UPDATE: The Post has comments from the doctor. He never examined A-Rod. He merely reviewed A-Rod’s MRI at his request. His verdict: he didn’t say anything significant on the MRI. That said, he takes great pains to say that he wasn’t giving a formal second opinion and is in no position to say whether or not A-Rod can play. It was merely his take on the MRI.
Which sorta makes it sound like A-Rod is doctor shopping with the purpose of getting some sort of message across in what one can only assume is a pretty tense showdown between he and the Yankees regarding his ability to play. Or about the P.R. component regarding whether he is able to play. Which isn’t quite the same thing.
1:30 PM: This is simply delicious:
Is he faking? Are the Yankees keeping him out on purpose? Is the doctor crazypants? Are these things mutually-exclusive? I’d say (a) maybe; (b) maybe; (c) maybe; (d) no.
And that no matter what the truth is here, someone is gonna come out looking bad. Either A-Rod for appearing to be hiding, the Yankees for being unwilling — possibly out of P.R. concerns — to activate a player who might actually improve their team, even if it’s just for a week or two before Bud’s hammer comes down.
As for the doctor: man, this guy sure does speak out of turn a lot for a dude who is supposed to keep client confidentiality. Probably worth noting that doctors can only do that if their patient tells them they can …
As for the Yankees: boy, A-Rod being totally healthy sure would look bad for their alleged attempts to get insurance to cover his contract on some disability retirement scheme. It’s almost as if someone in A-Rod’s position would like to see the Yankees squirm a bit here. It’s almost as if they’d like him to STFU. Hmm …
All I know is that I hope it’s A-Rod who is seen as the bad actor here. He’s murdered 19 people after all, so I’m sure he can take the heat.
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.
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.
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.