Tony Clark

The MLBPA is serious about investigating leaks to reporters regarding Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales


Interesting tweet from Buster:

This, I would suspect, stems from the thing a couple of weeks ago when the union got all huffy about anonymous MLB executives talking to Olney about how much money free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales might expect to be paid. The union claimed this violated the CBA — it could constitute collusion among teams to peg Drew and Morales’ price — and demanded that Major League Baseball investigate who the sources were for Olney’s report.

Clark may be technically correct that executives giving comments about free agents’ value is collusive and potentially violative of the CBA, but he’s also nuts if he thinks MLB is going to investigate who gave those comments. The league doesn’t see this as a big deal and, even if it did, when you start treading into investigating reporters’ sources, everyone in the media is going to turn on you. It’s a battle Clark isn’t going to win and probably shouldn’t be asking for.

This move, of course, is not a direct attack. It’s more like saber-rattling. The union is asking agents — over whom it has some regulatory power — to keep documents. It has no power to demand that clubs, let alone anyone in the media, obviously, do the same. It strikes me as a way to publicly say “we care about this, Major League Baseball, and we’re doing what we can to look into it. You do so too.” As posturing, it’s totally understandable. He may be able to get a couple of bullet points for some theoretical future grievance against the league regarding Drew and Morales.  As an effective means of getting anything major done regarding the leaks specifically or Drew and Morales’ plight in general, well, it’s not going to do all that much.

What it will do, however, is light a fire under the media. A media which will probably paint this as an attack on a free press and stuff, even if that’s not really what’s going on here. It’ll be understandable if and when the media gets angry about this, of course, in that even if it isn’t really an assault on it, it treads closely enough to make everyone uncomfortable. Every time a governing body, be it an actual political one, a sports league or what have you, tries to sniff out sources, it loses the P.R. war before it begins.

I’m not sure why Clark wants this fight. I’m not sure how he gets anything out of it of significance.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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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.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

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.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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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.