Boca Raton, Florida police announced the arrest of a tanning salon worker for the theft of the Biogenesis documents Major League Baseball is now using to go after Alex Rodriguez. His name is Reginald St. Fleur. He’s a known associate of Porter Fischer, the former Biogenesis employee who initially obtained the documents and who, at one time anyway, was cooperating with Major League Baseball. St. Fleur is also an associate of Gary Jones, the man who sold the records to MLB.
It all stinks to high heavens of course.
Deadspin’s rundown on it all notes that there are two possibilities, and neither make Major League Baseball look good. Baseball was offering to buy the documents from Fischer, and the two sides were in negotiations to that effect. Either (a) St. Fleur and Jones, who knew about it all, set up Fischer and stole the documents so that they could sell them to MLB; or else (b) Fischer was in cahoots with St. Fleur and Jones and staged the break-in so the documents could be sold to MLB without Fischer having to be the seller.
Option (b) makes sense given that, in the interim, MLB had sued Fischer and others in an effort to merely subpoena, rather than buy the documents. Option (a) makes sense, however, given that — as Fischer has noted — already had an offer on the table from MLB and faced all kinds of risk in cooking up a theft story.
But what is undeniable here is that Major League Baseball bought documents that were either, by definition, stolen or, at the very least, got to MLB as the result of a criminal conspiracy of some kind. And as the Deadspin article notes, MLB was fully aware of this given that they made an inquiry to the police about the theft prior to purchasing the documents from Jones.
Does that make any of the evidence against Alex Rodriguez false? Of course not. But it makes the provenance of that evidence outrageously shady and supports Alex Rodriguez’s argument that MLB would literally stop at nothing — including inserting itself into some sort of crime — in order to nail him.
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.