Rusty Hardin

Prosecutors are worried about Roger Clemens’ lawyer


The Roger Clemens prosecutors are asking the judge to grill Clemens to make sure he’s aware that his attorney — Rusty Hardin — may have a conflict of interest in that Hardin briefly represented Andy Pettitte back when the Mitchell Report came out.  My assumption is that the prosecutors are trying to make sure that, if they get a conviction, Clemens can’t later appeal on the ground that his lawyer was unable to effectively cross-examine Pettitte, who will likely be a major witness against him at trial.

I’m fairly certain that Clemens is well-aware of this potential conflict, what with the fact that Brian McNamee’s lawyer had tried to disqualify Hardin from representing Clemens in the defamation case down in Texas nearly three years ago.  Motions were filed and a decision issued with the judge saying that there was no problem with Hardin cross-examining Pettitte. At least as long as Pettitte himself didn’t object to it.  It’s Pettitte’s confidences with Hardin that would potentially be at risk, after all. He’s the one who would be damaged the most.  And to date he hasn’t cared.

And probably for good reason:  Hardin represented Pettitte for something like four whole days around the time the Mitchell Report was released, during which only a couple of conversations were had.  Pettitte didn’t like Hardin’s strategy so he left him, hired competent counsel and hasn’t really looked back.  Since then, Pettitte has testified in depositions and in Congressional hearings, all of which Hardin was part of.  Really, if there is anything left unexplored in the Pettitte-Hardin relationship, it’s not worth exploring.

And now, unlike the player who stuck with Hardin, the biggest problem that Andy Pettitte has is deciding whether to accept an eight figure deal to play baseball in 2011 or to stay home in his mansion with his adoring family.

Frankly, I imagine he’s just fine with the present circumstances.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.