If Melky Cabrera’s phony website didn’t warrant a 100-game suspension, how can Ryan Braun get one?

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The news came down yesterday that MLB is, at least according to some sources, on the verge of handing out suspensions in the Biogenesis case. These sources continue to say that MLB is intent on giving Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez 100-game suspensions despite the fact that neither has previously served a PED suspension and despite the fact that the Joint Drug Agreement clearly states that 100-game suspensions are second-time discipline.

This is a pretty extreme approach. Maybe it’s just bluster, intended to scare players into copping to their PED use and accepting a 50-game suspension (if so, that’s pretty clever actually). But MLB may actually level a 100-game suspension. The question I have if they do this is what possible basis do they have for making it stick?

The ESPN report says that, at least in Braun’s case, it would be the result of both an association with Anthony Bosch and for lying to investigators.  Which is interesting considering that the same report says that Braun did not answer investigators’ questions. Maybe it was his lyin’ eyes, I dunno.  Or, more likely, maybe the real basis for double discipline is Braun’s alleged lack of cooperation with the league. That could make more sense.

Except for one thing: Melky Cabrera.

Last year Melky Cabrera famously — and quite ridiculously — attempted to pass off a phony website as an excuse for his positive PED test. It caused MLB to actually have to conduct an investigation into the phony company, purchase phony products and, at least according to some reports, travel to the Dominican Republic. This, apart from its hilarity, was blatant lying, deception and fraud. And yet, at the end of it, Melky Cabrera was given only a 50-game suspension.

If what Melky Cabrera did wasn’t worthy of double discipline, how on earth could Braun offering denials or, more likely, not saying anything, justify it?

If your answer is “Braun really made them mad last year and they want to get even” well, therein lies the bulk of my objection to what’s been going down in the Biogenesis matter.

(h/t to Kyle Kaestner for pointing out the Melky analogy on Twitter yesterday)

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).