Mike Lupica is happy to have a new reason to rip A-Rod

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Thumbnail image for Alex Rodriguez homer.jpgFun times in the Daily News today, as Mike Lupica takes A-Rod to task over the Dr. Galea story, sarcastically asserting that, apparently now that Rodriguez is no longer a post-season choker and all of that, apparently he doesn’t feel the need to come clean. Many of you may agree with him.

But read the column closely, and it’s quite obvious that Lupica is not complaining about A-Rod’s reticence with law enforcement or Major League Baseball or the Yankees.  He’s angry because A-Rod won’t talk to the press.  Really, go look: his big beef is that A-Rod dodged a question about the Galea charges before yesterday’s game, and from that he launches into a thousand-word piece, at the end of which he actually lists the questions he wants A-Rod to answer.

Which is rather crazy.  I mean, I have no idea what the relationship was between Dr. Galea and A-Rod and I have no clue what Rodriguez was and wasn’t prescribed.  But I do know that federal charges are coming down against Galea, and in those charges athletes are being called out. Anonymously for now, but not for long.  Clearly, at some point, those athletes named will be required to testify about Dr. Galea, likely under some sort of immunity deal, but certainly under penalty of perjury.

In light of this, if A-Rod answered the questions Lupica had for him, he’d be putting himself at a significantly higher risk of legal jeopardy.  Any lawyer in the country would advise their client not to give press conferences about such topics given what’s happening right now.

A-Rod’s decision not to answer Lupica or any other reporter’s questions about the subject is a very wise one, borne of savvy legal advice, not, as Lupica believes, some arrogance resulting from Rodriguez’s newfound status as postseason hero and clutch god. But it’s Lupica, and even if he realizes this he’s going to ignore it

Why? Because that’s just what he does.

Nationals complete NLCS sweep of Cardinals, punch ticket to World Series

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The Nationals will officially appear in the World Series for the first time in franchise history. The team that had a 19-31 record in late May, putting manager Dave Martinez on the hot seat, improbably fought back to snag a Wild Card slot, won the play-in game, beat the heavily-favored Dodgers in five games in the NLDS, and polished off a sweep of the Cardinals in the NLCS on Tuesday night, winning 7-4.

After Patrick Corbin tossed a scoreless top of the first inning, the Nationals’ offense wasted no time getting to work. Single, double, sacrifice fly, RBI double, intentional walk, reach on error, RBI single, two-run single, sacrifice bunt, two-run single. That’s how the Nats hung a seven-spot in the opening frame against Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright.

To the Cardinals’ credit, they cleaned things up from there. The Nationals would not score for the rest of the game while the Cardinals clawed back for a run in the fourth before plating three runs in the fifth. Yadier Molina went yard off of Corbin in the fourth. In the fifth, a Tommy Edman ground out and a José Martínez two-run double accounted for the Cardinals’ runs in the fifth.

Corbin ultimately gave up the four runs on four hits and three walks with, impressively, 12 strikeouts across five innings of work. Tanner Rainey worked a 1-2-3 sixth. Sean Doolittle did the same in the seventh.

Doolittle remained in the game in the eighth, getting the first two outs before relenting a single to Marcell Ozuna. Right-hander Daniel Hudson entered for the four-out save opportunity. Hudson hit Molina with a fastball, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Paul DeJong. DeJong worked a full count, then walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter emerged from the dugout to take his cuts against Hudson. After five tense pitches to Carpenter, Hudson got him to ground out to second base to end the inning.

The Nats went down quick in the bottom of the eighth. Hudson emerged from the dugout to send the Nationals into the World Series. He did just that, getting Kolten Wong to fly out to shallow left field for the first out. Matt Wieters popped up to the catcher in fair territory for out number two. At long last, Edman flied out to center field. Nationals win 7-4.

The only other time the franchise reached the Championship Series was in 1981 when the Expos lost three games to two to the Dodgers. The Expos/Nationals then went from 1982-2011 without a playoff appearance. The Nationals lost four Division Series appearances in a row in 2012, ’14, and ’16-17, three of which went the maximum five games. Now they’re in the World Series, improbably. They will await the winner of the ALCS, which the Astros currently lead 2-1.