Congratulations HBT readers: you’re officially my minions

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Jeff Pearlman unleashes a new load of incoherence over at SI today, explaining that it’s totally OK to ignore the concept of innocent until proven guilty when it comes to PEDs. Why? Because finding evidence of PED use is hard, man.  At least that’s what I take from it.  And he may be right.  Indeed, I went back and checked all of Pearlman’s baseball columns from the late 90s and early 00s for his expose about PEDs in the game and I couldn’t find any mention of the juice.  Those steroid-users are a wily bunch. They’ve even taken to erasing media archives!

But maybe I’m not being objective here. I might be blinded by … evil!

As NBC Sports’ Calcaterra rightly pointed out in a recent post, “There is just as much evidence against [stars like Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., Randy Johnson, etc.] as there is against Bagwell.” Again, the problem with the flawed logic of Calcaterra (one of the leaders of the leave-these-poor-guys-alone movement) and his minions is: There is no evidence. Against anyone. Because baseball made certain of it.

At least I think that makes me evil. At any rate I don’t know of any forces for good that have minions.  Oh well, I’ll accept that. Evil is way more fun anyway.

And don’t just sit there looking at me, minions. Go do minion things. Drag a fair maiden back to my lair or something. And for god’s sake, learn to shoot straight. I won’t be done dirty like Darth Vader was. If one Stormtrooper had half-decent aim that afternoon Luke, Han and Leia escaped the Death Star, he’d still be ruling the galaxy.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.