Alex Rodriguez Reuters

A-Rod’s legal team is “willing to fight anything that comes their way”


As we reach the end of a Friday that we thought would bring forth Biogenesis news but which, alas, has not, the posturing continues. This from A-Rod’s side in Newsday:

“This guy is fighting this,” the source said Friday as Rodriguez was expected in Trenton, where he is scheduled to play Friday night and Saturday for the Double-A Thunder. “Alex is getting on the field, he’s excited to play, he’s ready to play. They’re [his legal team] all waiting and willing to fight anything that comes their way. The priority is to be on the field and play baseball.”

Never does it seem more clear that what Major League Baseball wants is to have an agreed suspension as opposed to having to fight any appeal, even if they are confident that they will ultimately be successful.  By all accounts, Major League Baseball has considerable evidence and believes it can win if it has to.  If that’s true, the only thing truly holding them back is the desire to avoid a fight altogether and the chance to wrap everything up in a bow.  If that were not the case they would, one presumes, simply have suspended A-Rod already and invited him and his legal team to do its worst.

Rodriguez’s people know this. Reason suggests that they cut a deal which saves their client as much of what’s left on his contract as possible rather than risk a lifetime ban. But their awareness of MLB’s desire to settle has likely emboldened them. Made them think that they can force a bit better of a deal than what MLB currently has on the table. Obviously that’s all just speculation, but I’m struggling to think of what other sticking point there could be in this particular negotiation. It’s all a game of chicken as opposed to some multi-faceted deal. The only real variable being how many games.

Thus the posturing and thus the delay.  It’s absolutely fascinating. I have no idea what will happen. No one outside the process really can know. But it’s oddly exciting to realize that a major chapter in baseball history is going to be written one way or another based, essentially, on whether Bud Selig or Alex Rodriguez blinks first.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi
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You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.