A-Rod’s extra penalty explained: it’s all about the “chutzpah”

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Jon Heyman takes issue with those who thinks Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension was too harsh. He thinks it’s too light! And he demonstrates this by calculating the punishment with reference to the Joint Drug Agreement and Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Hahaha, just kidding. He pulls it out of his rear end:

A-Rod got 50 games for violating MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement.

And 161 more for chutzpah.

His column — a pretty darn long one by his usual standards — basically argues that all punishment is justified in Alex Rodriguez’s case because he made tons of money, is unlikeable and lied. That’s not necessarily surprising. As is evidenced by his Hall of Fame columns over the years Heyman is quite comfortable with changing standards when it suits him, so I’m sure he has no problems whatsoever with retroactively applying a high income/jerk multiplier to discipline as set forth in the JDA.

But Heyman’s repeated references to Evreth Cabrera are kinda weird, though:

Padres young shortstop Everth Cabrera told a tearful story of taking one drug for a short time in one spring training at the suggestion of his former representative, Juan Carlos Nunez, the ex-ACES agent. Cabrera signed up for 50 games and took responsibility. Rodriguez, word is, obtained steroids and HGH for part of 2010, and all of 2011 and ’12. The evidence suggests he basically lived on the stuff.

Does he really deserve the same penalty as little, teary-eyed Everth Cabrera? … And if poor little Everth Cabrera signs up for 50 for one spring indiscretion, 211 seems light for Rodriguez.

The infantilzation of Cabrera is kinda creepy, no? And how is it even consistent? I thought the lesson we were to take from the past several years of PED stuff is that you can’t take the ballplayers at their word and that they’re all liars? Why does Cabrera get a pass and/or Rodriguez get such harsher treatment? I thought these guys were all responsible for their actions. Guess that doesn’t apply to “little, teary-eyed Cabrera.”

Maybe what’s most galling about the column is Heyman’s certainty regarding how damning the evidence against Rodriguez is. And maybe it is. I’m just not sure what makes Heyman so sure of that given that no one is privy to it but Major League Baseball and A-Rod’s people at the moment. If Heyman does know, you’d think he’d report on it rather than spend a few thousand words trashing A-Rod. If he doesn’t know, what makes him so sure?

Oh, I forgot. It’s the chutzpah.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.