Orioles starter David Hess brought a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday evening against the Blue Jays in Toronto. The right-hander got the first out of the inning. Then, with only 82 pitches to his ledger, first-year manager Brandon Hyde decided to pull Hess from the game.
Pedro Araujo came in and proceded to walk Justin Smoak, then lost both the no-hitter and the shutout when Randal Grichuk slugged a two-run home run to left-center field, closing the Jays’ deficit to 6-2. The hits kept coming as Rowdy Tellez singled up the middle, but Araujo found his way out of trouble, inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play from Teoscar Hernández.
The decision to lift Hess will understandably come under scrutiny, especially since things went so poorly afterwards. However, the 25-year-old tossed 42 pitches in two scoreless innings of relief on Opening Day against the Yankees. Hyde likely didn’t want to force his young pitcher to have to throw 150 pitches in the span of four days.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter offer. The league said it has started talks with owners “about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.”
This should be understood as a game of chicken.
The background here is that the the owners are pretty much locked into the idea of paying players a prorated share of their regular salaries based on number of games played. The players, meanwhile, are pretty much locked in to the idea that the owners can set the length of the season that is played. Each side is trying to leverage their power in this regard.
The players proposed a probably unworkable number of games — 114 — as a means of setting the bidding high on a schedule that will work out well for them financially. Say, a settled agreement at about 80 games or so. The owners were rumored to be considering a counteroffer of a low number of games — say, 50 — as a means of still getting a significant pay cut from the players even if they’re being paid prorata. What Rosenthal is now reporting is that they won’t even counter with that.
Which is to say that the owners are trying to get the players to come off of their prorated salary rights under the threat of a very short schedule that would end up paying them very little. They won’t formally offer that short schedule, however, likely because (a) they believe that the threat of uncertain action is more formidable; and (b) they don’t want to be in the position of publicly demanding fewer baseball games, which doesn’t look very good to fans. They’d rather be in the position of saying “welp, the players wouldn’t talk to us about money so we have no choice, they forced us into 50 games.”
In other news, the NBA seems very close to getting its season resumed.