The week that was

Jim Rodriguez: Some MLB teams have no chance in hell

The Pirates said goodbye to Gerrit Cole (above) and Andrew McCutcheon. Sbnation.com

What do Major League Baseball and World Wrestling Entertainment have in common? For a disturbing number of teams, the entrance music to WWE boss “Mr. McMahon” is a perfect description of the 2018 season: “No Chance in Hell.” 

Clubs like the Marlins and Pirates will be playing out the string as early as Opening Day. 

What must it feel like for a fan in Miami or Pittsburgh to know that your squad has no chance? I’m not talking winning a World Series or the division or squeezing in as the second Wild Card. Shoot, I’m not even talking about finishing above 500.

I thought revenue sharing was suppose to eliminate this kind of purging of a franchise. The luxury tax was installed to prevent the big clubs from spending smaller teams out of contention. Yet, I still see the Yankees trading for the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, Giancarlo Stanton, all the while taking on his quarter billion dollar salary.

Are the big spenders just smarter? Do they have better owners?

Disney recently bought BAMTech, Major League Baseball’s interactive and internet company for 1.58 billion dollars. As a result, each franchise is getting a check for a cool $50 million bucks this season.

The Marlins are using that money plus a scandalous payroll slash, to turn a profit. Not to win. Not to get better. But to make a profit. Another generation in south Florida gets to root for the visiting team at Marlins Park.

The butterfly effect is that players that remain on the team now want out. Christian Yelich’s agent says the relationship between his client and the Marlins is “irretrievably broken.” Whoa.

Josh Harrison said he wants out of Pittsburgh after the club traded their best pitcher, Gerrit Cole, and face of the franchise, Andrew McCutchen. Trying building a fan base on that foundation.

Clubs like the Marlins and Pirates will point to World Series titles in Chicago and Houston as the endgame. Yet for cities like Miami, Tampa, Oakland and now Pittsburgh the World Series is not realistic. It’s a sham. Teams are trying to catch lightning in bottle as opposed to building long term success. That’s like saying your retirement plans are winning the lottery. Good luck with that.

The lasting legacy of former Marlins owner, Jeffrey Loria, is not winning a World Series. It’s exposing the cold, soul crushing reality of the business of baseball. Loria openly questioned having a $100 million dollar payroll for a fourth place team. So after years and years of mediocrity, Loria sold the franchise for $1.6 billon dollars. His original investment was $30 million dollars.

That’s the real blueprint. That’s what Derek Jeter is trying to do in Miami. 

This is on MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred. This game is hard enough when you’re actually trying to win. It’s a shameful spectacle when you’re not trying to win.

Good luck you guys. Plenty of good seats available.

You can listen to my radio show, The Sports Bosses , weekdays at 10am ET on SBNation Radio. Follow me on Twitter @mediarodriguez

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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