Peavy, A-Gone and beer-fueled trade rumors

Leave a comment

jake-peavy-091123.jpgAbout a week ago, rumors cropped up that the Chicago White Sox were looking into dealing for San Diego Padres stud Adrian Gonzalez.

There didn’t seem to be much to the rumors. The Chicago Tribune gave credence to a report that the White Sox, Angels and Padres had discussed a three-way deal that would send Gonzalez to Chicago and Paul Konerko to Anaheim. Then the Chicago Sun-Times trashed the idea, and the whole thing kind of went away.

But then just the other day, a Chicago White Sox blogger wrote about his “Evening With Jake Peavy,” in which the White Sox pitcher allegedly dropped this bombshell during a friendly encounter at a bar:

“We’re trying to get Adrian Gonzalez right now too.” I was like…”Really? I heard about that, but didn’t know if it was true.” He nodded and took another drink.

Peavy, of course, is a former teammate of Gonzalez, so it’s possible he has some inside information on trade talks. It’s also possible he simply saw the reports that everyone else saw. And thirdly, it’s possible that Peavy didn’t say it at all.

Even the author admits that “I’m sure there are some things about the meeting that I might be forgetting. I’ve tried to remember as much as I can, but I was also slightly buzzed at the time.”

It reminds of an encounter I had with a big-league pitcher back in 1997. I was out with some friends drinking beers, watching a cover band play classic rock tunes and having a nice, mellow night. I remember the band had a guest guitar player who didn’t really fit in with the rest of the scruffy group.

This guy wore a blue sport coat, had a $100 haircut and flashed a million-dollar smile. And although he strummed his Fender and moved his lips into the mic, my ears couldn’t pick out either his voice or his instrument. Clearly this band had an astute sound man.

During a break in the action, the band introduced their guest as Mark Langston, a 13-year veteran at the time who would hang on for a couple more years before calling it quits with a 179-158 record and 3.97 ERA.

My friends and I being Mariners fans, we couldn’t miss a chance to talk to our former hero after the show, even though he had left the team eight years earlier in the famous trade that brought Randy Johnson to Seattle.

We chatted with Langston for a bit, asked him how he was doing, and if he was going to play in 1998. He said he felt good, and that it looked like he would be with the San Diego Padres in the upcoming season, which turned out to be true. Then he autographed my buddy’s shirt and said it was a pleasure meeting us. On his way out the door, he stopped and turned back to us, offered us his phone number, and told us to give him a call if we ever made it down to San Diego. Free tickets were ours for the taking.

Of course, it’s possible it didn’t quite happen that way. That was 12 years ago, and I was slightly buzzed at the time.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
Leave a comment

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Leave a comment

After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.