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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pickoff Moves, Bedtime Edition

No, Thank You, We Don't Want The Division Either: Nationals 5, Dodgers 4

Three home runs and the Dodgers still can't carve out a win from the floppiest quadruple-A team in the National League. 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position (worst offenders: Matt Kemp and Nomar), ten left on base, and the team's eighth straight road loss. Jonathan Broxton looked good in the seventh — but, wait, that's not the trouble inning, is it?

Greg Maddux took the loss, his second in a Dodgers uniform this year, though he wasn't especially bad. Two of the runs scored against were unearned thanks to his own fielding error; signs of the Apocalypse, or just another lost season, take your pick.

Yahoo boxDodgers.com recap

Arrgh: A's 6, Angels 5

Joe Saunders had nothing and injured his pitching hand (in a fielding incident during the game? I didn't hear that part), the Angels offense tried but couldn't convert with runners in scoring position ... where have I heard that before?

As if that weren't enough, Howie Kendrick left the game early with a tight hamstring, and Erick Aybar was seen during the telecast grabbing his hamstring during the game. Update: He, too, is apparently day-to-day with a sore hamstring. Juan Rivera played second base for the first time in his major league career, and if his B-Ref minor league page is to be believed, his professional career, too.

It was the Angels' third series loss of their last four. Enough with the damn sleepwalking already.

Yahoo boxAngels recap

Eliminated: Twins 6, Mariners 5

At least the Mariners were eliminated from the division race. The Twins rallied back from a 4-3 deficit in the top of the eighth to make it 6-4, with scoring capped by Brian Buscher's RBI single that plated two. As I projected yesterday, the Mariners are the first team eliminated in any division — in fact, in any race

Yahoo box

Angels Option Bulger, Call Up Reggie Willits

The Angels optioned Jason Bulger to AAA Salt Lake and called up Reggie Willits prior to today's game.

Scott Boras Replies To The Pirates

Relevant to Scott Boras's bizarre negotiation stance with regards to the contract of Pedro Alvarez (and perhaps another Boras client, Eric Hosmer) comes Boras' not-very-long-awaited response (via BTF):
Scott Boras phoned from California to give this quote: "The Pirates violated Major League Baseball rules and have issued a nearly 600-word statement, made their actions look to be my fault. I think it's time for the Pirates and Mr. Coonelly to come clean with the fans of Pittsburgh and let everyone know about their dealings with Mr. Alvarez."
Rob Neyer ($) adds more to the "Boras is looking to enforce his negotiating leverage" angle:
You see where this leads, right? If Boras didn't get his client a single extra dollar, why bother? With another agent, you might get the same money without Boras' baggage. At least that's what some top amateur players might be thinking next spring. With their August 15 deadline, MLB backed Boras into a corner. With their private negotiations with Alvarez, the Pirates poked Boras in the groin with a sharp stick. It's not surprising that he's trying to poke back.

Will it work? I don't have any idea. Boras doesn't seem to occupy the high ground, though. If Alvarez remains on the restricted list, he can't play for any MLB-affiliated team, or be drafted again next year. I suspect Boras is simply hoping to squeeze a few hundred thousand more dollars from the Pirates, which would make Alvarez the richest of the 2008 draft picks. Because barring a favorable court ruling, I don't see how this one has a happy ending for Boras and his client.

"[A]s far as I'm concerned," Neyer concludes, Boras' retirement "can't happen soon enough." Hear, hear.

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