Gerrit Cole dominant as Astros defeat Nationals 7-1 in World Series Game 5

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After emerging victorious over the Nationals 7-1 in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night, the Astros are one win away from their second championship in three years. Gerrit Cole dominated on the mound while Yordan Álvarez, Carlos Correa, and George Springer each contributed a two-run homer in the winning effort.

Joe Ross got the start for the Nationals, filling in for the injured Max Scherzer. He was better than his final line indicated. The Astros got on the board against him in the second inning when Yuli Gurriel reached on an infield single with one out and Álvarez slugged a two-run home run to center field. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad pitch. Ross hit his target with a 95 MPH sinker, but Álvarez just put a good swing on it.

Álvarez, who didn’t start in Games 3 or 4 due to the absence of the DH rule, continued to swing a hot bat in the fourth inning, keeping the inning alive with a two-out single. Carlos Correa promptly brought him home with a two-run homer of his own to make it 4-0. All told, Ross threw 78 pitches across five innings, allowing the four runs on five hits and a pair of walks with one strikeout.

The Nationals had Cole’s number in Game 1 of the World Series, but not so much in Game 5. Cole held the opposition scoreless through six innings. Juan Soto finally put the Nationals on the board with a solo homer to center field with one out in the seventh. Cole was able to make it out of the seventh inning without any further damage, though he did have a bit of help from home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. That was Cole’s final inning of work, ending the night on the hook for one run on three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts on 110 pitches.

Joe Smith took over for Cole in the eighth. He worked around a leadoff Yan Gomes single with a strikeout, a line out, and a foul pop out to send the game to the ninth inning.

Just for good measure, George Springer hit the Astros’ third two-run homer of the night, ripping a no-doubt shot to left field off of Daniel Hudson, upping the score to 7-1. Closer Roberto Osuna had been warming up, but the added insurance turned the dial to Ryan Pressly for the bottom of the ninth. Pressly made quick work of the middle of the Nats’ lineup to put the game in the books, getting Anthony Rendon to line out to right field, Soto to strike out, and Howie Kendrick to ground out.

The World Series heads back to Houston for Game 6 — and Game 7, if necessary. The two clubs will take Monday off to travel before resuming play on Tuesday. Stephen Strasburg will oppose Justin Verlander.

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

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
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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: