakland.

Dodgers 9, Cardinals 7Manny Machado homered, drove in three runs and made a nifty barehand play at short as well. David Freese had a big hit against his old mates, tripling in two runs in the first inning and helping Los Angeles build an early 8-1 lead. The Cards came back late, bringing the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but a less-than-dominant Kenley Jansen closed it out. Pretty? Nah. But L.A. pulled to within one game of the second Wild Card slot, currently held by St. Louis. Three more games to go in this series.

Royals 6, Twins 4Heath Fillmyer allowed four runs but pitched into the eighth inning and the Royals came back from a small early deficit thanks to back-to-back homers from Sal Perez and Jorge Bonafacio in the sixth. Play of the game, though, was made by a non-roster participant:

Often when such plays happen the announcer will joke “sign that guy to a contract!” Given the state of the Royals these days it’d likely only be a partial joke. Like, no, the Royals wouldn’t sign him, but I’m not willing to say that a low level intern was not at least asked to, you know, do some quick checking on the guy’s high school stats or what have you.

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.