Jose Canseco is serious about making a comeback

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“He’s an extremely nice guy, very down to earth, and he knows the situation… He’s self-aware.”

What are “things probably no one else in the history of the world has said about Jose Canseco,” Alex?

Canseco is serious about making a comeback.  He has an agent and everything.  Adam Fusfeld has the story over at Business Insider this morning.  It’s well worth a read because it’s not Canseco himself talking. Instead it’s his agent, Nello Gamberdino, who is trying to land Canseco a job in Korea or Japan.  He has his work cut out for him:

“The main obstacle that I’ve had to get over as his agent is when you initially throw his name out there, people think it’s a joke. We’re trying to make it clear that, no, he’s not doing this as a publicity stunt; he’s doing this because he wants to play, he loves baseball, and he still feels he can contribute as a player. In this country where everyone has a second, third, and sometimes fourth chance at redemption, why can’t someone step up and help him? There are certainly guys in baseball that have done far worse than write a book.”

I don’t think the biggest obstacle is that people think Canseco is a joke. I think it’s the fact that he was below the Mendoza Line when he played in the independent leagues several years ago.  Baseball will forgive many sins.  If Canseco was younger and could still hit, he likely would have even been forgiven for his steroids books by now.  But he’s 46 and there’s no reasonable expectation that he can can contribute to competitive baseball any longer. And even if he could still play, Asian baseball leagues don’t do non-conformity and celebrity very well.

Good luck in your future endeavors, Mr. Canseco, but I think you’re far more likely to be drawing your major league pension than a check for actually playing baseball in the future.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.