Roger Clemens made his first public comments since being indicted on federal charges for perjury during an appearance on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Telethon yesterday.
“I’m not going to get into details. All I’m going to say is that I
learned a lot. My eyes were opened by some of the things that happened
and did not happen,” Clemens said. “We’re going to deal with it, guys, I
don’t really know what else to say. We’re going to deal with it and
have our day.”
“It really wasn’t a surprise. I mean, I got my eyes opened up quite a
bit when we went in there an the things that we went through before.
… I sent it out in a tweet [denying the charges]. I thought that was
the best way to go about it.”
Clemens also told WEEI that he no longer talks to Andy Pettitte and that he didn’t play baseball in order to go into the Hall of Fame.
On a related note, according to Mike Fish of ESPN.com, attorney Rusty Hardin said Clemens turned down a “very fair offer” from the government in return for pleading guilty several months ago.
“The government made a recommendation [for a plea agreement] and we
declined,” Hardin said. “I will tell you the recommendation they made
was a very good one if he was guilty. And if he was guilty we would have
jumped on it. Everybody has all this great solicitous advice, all the
media and you guys — ESPN. Nobody is answering the question: What if he
didn’t do it, what should he have done? And everybody wants him to
“I have even heard people suggest that even if he didn’t do it he
should have said he did so that everybody will move on. That is a
Stunningly enough, the offer reportedly included no jail time. It’s a bold move by Clemens, but a calculated one. We’re probably still a long way from this actually going to trial, but a conviction isn’t a sure thing, especially with Brian McNamee as a key — and rather shady — witness.
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.
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.
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.