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Brewers nearly collapse, instead walk off 3-2 winners against Rockies in NLDS Game 1

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A two-run home run by Christian Yelich in the third inning seemed to be all the offense the Brewers’ pitching staff needed to emerge victorious in Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday evening. Aside from the Yelich home run, Rockies starter Anthony Senzatela pitched decently. He gave up three hits in total with two walks and struck out one on 73 pitches across five innings. The Rockies’ bullpen admirably held the Brewers scoreless for four more innings.

Brandon Woodruff got the start for the Brew Crew, tossing three scoreless, hitless innings. He yielded just one walk while striking out three. Woodruff handed the ball off to Corbin Burnes in the fourth. The right-hander fanned three and gave up only one hit in his two innings of work. Burnes passed the baton to Corey Knebel, who got five outs, surrendering a lone walk with a strikeout. Josh Hader got the final out of the seventh with a strikeout, then returned in the eighth and set down the side in 1-2-3 order.

Jeremy Jeffress, an All-Star who finished with a 1.29 ERA, came on in the ninth for the save and that’s where things went sideways for the Brewers. He immediately gave up a single to Gerardo Parra, accounting for the Rockies’ second hit of the entire game. Matt Holliday followed up with a single of his own up the middle. Charlie Blackmon then hit what appeared to be a ground-rule double down the right field line, but it was ruled foul upon replay review, taking a run off the board. Blackmon still managed to sneak a single into right field, plating the Rockies’ first run of the game. DJ LeMahieu then hit what should have been the first out of the inning, but shortstop Orlando Arcia misplayed a weak grounder, allowing the bases to become loaded. Nolan Arenado lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in the tying run. Jeffress got David Dahl to ground into a fielder’s choice and Trevor Story to strike out to send the game to the bottom of the ninth tied at two apiece.

Joakim Soria worked a 1-2-3 10th inning, allowing the Brewers a chance to walk it off. That they did. Facing Adam Ottavino, Yelich drew a leadoff walk. He moved to second base on a wild pitch. Ryan Braun struck out, then Ottavino intentionally walked Travis Shaw. Curtis Granderson grounded into a force out that moved Yelich to third base. Finally, with an 0-2 count, Mike Moustakas ripped a line drive single to right field to bring Yelich home and deliver the 3-2 walk-off win for the Brewers.

The victory marks the Brewers’ first postseason win since Game 4 of the 2011 NLCS against the Cardinals. They will return to Miller Park to face the Rockies in Game 2 on Friday. Tyler Anderson will oppose Jhoulys Chacin. Both teams’ bullpens did a lot of work tonight, so it will be interesting to see just how much managers Bud Black and Craig Counsell rely on their starters tomorrow.

Minor League Baseball accuses MLB of making misleading statements

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Yesterday several members of Congress, calling themselves the “Save Minor League Baseball Task Force,” introduced a resolution saying that Major League Baseball should drop its plan to eliminate the minor league clubs and, rather, maintain the current minor league structure. In response, Major League Baseball issued a statement accusing Minor League Baseball of refusing to negotiate and imploring Congress to prod Minor League Baseball back to the bargaining table.

Only one problem with that: According to Minor League Baseball, it has been at the table. And, in a new statement today, claims that MLB is making knowingly false statements about all of that:

“Minor League Baseball was encouraged by the dialogue in a recent meeting between representatives of Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball and a commitment by both sides to engage further on February 20. However, Major League Baseball’s claims that Minor League Baseball is not participating in these negotiations in a constructive and productive manner is false. Minor League Baseball has provided Major League Baseball with numerous substantive proposals that would improve the working conditions for Minor League Baseball players by working with MLB to ensure adequate facilities and reasonable travel. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball continues to misrepresent our positions with misleading information in public statements that are not conducive to good faith negotiations.”

I suppose Rob Manfred’s next statement is either going to double down or, alternatively, he’s going to say “wait, you were at the airport Marriott? We thought the meeting was at the downtown Marriott! Oh, so you were at the table. Our bad!”

Minor League Baseball is not merely offering dueling statements, however. A few minutes ago it released a letter it had sent to Rob Manfred six days ago, the entirely of which can be read here.

In the letter, the Minor League Baseball Negotiating Committee said it, “is singularly focused on working with MLB to reach an agreement that will best ensure that baseball remains the National Pastime in communities large and small throughout our
country,” and that to that end it seeks to “set forth with clarity in a letter to you the position of MiLB on the key issues that we must resolve in these negotiations.”

From there the letter goes through the various issues Major League Baseball has put on the table, including the status of the full season and short season leagues and implores MLB not to, as proposed, eliminate the Appalachian League. It blasts MLB’s concept of “The Dream League” — the bucket into which MLB proposed to throw all newly-unaffiliated clubs — as a “seriously flawed concept,” and strongly counters the talking point Major League Baseball has offered about how it allegedly “subsidizes” the minor leagues.

You should read the whole letter. And Rob Manfred should probably stop issuing statements that, it would appear, are easily countered.