Ryan Pressly
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Ryan Pressly sets an all-time record for consecutive scoreless appearances

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Astros reliever Ryan Pressly is on a roll. On Wednesday, he tied Craig Kimbrel for the longest consecutive scoreless streak in MLB history, with 38 such appearances dating back through August 15, 2018. On Friday, he made it through another outing without giving up a run, pushing his streak to 39 appearances to reach an all-time best mark.

Pressly’s record-breaking opportunity came in the bottom of the eighth inning when he stepped in for Will Harris. He needed just 11 pitches to get through the inning, fanning Mitch Moreland on a 96.7-m.p.h. fastball and inducing the remaining two outs from Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. The inning ended in dramatic fashion as Pressly scooped a pop-up from Devers and tossed it toward first base for the final out, tumbling backwards as he made the throw.

Following a scoreless ninth — this time with Roberto Osuna at the helm — the Astros wrapped the series opener with a win, their 30th of the year.

As Andrew Simon of MLB.com rightly points out, the right-hander’s impressive streak comes with a few caveats, the most pertinent of which are a) streaks of this kind are often made possible through the limited and specialized use of relievers, and b) pitchers may keep their streaks intact without taking into account any runs they allowed inherited runners to score. To the first point, Pressly has rarely been called on to pitch more than a single inning in any given game, reducing his chances of snapping the streak as he moves from outing to outing.

Taking Friday’s win into account, the 30-year-old has complemented his 0.00 ERA with a 1.01 FIP, 0.00 BB/9, and 9.45 SO/9 through his first 20 innings of 2019. He’ll likely get the chance to extend his historic streak as the Astros continue their series with the Red Sox through Sunday.

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.