Gregg Doyel won't let facts get in the way of a good rant

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CBS Sports.com’s Gregg Doyel has never been one for subtlety, but in his latest column — in which he rips the MLBPA for having the audacity to defend one of its members — he shows his contempt for facts, reason and perspective as well:

The MLB players union has gone too far. Finally,
inarguably, the union has gone too far, and this money-seeking,
drug-allowing, behavior-excusing juggernaut must be stopped.

And it must be stopped by the New York Mets.

…Only, the rumors out of New York are that the players union would
fight the Mets should the team try to void K-Rod’s contract. To which I
say: Fight the union, Mets. Major advances in labor strife often revolve
around one person. Baseball has Curt Flood, the father of free agency.
He’s a hero to players.

K-Rod could be an antihero to the rest of us, those of us who are
tired of paying up to $500 for tickets, parking and concessions at a
single baseball game because the team’s payroll is $94 million and the
cleanup hitter earns $18 million and the fourth outfielder makes $6
million and all of those chumps look like they’ve used steroids, and
some of them no doubt have, and the union has been the hammer the
players have swung to make all of that happen.

Enough is enough.

The union must go down. Not all unions, just this one. This union,
this MLB players union that has run amok for too long, must go down.
Who’s K-Rod? He’s nobody, really. Just the captain of the ship.

I realize people don’t much care for unions, but Doyel’s screed is totally out to lunch. He blames the union for the Mets’ initial agreement to limit K-Rod’s suspension for two games, as if the team had no choice in the matter as to how to proceed with him.  He says that due process is a concept that “while it has its place” doesn’t apply to K-Rod because, well, I don’t know why.  He repeats the flat wrong canard that player salaries are to blame for high ticket prices.  He’s just eighteen shades of wrong here separate and apart from his opinion, to which he’s obviously entitled.

I love me some rabble rousing, but this is dumb “players are too rich and the union is evil!” rabble rousing.  I understand that such appeals draw in eyeballs and get a lot of “you go girls!” from the masses, but I’d like to believe that at some point all clicks aren’t created equal and ignorant, emotional appeals such as Doyel’s won’t continue to be rewarded.

But maybe like Doyel, my desire to believe something won’t make it actually come to pass.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.