Dino Laurenzi Jr. is the man we’ve come to call “the collector” in the Ryan Braun case. He defended himself the other day following Ryan Braun’s sharp criticism of him at his press conference. Now Braun’s attorney, David Cornwell, has issued a statement defending Braun from the defense:
“Ryan Braun presented a winning defense in the forum that counted. The collector’s attempt to re-litigate his conduct is inappropriate. The landmark decision in Ryan’s favor was based on the evidence & the plain meaning of the words in baseball’s Joint Drug Program. Both Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association should be applauded because their Joint Program worked.”
Again, as we’ve said a number of times, both Braun — as the accused — and Laurenzi — whose conduct, whatever he may say about it or what we may think of it, was determined to not have adhered to the Joint Drug Agreement by the aribitrator — are interested parties here. Each has something to lose if their conduct is cast in a bad light. As such, these competing statements, while interesting, do little to get us to any absolute truth here.
Absent further details about the specific reasons why the abritrator ruled the way he did, we’re no further ahead in substantive knowledge here. It’s just people taking swipes at one another.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.