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  • 15 July 2019
    Today’s players are the best they’ve ever been and technology
    plays a part. MLB just made the labor situation worse. Overreacting to the first
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    About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub 鉁昅LB newsMLB Bullets is hip to the
    technologyNew ,24commentsToday’s
    players are the best they’ve ever been and technology plays a part. MLB just
    made the labor situation worse. Overreacting to the first weekend.
    CDTShareTweetShareShareMLB Bullets is hip to the technologyJeff Hanisch-USA
    TODAY SportsGood morning. Try to be nice to everyone. We’re all upset over the
    weekend.You know, there’s a lot of crappy news that I have to link to today and
    don’t worry, I’ll get to it. But let’s start out with this optimistic piece by
    Ben Lindbergh that demonstrates that we’re watching the greatest baseball
    players in the history of the game and it’s not really even up for debate. I
    mean, you can debate whether Adam Ottavino would strike out Babe Ruth every
    single time, but there’s little debate that Ruth never had to face a pitcher as
    good as Ottavino in his entire career. And there are many pitchers in the game
    today even better than Ottavino.Tom Verducci reports on how teams are using
    modern technology to make those players as good as they possibly can be. The
    game has changed a lot in just the past five years and is likely to change even
    more in the next five. Possibly as soon as this season, according to people
    quoted by Verducci, some teams are going to have the ability to have their
    hitters face pitchers through virtual reality. (And by the way, the article says
    that only the Dodgers spend more money on research and technology than the
    Cubs.)One of those great players of today is Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper
    and Katie Baker has a profile of Harper as the rare baseball “celebrity” in the
    game today. Turning to the less positive news. Jeff Passan has a piece that’s
    well worth your while on the state of the game today, including the economics,
    the precarious labor situation and the “existential dread” that MLB faces in the
    competition for the next generation of eyeballs. Marc Carig reports that MLB has
    been handing out a “championship belt” to the front office team that does the
    most to keep down the salaries of their arbitration-eligible players. (The
    Athletic sub. req.) At least one player said that he was ready to strike
    tomorrow. If you can’t read The Athletic article or you just want more
    information, Jesse Yomtov reports that the union issued a strong condemnation of
    this gloating.Passan tells one anecdote about Padres Eric Hosmer and Manny
    Machado lobbying owner Ron Fowler to bring shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. up to
    the majors on Opening Day. Fowler insists the dinner described by Passan never
    happened and that the decision on Tatis was made by him and his front office
    alone. It turns out that MLB doesn’t just treat their minor league athletes
    poorly. As this piece by Laura Wagner details, employees of MLB Advanced Media
    were treated like dirt as well. (To be
    clear Mark
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    , MLBAM and MLB are run as separate entities, sort of.
    MLBAM is jointly owned by MLB owners.)Jay Rigdon has some explanation as to why
    MLB is interested in purchasing the former Fox Sports Regional Sports
    Networks.Collin Kannenberg writes about the approach broadcasters take to
    integrating modern statistics into their telecasts.The Red Sox and shortstop
    Xander Bogaerts are finalizing a six-year, $120 million contract extension. This
    is on top of the $12 million that Bogaerts is scheduled to make this season.The
    Padres are talking with free agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel. I know you don’t want
    to hear this, but Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich tied an MLB record by
    homering in his first four games of the season.With the first weekend of the
    regular season under our belts, it’s time for our first butcher’s bill of the
    season. Brewers closer Corey Knebel will undergo Tommy John surgery and is out
    for all of 2019.Angels outfielder Justin Upton will miss eight-to-twelve weeks
    after ramming his toe into the outfield wall at Angels Stadium.And Rockies
    infielder (and former Cub) Daniel Murphy will head to the IL (still getting used
    to that) with a fractured finger. Mariners closer Hunter Strickland will miss
    “at least couple of months” with a lat strain. Unfortunately, there was another
    incident at Dodger Stadium as a man is on life-support with a fractured skull
    after an attack in the parking lot.I linked to this earlier when he was
    arrested, but former three-time All-Star John Wetteland has now been indicted on
    three charges of aggravated sexual assault on a child. The child in question was
    four when the assaults allegedly began.What good is the Opening Weekend of
    baseball if we don’t overreact? Dayn Perry has some “snap judgements” from the
    early games.Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale had a terrible first start and Jon Tayler
    evaluates whether there is real reason for concern over Sale.R.J. Anderson
    reacts to the early returns on some players who switched teams this winter.The
    Phillies are off to a good start with a sweep of the Braves. Devan Fink points
    out the strength of the depth of the Phillies lineup.Mets outfielder Brandon
    Nimmo reminds Sun Min Kim of another secret player from baseball’s past . . .oh
    what the heck, I’ll spoil it for you. It’s Bobby Abreu, which is high praise
    indeed.Padres rookie pitcher Chris Paddack was strong in his MLB debut. .
    .Except he had what he thought was his first major league hit and his first
    major league RBI taken away when he was thrown out at first base by right
    fielder Gerardo Parra. Those 9-3 putouts are always embarrassing. Alden Gonzalez
    tells the story of Angels outfielder Mike Trout’s career though the backs of his
    baseball cards.Jack Todd has an update on the efforts to bring the Expos back to
    Montr茅al. They’re making progress. The Phillie Phanatic ambushed Alex Rodriguez
    in the ESPN booth last night.Bryce Harper wore Phillie Phanatic cleats on
    Opening Day, so the Phillie Phanatic responded by wearing shoes with Harper’s
    face on them.In case you weren’t watching yesterday’s game, you missed an
    embarrassing loss. You also missed Randy Rosario catching a Kyle Schwarber home
    run in his cap.Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier wore his Spring Training
    uniform for Sunday’s game by accident. Although he claimed he was trying to make
    it warmer. And finally, here’s one of the worst first pitches of all time as
    “Roxy the dinosaur” tried to throw the pitch and ended up just dropping the ball
    instead. And tomorrow will be a better day than
    today Deion
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    , Buster. Atlanta Braves (26-22, second in the NL East) vs.
    San Francisco Giants (20-26, fifth in the NL West)San Francisco; Tuesday, 9 p.m.
    EDTPITCHING PROBABLES: Braves: Julio Teheran (3-4, 3.88 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 56
    strikeouts) Giants: Shaun Anderson (3-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5
    strikeouts)Article continues below ...BOTTOM LINE: The Giants are 9-13 on their
    home turf. The San Francisco pitching staff as a whole has an ERA of 4.48. Jeff
    Samardzija leads the team with a 3.69 ERA.The Braves are 12-10 on the road. The
    Atlanta offense has compiled a .260 batting average as a team this season, good
    for fifth in the National League. Freddie Freeman leads the team with a mark of
    .319. The Braves won the last meeting 4-1. Mike Soroka recorded his fifth
    victory and Ronald Acuna Jr. went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and two
    RBIs for Atlanta. Andrew Suarez registered his first loss for San Francisco.TOP
    PERFORMERS: Brandon Belt leads the Giants with seven home runs and is batting
    .236. Pablo Sandoval is 9-for-25 with two
    doubles Alen
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    , four home runs and seven RBIs over the last 10 games for
    San Francisco.Acuna Jr. leads the Braves with 31 RBIs and is batting .297.
    Freeman is 14-for-35 with two doubles, a triple, four home runs and seven RBIs
    over the last 10 games for Atlanta.LAST 10 GAMES: Giants: 4-6, .214 batting
    average, 5.06 ERA, outscored by 17 runsBraves: 8-2, .271 batting average, 3.42
    ERA, outscored opponents by 13 runsGiants Injuries: Johnny Cueto: 60-day IL
    (elbow).Braves Injuries: Chad Sobotka: 10-day IL (abdomen), Darren O’Day: 10-day
    IL (forearm), Ender Inciarte: 10-day IL (lumbar strain).