Wilpon says he's not selling the Mets

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Fred Wilpon is denying the reports that circled yesterday that he’s being forced to sell the Mets on account of all of his losses to Bernie Madoff:

Erin Arvedlund, who penned “Too Good to Be True,” pegged the Wilpons’ losses to Madoff at $700million – the same figure Fred Wilpon’s friend Larry King used in a magazine article earlier this year. That loss is too steep
for the Wilpons to be able to retain ownership of the Mets, Arvedlund
concluded . . . The speculation was met by a forceful denial from the Mets Friday.

“The
author of the book has no knowledge or facts related to the Mets
business operations or finances,” Danielle Sessa Parillo, the team’s
director of communications, said in a statement on behalf of the
Wilpons. “Her speculation that the Mets – or any part of the team – is
for sale is completely false and is irresponsible.”

To further counter that, Wilpon and MLB President Bob DuPuy are saying that the Mets are just fine and dandy, financially speaking. In support, they cite “the Mets’ financial reports, which are filed quarterly,” and say that they “have shown no financial distress.”

It’s probably worth noting at this point that (a) Major League Baseball never allows anyone to see such reports; and (b) such reports are routinely used by MLB and the teams to cry poor, forming the basis of calls for salary caps and player concessions and new publicly-funded stadiums and all of that.  So forgive me if I’m not 100% convinced by this line of reasoning.

Kershaw-Sale anything but a pitcher’s duel

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World Series Game 1 was billed as a battle of aces, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw against Chris Sale of the Red Sox. Between them, they have 14 All-Star Game nominations. Kershaw has won three Cy Young Awards. Sale could his first Cy Young Award this year. Among his 10 seasons with at least 110 innings pitched, Kershaw has never posted a sub-2.92 ERA. Sale has been at 2.90 or below in each of the last two seasons. The two have combined for over 4,000 career strikeouts and both have averaged better than a strikeout per inning over their careers.

And yet Tuesday’s Game 1 was anything but a pitcher’s duel between Kershaw and Sale. Though a couple of fielding mistakes weren’t of any help to Kershaw in the first inning, Red Sox batters were squaring him up good. Of the five balls put in play in the first inning, three had exit velocities of 100 MPH or higher. Of the 12 total balls put in play against him overall, five reached triple digits in exit velo.

Kershaw gave up a pair of runs in the first, another run in the third on a J.D. Martinez double to straightaway center field, and another two in the fifth. Kershaw led off the fifth by walking Mookie Betts, then giving up a single to Andrew Benintendi, ending his night. Ryan Madson relieved Kershaw and proceeded to allow both inherited runners to score. All told, Kershaw yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 79 pitches in four-plus innings.

Sale, meanwhile, was on the hook for individual runs in the second, third, and fifth. Dodger hitters weren’t squaring him up quite as well as the Red Sox batters squared up Kershaw, but Sale was still more hittable than usual. Of the eight balls put in play against him, four were at least 90 MPH in exit velo. One of the runs was a no-doubt solo home run to Matt Kemp in the second. The Dodgers chased Sale in the fifth when he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Matt Barnes relieved him allowed the inherited runner to score. Overall, Sale threw 91 pitches in four-plus innings, serving up three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

The game is now, as has been generally the case throughout this postseason, a battle of the bullpens.