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Angels toss combined no-hitter against Mariners

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The Angels honored late teammate Tyler Skaggs on Friday night, donning no. 45 jerseys and running a special video tribute to Skaggs prior to the game. Then, during a terrific 13-0 rout of the visiting Mariners, they did something even better to honor him: they threw a combined no-hitter.

Rookie right-hander Taylor Cole led the charge, hurling two perfect innings as an opener for fellow righty Félix Peña. Peña stepped in to replace Cole at the top of the third inning and extended the perfecto into the fifth, when he subsequently lost it on a four-pitch walk to Omar Narváez.

Behind Cole and Peña, the Angels lifted the pitching staff to an unbeatable 13-run lead. In an explosive seven-run first inning, Mike Trout was the first to strike, pouncing on a first-pitch sinker from Mike Leake and returning it to center field for a two-run homer — his 29th of the year.

The home run was followed by a smattering of runs from Andrelton Simmons, Justin Bour, and Dustin Garneau. Trout returned to drive in another two runs on an RBI double, giving the Mariners a substantial seven-run debt to work their way back from. Over the next six innings, Trout accounted for another two runs on a hit-by-pitch and double, while Justin Upton capped the 13-run spread in the seventh with a 388-foot two-RBI blast off of Seattle reliever Parker Markel.

Peña returned in the ninth to finish the no-hitter with just 76 pitches under his belt. He needed just five more pitches to do so, inducing a first-pitch flyout from Mac Williamson and back-to-back two-pitch groundouts from Dee Gordon and Mallex Smith.

The no-hitter is the first in Angels’ history since 2012, when Jered Weaver blanked the Twins 9-0 in May of that season. Coincidentally, 2012 was also the last year the Mariners found themselves on the losing end of a no-no, as then-White Sox starter Philip Humber had completed his first and only perfect game in Seattle the month before.

More than a special franchise moment, however, was the loving way the Angels paid homage to Skaggs throughout the night. Following Cole and Peña’s triumph, the team laid their no. 45 jerseys on the mound in Skaggs’ honor — a moment that most are calling ‘bigger than baseball,’ and rightfully so.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.