Didi Gregorius
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Yankees bulldoze Twins 8-2 with grand slam in ALDS Game 2

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The Yankees continue to dominate the American League Division Series on Saturday, capturing their second straight win by a score of 8-2 over the Twins. They have a decent chance of wrapping the whole series on Monday, as they stand to make a clean sweep with just one more win.

Masahiro Tanaka led the charge for the Yankees, striking out seven of 19 batters and allowing just one run on three hits. He held the Twins scoreless for three innings, briefly losing control of the game in the fourth after walking Nelson Cruz and allowing back-to-back singles to Eddie Rosario and Mitch Garver, the latter of whom converted his into Minnesota’s first run. The All-Star righty recovered with a hitless fifth, however, and the Yankees’ bullpen continued to keep the Twins off the basepaths with another three straight innings of one-hit ball.

It wasn’t just poor hitting and missed opportunities that led to the Twins’ 12th straight postseason defeat against the Yankees, however. As MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park pointed out, their batters received previous few hittable pitches over the course of the evening:

The Twins’ own pitching, meanwhile, couldn’t keep the Yankees’ loaded lineup at bay for long. Starter Randy Dobnak was forced out of the game after just 2 1/3 innings, during which he recorded four runs, two walks, and zero strikeouts. He was pulled in the middle of a disastrous third inning, not only allowing three straight baserunners, but watching his replacement — right-hander Tyler Duffey — give up back-to-back runs to Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres.

The worst was still to come: Didi Gregorius clubbed a grand slam, knocking in another four runs to give the Yankees a 7-0 boost — and complete control of the game. Another base hit from Brett Gardner pushed the score to 8-0 by the end of the third, and even taking the Twins’ shutout-snapping RBI and brief ninth-inning rally into account, it was enough of a cushion to enable the Yankees to coast the rest of the way.

The clubs still have to wait until Monday to decide a winner, when the series pivots to Minnesota for Game 3. If the Yankees fail to pull off a sweep, they’ll push the ALDS to its fourth game on Tuesday, with a potential tie-breaking Game 5 back in New York on Thursday.

Major League Baseball threatens to walk away from Minor League Baseball entirely

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The war between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball escalated significantly last night, with Minor League Baseball releasing a memo accusing Major League Baseball of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations and Major League Baseball responding by threatening to cut ties with Minor League Baseball entirely.

As you’re no doubt aware, negotiations of the next, 10-year Professional Baseball Agreement, which governs the relationship between the big leagues and the minors — and which is set to expire following the 2020 season — have turned acrimonious. Whereas past negotiations have been quick and uncontroversial, this time Major League Baseball presented Minor League Baseball with a plan to essentially contract 42 minor league baseball teams by eliminating their major league affiliation while demanding that Minor League Baseball undertake far more of the financial burden of player development which is normally the responsibility of the majors.

That plan became public in October when Baseball America reported on it, after which elected officials such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren began weighing in on the side of Minor League Baseball. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball were not happy with all of that and, on Wednesday, Manfred bashed Minor League Baseball for taking the negotiations public and accused Minor League Baseball of intransigence, saying the minors had assumed a “take it or leave it” negotiating stance.

Last night Minor League Baseball bashed back in the form of a four-page public memo countering Manfred’s claims, with point-point-by-point rebuttals of Major League Baseball’s talking points on various matters ranging from stadium facilities, team travel, and player health and welfare. You can read the memo in this Twitter thread from Josh Norris of Baseball America.

Major League Baseball responded with its own public statement last night. But rather than publicly rebut Minor League Baseball’s claims, it threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

So, in the space of about 48 hours, Manfred has gone from being angry at the existence of public negotiations to negotiating in public, angrily.

As for Minor League Baseball going public itself, one Minor League Baseball owner’s comments to the Los Angeles Times seems to sum up the thinking pretty well:

“Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams. That’s rich.”

Things, it seems, are going to get far worse before they get better. If, in fact, they do get better.