James Paxton and the Yankees stay alive
The Yankees headed into Friday’s matchup against the Astros with their backs against the wall, having lost three in a row and suddenly down 3-1 in the series. With Justin Verlander on the mound, things looked bleak but the Yankees were able to get the job done and force this series back to Houston. It didn’t start off well for New York with James Paxton getting hit around a bit and struggling with control in the first. Houston only got one run out of that inning, though, which felt like an issue at the time and certainly proved to be just that. The Yankees came right back out in the bottom half of the inning and got a solo, leadoff home run from DJ LeMahieu and then later Aaron Hicks smashed a three-run shot of his own. That made it 4-1 Yankees, and it would stay that way. Both sides saw their pitching dominate the rest of the way, with Houston getting a few chances against Paxton but continuously failing to come through. That 4-1 score would end up being the final, and these two teams will head back to Houston on Saturday as New York tries to force a Game Seven.
Sox Spin: Same as it’s been for this entire series. We obviously want the Yankees to lose, but I still maintain the longer this series goes the better the chances are for Washington in the World Series as they’ll more effectively be able to rest and line up their rotation.
MLB Proposing radical changes to the minors
J.J. Cooper of Baseball America dropped a huge report on Friday about the negotiations for the Professional Baseball Agreement between Major League Baseball and the minor-league clubs. This is something I certainly have never really thought about and taken for granted, but according to Cooper this is the most contested these negotiations have been since 1990. There’s a whole lot in this report and I suggest reading it for yourself, but the jist is that MLB is floating a potential proposal that would radically alter the way minor-league systems work. The big takeaway is that they would be cutting the number of teams (not including the complex leagues) down from 160 to 120. They say this is because they care about the well-being of the players and the quality of the facilities, but it’s obviously about making more money. As others have pointed out, MLB is likely seeing the writing on the wall about their low pay for minor-league players, and substantially cutting the number of minor leaguers is a great way to pay individuals more and and still make the same amount of money. The basic idea seems to be eliminating the short-season leagues altogether, with some shuffling around of full-season leagues to make more geographic sense. Like I said, there’s a whole lot more to this report than I can just put in this little writeup, so check out link above for yourself. It should also be mentioned that this is far from a sure thing, so don’t take it as a given this will actually happen.
Sox Spin: For the Red Sox, they only have one short-season team that is not on a complex. That’s obviously the Spinners in Lowell. There are two ways this could go if the proposal actually did go through. First, they could be moved up to a full-season league. It’s not clear to me how likely that is from the report, but they do have a good facility and at least on the surface that seems to be MLB’s biggest concern. The other is that they enter a new sort of independent league with the other teams that didn’t make the cut. That would clearly be a big blow to the Spinners and the Lowell community. As someone who grew up in the area and went to countless Spinners games as a kid and an adult, I would be devastated. This is all, frankly, garbage.