The Daily News, Yahoo! not letting the facts get in the way of sensationalism

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I predicted this yesterday, but I awake this morning to find two outlets — the New York Daily News and Yahoo! — each going with completely inaccurate takes on the Andy Pettitte testimony today.  First the Daily News:

source:

Then Yahoo!

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He neither backpedaled on nor backed off his prior testimony.  He was entirely consistent.  The Daily News attempts to argue that his testimony differed from an affidavit he offered regarding the 1999 conversation, but that affidavit was not inconsistent with the testimony. It merely left out — for strategic reasons — the part in which Pettitte said in 2008 just as he says now that he thought he misheard Clemens in 1999.

Les Carpenter’s piece in Yahoo! is way worse.  He is all but saying that Pettitte perjured himself in order to help his friend, Roger Clemens.

He says “Prosecutors did not expect Pettitte to say the very thing Clemens has maintained all along, that he “misremembers” the earlier conversation,” when in fact they had every reason to expect it given that Pettitte testified to that exact effect four years ago.  He says that Petttitte “suddenly” had doubts about the 1999 conversation, when there was nothing sudden about it. He calls Pettitte’s testimony “a life preserver,” implying that it was unexpected help to Clemens when, in reality, it was merely Pettitte being consistent with prior testimony and the help to Clemens was the unexpected benefit.

Worse, Carpenter basically accuses Pettitte being some weak-willed slug, changing his story because Clemens was glaring at him:

But how much does Pettitte know? It’s hard to imagine his memory has turned hazy, yet Clemens is a hard man to defy. Even in court, intensity radiates from him. Clemens’ eyes never left Pettitte as his old friend sat on the stand. Pettitte could not return the gaze.

This is a disgrace on Carpenter’s part. He’s essentially calling Pettitte a liar and later chalks it all up to Pettitte desperately wanting to help his friend.

And maybe Pettitte has always wanted to help Clemens if he could.  But there’s a big difference between saying that and saying that he changed his sworn testimony in order to do it.  He clearly did not, and saying that he did is not just a matter of offering a strong opinion about what may be in Andy Pettitte’s heart. It is a clear misrepresentation of legal fact and anyone who maintains it in print should be required to print a retraction.

Thanks to Tamar Chalket at IIATMS for pointing them out. And for a good take at just how frustrating and common it is for the media to totally whiff on what’s going on in legal proceedings.

Matt Boyd earns No. 5 spot in Tigers’ starting rotation

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Matt Boyd has earned the No. 5 spot in the Tigers’ starting rotation, which means veteran Anibal Sanchez will pitch out of the bullpen, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reported on Wednesday.

Boyd, 26, pitched well this spring, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 21/0 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings. The lefty’s numbers in the majors last year weren’t nearly as good.

Sanchez, 33, is coming off of the worst season of his career and overall didn’t have a great spring, putting up a 5.03 ERA with a 20/4 K/BB ratio in 19 2/3 innings. He came on strong at the end, however, tossing 14 consecutive scoreless innings. Manager Brad Ausmus didn’t rule out the possibility of Sanchez returning to the rotation at some point.

2017 Preview: Oakland Athletics

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Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Oakland Athletics.

The A’s aren’t gonna be that great this year, you guys. Sorry about that, but it’s true. In this it will be much like last year.

But it will look a bit different than last year at least. The A’s signed Santiago CasillaMatt JoyceTrevor Plouffe and Rajai Davis to a combined $33.25 million in contracts. I don’t see how that makes them appreciably better, but they will be different.

Khris Davis is the biggest offensive weapon. He hit 42 homers last year. Marcus Semien hit 27. And despite those heroics, the A’s offense was dead last in the AL in 2016. Rajai Davis gives them a stolen base threat and Joyce had nice resurgence in a little under 300 plate appearances, but I’m not seeing how this crew is all that better than they were. I mean, I’m sure Trevor Plouffe is a nice young man, but he’s not an offensive difference maker. The biggest chance for improvement comes from a full season of Ryon Healy, who hit quite well in 72 games last year. He was also moved off of third base for Plouffe and into the DH role at the age of 25, so temper your expectations.

Turning to the rotation, Sonny Gray at the top of things looked great heading into last season, but then he regressed badly, posting an unsightly 5.69 ERA in 2016. The A’s don’t need him to be be third in the Cy Young voting again, but they certainly need him to be their ace, and last year he wasn’t that. He’ll get a late start to the season due to a back injury — he may miss the entire first month — so things are already starting off badly.

After Gray comes Sean Manaea, who debuted last year and improved as the season went along. Kendall Graveman was serviceable last year, but he doesn’t miss many bats and it’s hard to pitch well in this league when you’re striking out as few batters as Graveman does. Jharel Cotton is an intriguing fourth starter. He came over in the Rich Hill deal and continued his excellent work in the minors before a late season callup. He is homer-prone but doesn’t walk a ton of guys. Definitely a guy to watch for the future. Andrew Triggs is a swingman who was pressed into the rotation late in the year. The A’s liked what they saw, but he has been a reliever all through the minors. Organizations tend to do that to guys who they don’t think will be decent starters, so I’m not sure what a few starts at the end of a season really mean.

If Gray bounces back to 2015 form, Graveman continues to be lucky on batted balls and the other guys deliver on their small-sample-size promise, hey, things aren’t too bad! But when was the last time that kind of five-for-five gamble paid off? Odds are on a nice surprise here, some stasis there and some regression and/or growing pains mixed in to form a pretty meh rotation. And given that the A’s defense was terrible last year and doesn’t look all that better this year, look for a lot of unearned runs. And earned runs that should’ve been unearned.

The bullpen features some notable names — Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle, John Axford and Santiago Casilla have all been closers in the past — with Ryan DullLiam Hendriks and Raul Alcantara providing more depth. Dull is anything but his name. His excellent K/BB ratio last year — 73/15 in 74.1 innings — is downright interesting. These guys will inherit a lot of deficits instead of leads, however, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the A’s trade off a one or two of the ~Proven Closers~ at the deadline as well.

The A’s won 69 games last year. There are three contenders in the division who are significantly better and an Angels team that employs some considerably more talented players despite its obvious flaws. The A’s have just as many flaws and top out with Khris Davis, a rebound candidate starting the year on the DL as their best starter and some interesting young arms. All of that adds up to a long, long summer from where I’m sitting.

Prediction: Fifth place, American League West.