Sandy Alderson Citi Field

Sandy Alderson speaks about the Wilpon-Madoff drama

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Sandy Alderson was on a conference call today to discuss the R.A. Dickey signing. Everyone knew about that a week ago, however, so inevitably the topic of conversation switched to the whole Wilpons-have-to-sell-a-stake-of-the-Mets business. Alderson’s highlights:

“The plan and the course I’ve taken the last few months hasn’t been affected at all by any other outside factors. From my standpoint, when I interviewed and took this position I was of course aware of the preexisting involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point, and I would expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I’ve done over the last two months and I don’t expect it will have any impact on what I do over the next several, including into the 2012 offseason.”

He was asked specifically about whether it will impact the Mets’ strategy with Jose Reyes, who is poised to become a very expensive free agent next winter if he has anything approaching a decent year:

“Perhaps naively, I don’t expect this situation will be a hindrance in that regard. I fully expect that decision will be made as it would’ve been, in the best interest of the team on the field and the best interest of the overall financial health as well as baseball future of the Mets, as it would be with every other team. Again, I go back to the notion that if a potential financial issue exists, ownership is proactively addressing it, and I don’t expect any financial situation will inhibit negotiations with Jose.”

Finally, he was asked if he has any regrets taking the job now that he know how bad the Wilpons’ financial troubles are:

“You’re right to say some circumstances have changed, but would it have changed my decision? I don’t think so…From my standpoint, I’m not surprised by this development just because the Madoff situation was a backdrop to the Mets, a well-known backdrop. My enthusiasm and energy for this position and my confidence in the Mets is undiminished.”

I think you gotta take him at his word on the last bit: it wouldn’t change his decision.  Everyone knew there were issues with the Mets. Alderson is actually in a no-lose position because of it. If the Mets win, he’s a wizard.  If they lose, hey, the Wilpons tied his hands because they were broke.

As for the plan being the same in 2011 and 2012 and for the Jose Reyes decision to be made on the same basis as it would have been?  Well, whatever you say, Sandy.

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.