The Clemens prosecutors continue to bungle their case

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Look, I don’t want someone coming into my mother’s basement to tell me how to do my job, so I’m sure the prosecutors in the Roger Clemens case don’t want to hear my armchair litigating either. But, hey, it’s kinda my thing, so I’m gonna do it anyway. And today’s theme: dudes, what are you thinking?

Yesterday the prosecutors brought forth yet another witness who harms their own case. The witness was Yankees GM Brian Cashman.  The upshot of Cashman’s testimony: Roger Clemens was an amazing athlete with drive and determination, Brian McNamee was someone the New York Yankees did not like and did not trust and, oh, we have no evidence whatsoever that Roger Clemens ever did steroids of any kind.

Cashman specifically noted that, yes, players often got B-vitamin injections that the club didn’t know about or document, which comports totally with Clemens’ defense that any DNA of his on Brian McNamee’s syringes was the result of such vitamin injections. He also talked about how no one got along with Brian McNamee, how McNamee overstepped his bounds all the time and made allusions to unsavory incidents in which McNamee was involved, though he couldn’t elaborate on them due to the judge barring such testimony. Things like that Florida date rape drug incident and some other unseemliness.

The net effect: Roger Clemens is awesome — at the end he even jovially took Rusty Hardin’s bait when asked if the Yankees could use “a 50 year-old pitcher who can still throw 90” by smiling and saying “maybe” — and Brian McNamee is an unstrustworthy nogoodnik.  This is NOT what you do when your entire case depends on (a) the jury hearing and believing Brian McNamee; and (b) believing that Roger Clemens is a liar.

Though I suppose there was one instance in which Cashman’s own reliability came into play, which could mitigate all of this.  When asked how many world championships the Yankees have won during his tenure as general manager, Cashman said five when, in reality, it’s just four. Bob Watson was the GM for the 1996 title.

Gonna guess that doesn’t help the prosecution that much.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).