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.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.