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The Major League Baseball batting average this April was a lousy .231, once again on pace to fall under the record low of .237 set in The Year of the Pitcher in 1968. After several years of surging home run totals, batters are slugging a measly .369 and averaging 4.03 runs per game, both lows for baseball since the strike-altered 1981 season. Ripple effects from labor strife are a suspect in this year’s offensive downturn. So, too, is the baseball, of course, along with caveats about cold weather and small samples. There’s one area of universal agreement, and it's that pitching has become exceptionally good.

NEW YORK — After years of speculation and failed legal arguments, the “Yankees letter” became public before Tuesday’s games began. It confirms that the Yankees’ players used the video replay room to steal signs and decode pitch sequences in 2015 and 2016 and tried to use runners on second base to relay them to the hitters. While it will not matter to fans of teams like the Astros and Red Sox, ...

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