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Brewers, Nationals lineups for NL Wild Card game

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The postseason will officially be under way shortly after 8 PM ET tonight as the Nationals host the Brewers for the National League Wild Card game, broadcast on TBS. The Nationals finished four games behind the Braves in the NL East with a 93-69 record while the 89-73 Brewers narrowly lost the NL Central to the Cardinals by two games.

Brewers

RF Trent Grisham – .231/.328/.410, 6 HR, 24 RBI (183 PA)
C Yasmani Grandal – .246/.380/.468, 28 HR, 77 RBI (632 PA)
3B Mike Moustakas – .254/.329/.516, 35 HR, 87 RBI (584 PA)
2B Keston Hiura – .303/.368/.570, 15 HR, 59 RBI (348 PA)
LF Ryan Braun – .285/.343/.505, 22 HR, 75 RBI (508 PA)
1B Eric Thames – .247/.346/.505, 25 HR, 61 RBI (459 PA)
CF Lorenzo Cain – .260/.325/.372, 11 HR, 48 RBI (623 PA)
SS Orlando Arcia – .223/.283/.350, 15 HR, 59 RBI (546 PA)
P Brandon Woodruff – 11-3, 3.62 ERA, 143 K, 30 BB (121 2/3 IP)

The Brewers advanced all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS last year where they were ultimately defeated by the Dodgers. They will be trying to make an even deeper run this year without reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in September.

Fun fact: Now that Bruce Bochy has retired, Brewers skipper Craig Counsell is now the longest-tenured manager in the National League.

Nationals

SS Trea Turner – .298/.353/.497, 19 HR, 57 RBI (569 PA)
RF Adam Eaton – .279/.365/.428, 15 HR, 49 RBI (656 PA)
3B Anthony Rendon – .319/.412/.598, 34 HR, 126 RBI (646 PA)
LF Juan Soto – .282/.401/.548, 34 HR, 110 RBI (659 PA)
1B Howie Kendrick – .344/.395/.572, 17 HR, 62 RBI (370 PA)
2B Asdrúbal Cabrera – .323/.404/.565, 6 HR, 40 RBI (146 PA)
C Kurt Suzuki – .264/.324/.486, 17 HR, 63 RBI (309 PA)
CF Victor Robles – .255/.326/.419, 17 HR, 65 RBI (617 PA)
P Max Scherzer – 11-7, 2.92 ERA, 243 K, 33 BB (172 1/3 IP)

The Nationals haven’t advanced past the NLDS since 1981, when they were the Expos. They will have to get past the Brewers first and then will have the privilege of facing the Dodgers, who won 106 games, in the NLDS. With Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg, and Aníbal Sánchez, this is perhaps their best iteration of a starting rotation since their run began in 2012.

Another fun fact: The visiting team is 5-2 in the NL Wild Card game since the playoffs added the Wild Card game in 2012. The visiting team has gone 3-4 in the AL Wild Card game.

The winner of tonight’s Wild Card game will travel to Los Angeles, opening the NLDS against the Dodgers on Thursday night.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: