andy pettitte getty

Jon Heyman once again falsely accuses Andy Pettitte of changing his testimony in the Clemens case


Jon Heyman has a silly and superfluous column up today in which he attempts to turn a couple of random recent news stories involving PED-associated ballplayers into some big trend piece about PEDs in baseball.  He references two guys — Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi — whose PED stories are years old, and then name-checks Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon.  But heck, even he’s only half buying it:

 It seems half the positive news so far regards folks with positive tests. Technically, that isn’t true. But it does seem that way.

Whatever. Everyone’s gotta write a column. It’s not even the worst one we’ve seen from a famous national writer today.But it does contain one passage which is as odious as it is wrong, and Heyman should know better:

Meanwhile, the Yankees are waiting on former HGH user Andy Pettitte, who is due to tell them any day whether he’d like to return for what promises to be a substantial raise from the $2.5 million he made last year after he announced his comeback in spring training.

That’s no surprise. He performed very well on the field after he came back, much better than he did in the courtroom, where he testified he couldn’t really recall whether Roger Clemens told him he had used HGH only one day after testifying Clemens did, in fact, tell him he used HGH.

Odd that he recalled a 10-year-old conversation one day, then couldn’t remember the same 10-year-old conversation the next day on the stand.

This is flat wrong.  The “Pettitte changed his testimony” line was widely parroted (including by Heyman himself) last spring when Roger Clemens was acquitted.  Some even went so far as to accuse him of perjury.  But as I demonstrated the very day it happened, Pettitte did nothing of the sort. He didn’t change his story. Not one bit. You can read the details of that here. The short version: Pettitte was consistent for years. The prosecution overreached, mischaracterized what he said and tried to contort it to its own ends, but Pettitte’s story never changed.

Heyman should have known this then.  He should definitely know it by now. The fact that he still clings to the idea that Pettitte lied under oath or changed his story is repugnant and demands a retraction.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.