More on Jose Canseco's subpoena

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Canseco testifying.jpgThe New York Times has an article on the grand jury subpoena Jose Canseco tweeted about yesterday.  Three takeaways:

A lawyer for Canseco said Tuesday that he had been contacted three weeks
ago by a federal prosecutor in Washington who was seeking to serve
Canseco with a subpoena. The prosecutor wanted Canseco to testify before
a grand jury that is investigating whether Clemens committed perjury
when he testified before Congress in February 2008 and denied using
steroids and human growth hormone, the lawyer Greg Emerson said.

Since Canseco knew what this was about beforehand, it means that the shock and surprise in his tweets yesterday was phony, and no doubt calculated for publicity purposes. Should have known better given that he’s the kind of guy who likes to call press conferences every time another player is outed as a steroid user.  Someone remind of this the next time I play up Canseco’s tweets, OK?  Also:

Canseco has repeatedly spoken and written of his own drug use and has
linked several ballplayers to performance-enhancing drugs in two books.
However, he has not directly tied Clemens to the use of illegal
substances. In the book “Vindicated,” which was published in 2008, Canseco said that
he had concluded that Clemens did not use steroids or H.G.H.

I had forgotten that Canseco largely defended — or at least did not directly implicate — Roger Clemens with respect to steroid use in his book and in an affidavit connected to the Clemens congressional testimony. In the comments yesterday a lot of you referenced Canseco’s track record for apparent honesty when it comes to PED allegations.  But couldn’t Canseco’s grand jury testimony end up challenging what most of you think of Clemens and/or Canseco?

After all, if Jose sticks to what he said previously, Clemens’ story is bolstered somewhat, no? I mean, Jose has the goods on everyone, it seems, and given that Roger and Jose were closer that Jose and most of the other people he named, if Canseco says Clemens didn’t do PEDs, doesn’t that mean something?  At the same time, if Canseco ends up implicating Clemens before the grand jury — contradicting what he’s said on numerous occasions — does it not throw into question all of the other non-confirmed claims in the books he wrote and the interviews he gave?  Finally:

Emerson was present when Canseco met with federal agents in April 2008,
two months after the Congressional committee asked the Department of
Justice to investigate Clemens for perjury. At the meeting, Canseco was asked about Clemens’s use of
performance-enhancing drugs and reiterated that he had no knowledge,
Emerson said. Canseco was also asked about Alex Rodriguez’s ties to performance-enhancing drugs and that of other
high-profile baseball players, the lawyer said.

For those keeping score at home, Alex Rodriguez will be questioned by federal agents on Friday. Less than two weeks later, Jose Canseco will be in front of a grand jury where, presumably, he will once again be asked questions about Alex Rodriguez, just as he was in 2008 (and believe me, if a grand jury witness has ever been questioned about something by federal agents before, the prosecutor will ask him about it again).

Hey Mike Lupica! Still want to take shots at A-Rod for “lawyering up? Because from where I’m sitting, A-Rod’s decision to consult with counsel before heading up to Buffalo the day after tomorrow seems like a pretty savvy move if you ask me.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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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
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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.