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All four Division Series could be decided on Monday

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Monday is going to be a big day for baseball, not only because there will be close to 12 hours of nonstop playoff action, but because all four Division Series could be decided on the same day. As Christopher Kamka of NBC Sports Chicago notes, the only time all four Division Series were decided on the same day was October 5, 1996.

Here’s what’s on the schedule:

1:05 PM ET – Astros @ Rays, ALDS Game 3 (MLB Network)

Astros lead 2-0

The Astros convincingly won both games of the series thus far. Justin Verlander tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 while Gerrit Cole was even better in his Game 2 start, fanning 15 Rays over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. The Rays will have to stave off elimination by besting Zack Greinke. Between the Diamondbacks and Astros, Greinke posted an aggregate 2.93 ERA during the regular season. The Rays will have their best starter on the mound in Charlie Morton, who tossed five solid innings in the AL Wild Card game against the Athletics.

3:07 PM ET – Braves @ Cardinals, NLDS Game 4 (TBS)

Braves lead 2-1

After a ninth-inning rally to come from behind and win 3-1 in Game 3, the Braves will try to defeat the Cardinals again on Monday to advance into the NLCS for the first time since 2001. Not including this year, the Braves have been in the playoffs eight times since 2002, getting booted out of the NLDS seven times and out of the NL Wild Card game once. The Cardinals will send Dakota Hudson to the mound for his postseason debut. The Braves haven’t announced their starter yet. It will be either Julio Teheran or NLDS Game 1 starter Dallas Keuchel. Teheran was added to the postseason roster after Chris Martin suffered an oblique injury. Keuchel limited the Cardinals to one run over 4 2/3 innings on Thursday.

6:40 PM ET – Dodgers @ Nationals, NLDS Game 4 (TBS)

Dodgers lead 2-1

The Dodgers’ offense went white hot exploding for 10 total runs — nine against the Nationals’ bullpen — in their Game 3 win. They’re looking to advance to the NLCS for a fourth consecutive year while the Nationals are hoping they can advance out of the NLDS for the first time since moving to the nation’s capital and becoming the Nationals. Their last NLCS appearance in franchise history came in 1981 when the Expos lost in five games to… the Dodgers. The Nationals’ playoff hopes rest in the right arm of Max Scherzer, who will start opposite lefty Rich Hill.

8:40 PM ET – Yankees @ Twins, ALDS Game 3 (FS1)

Yankees lead 2-0

The Yankees continue to serve as the Twins’ immortal playoff demon. Here’s a brief history:

  • 2003 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 1
  • 2004 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 1
  • 2009 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 0
  • 2010 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 0
  • 2017 AL Wild Card game: Yankees win 8-4
  • 2019 ALDS: Yankees lead 2 games to 0

This series hasn’t been particularly close, either. The Yankees won Game 1 by a 10-4 margin and Game 2 by an 8-2 score. The Twins’ starting pitching has been terrible and the bullpen has been just as bad. The two starters, José Berríos and Randy Dobnak, combined to allow seven runs over six innings. The bullpen has yielded 11 runs over 10 innings of work. The Twins will hope Jake Odorizzi can keep their playoff hopes alive, but he’ll have to overcome Yankees starter Luis Severino to do so. Severino returned in late September after missing almost the whole season due to shoulder and lat injuries. He’ll be making his 2019 playoff debut.

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: