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Wait — all A-Rod had to do was to say he was innocent? That would have worked?

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Sensing a meme this morning. Bob Klapisch:

A-Rod can whine all he wants about due process, but that’s just a smoke screen to cover his guilt. In fact, Rodriguez couldn’t bring himself to say he’s innocent during his pre-game press conference on Monday. Over and over, Rodriguez kept saying “we’ll have a forum” to discuss the charges against him. If A-Rod was truly innocent, it wouldn’t have hurt his case to look into the cameras and say, “I’m clean, Bud has the wrong man, and I intend to prove it.”

Mike Vaccaro:

He talked about “respecting the process” that Major League Baseball and he will engage in over the next few months, now that baseball has slapped him with a 211-game suspension and Rodriguez has appealed it. “Please have patience,” he said. “There’ll be a time and a place for that.”

This is what he didn’t say:

“This is an outrage. These are fabrications. I am completely innocent … No. Because those are the things an innocent man says.

I think that the media has already determined that if A-Rod said that sort of thing it’d be something a liar says, but let us not dwell on that.

Let us instead note that it’s totally possible that A-Rod didn’t say he was innocent because he knows saying such a thing would be a lie. A lie that people would kill him for. And maybe it’s the case that he’s going to stipulate to drug use but mount an appeal based on the notion that a 211 game suspension is too great for a first time sanction. Heck, it’s what I’d do if I were representing him. At least if the evidence against him is as bad as many say it is.

But maybe I’m just being too hard-headed about this. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe if A-Rod had walked into that press conference and said “honest guys, I’m innocent” then Klapisch and Vaccaro and all the others would have said today that he did the right thing and they wouldn’t be excoriating him in print.

Or maybe they’re just mad today that A-Rod didn’t give them a chance to call him a liar again. But I’m just spitballin’ here.

Wade Davis? Greg Holland? Who needs ’em?

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 21: Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The story of the two-time defending AL champion and current defending World Series champ Kansas City Royals cannot be told without talking at length about their bullpen.

In 2014, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera formed a shutdown brigade that not only made it next to impossible for the opposition to mount late rallies, but managed something which seemed utterly impossible before 2014: they turned Ned Yost into a tactical genius. Indeed, the only time Yost got criticism at all that fall was when he messed with the autopilot formula that had that three-headed monster handling the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Much the same happened in 2015, of course, despite Holland’s sharp decline and eventual injury. Davis and Herrera continued their dominance. They were joined by Ryan Madson and a cast of other effective relievers who, along with timely hitting, great defense and good health, helped propel the Royals to the title.

This year had not been quite the same story. Holland has been out all year and Davis, while effective when he’s pitched, has missed time due to injury. As has longtime contributor and presumptive next-man-up Luke Hochevar. Herrera is basically still Herrera, but Ned Yost has been presented with a decidedly different set of choices. Lots of choices and Ned Yost don’t always go together well, but lately that hasn’t mattered.

Last night the Royals’ bullpen came in to a close game and tossed three scoreless innings. That set a franchise record with 32 straight scoreless frames, besting the previous record set back in the club’s inaugural season in 1969. The streak is a huge part of why the Royals have won nine games in a row.

Unlike the success of 2014-15, the streak is not a three-man show. As Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star notes, eight different relievers have appeared for Kansas City during the streak, with Joakim Soria and Matt Strahm leading the crew with five and a third innings pitched. Herrera has tossed five scoreless. Otherwise it’s been a group effort with even Peter Moylan offering a couple of scoreless frames. And here you thought Moylan was, I dunno, gearing up for the upcoming Brisbane Bandits season. Nope.

The Royals are still not, in my view anyway, a lock to make the postseason. It’s a a crowded field right now. They’re seven and a half back in the AL Central and four back in the Wild Card with a bunch of teams in front of them. But they’re certainly playing themselves back into the conversation. They’re interesting. And they’re doing it in much the same way they’ve done it the past two years. Only with different dudes doing the do.

Video: Mookie Betts made a ridiculous throw last night

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Mookie Betts was an infielder once upon a time and the knock on him both then and since his move to the outfield was that maybe his arm was not fantastic. As an infielder there was talk that he was better suited to the right side than the left. As an outfielder people were saying that, with work, his arm could be average and/or serviceable. Not bad, of course, but not anything to write home about.

Maybe we need to reassess that, because last night he uncorked one from right field that would make Dwight Evans says “dang, man.”

 

And the throw mattered, as Kiermaier represented the tying run in a game that, at the time, the Sox were leading 2-1.

Betts is a dangerous middle-of-the-order bat at age 23. And now he shows that he’ll nail a fast runner with a frozen rope if he has to. The guy is going to win an MVP award some day. And maybe not just one.