Miguel Tejada received a 105-game suspension from Major League baseball after testing positive for amphetamines for a second and third time this year. The suspension would run through the first 65 games of the 2014 season, which may simply push the 39-year-old Tejada into retirement instead.
On the heels of that news, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey talked with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his own legal, by-the-book use of Adderall to treat his ADHD. You should read the whole article here, but here is an illuminating snippet:
“When I don’t take my Adderall, my mind, my thoughts are just all over the place,” he said. “When I’m taking it, I’m able to focus on one task and able to do one thing instead of (having) 20 different things pop in your head. It definitely helps.”
Without an attention deficit disorder or ADHD diagnosis, Adderall could give a player additional energy, Pelfrey said.
“When you don’t need it, it acts like a true amphetamine,” he said. “I don’t get all amped up on it. I’m probably more laid back when I’m on it. My thought process is toned down to one thing instead of 20 different things. Without it I’m pretty hyperactive and running around.”
Though it is easy to look at Pelfrey’s 5.26 ERA and snicker, it can be tough to muster the energy to play at peak athletic form on a day-in, day-out basis over a six-month span, which is why more and more players have been testing positive for amphetamine use in recent years rather than steroids.
Former Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs wrote a column earlier this year suggesting that Major League Baseball could reduce the need for players to rely on performance-enhancing drugs by expanding rosters and putting a cap on the maximum amount of games in which a player can play. Of course, the issue is complex enough that a couple tweaks to the rules won’t fix the issue, but it does show that the onus is not just on the players.
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.