Clayton Kershaw didn’t start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Dodgers. No problem. The Dodgers gave the nod to Hyun-Jin Ryu, who went out and twirled a gem against the Braves on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium as his team won 5-0, taking a 1-0 series lead.
Ryu was staked to a lead early as Joc Pederson led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run off of Mike Foltynewicz. Max Muncy tacked on a three-run homer in the second. That was more than enough offense. Enrique Hernández added a solo homer in the sixth off of Brad Brach to make it 5-0. David Freese knocked in one more run just for good measure in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.
Ryu pitched seven stress-free innings, yielding just four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts on 104 pitches. The most the Braves threatened was putting runners on first and second base with two outs in the fifth, but Ryu got out of that by getting Kurt Suzuki to fly out.
Fellow lefty Caleb Ferguson took over in the eighth, setting the Braves down in 1-2-3 fashion, getting Charlie Culberson to ground out, then fanning Lane Adams and Ronald Acuña. Staying with the lefty theme, manager Dave Roberts sent Alex Wood out to the mound for the ninth. He got Johan Camargo to fly out, then Freddie Freeman to strike out. The Braves still kept hope alive as Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers both singled. Roberts came out and called on his first right-hander of the night, bringing in Dylan Floro. Floro got Ozzie Albies to ground out to end the game in a 6-0 victory.
Funnily enough, the Braves out-hit the Dodgers six to five. The Dodgers, however, out-walked the Braves eight to none.
The Dodgers and Braves return to the battlefield on Firday night with a 9:37 PM ET start, broadcast on FS1. Kershaw will oppose Aníbal Sánchez.
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.