Ken Davidoff answers his critics in the wake of his R.A. Dickey column

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Over the weekend, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote a column in which he criticized departing New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, calling him a “handful,” saying he was not well-liked by his teammates and generally painting a picture of a self-absorbed self promoter.

It was surprising for a couple of reasons. First, because no one had ever described Dickey in such terms and the timing suggested that perhaps the Mets were throwing him under the bus as he left the team. But it was more surprising coming from Davidoff, who is one of the best, most reasonable and most level-headed columnists around, particularly in New York. He just doesn’t write that kind of stuff very often, so it was kind of jarring to see.

Today, much to Davidoff’s credit, he writes another column, this one explaining the basis for his criticism of Dickey in his last one. The questions he asks and then answers such as “Why are we just hearing now about these aspects of Dickey’s personality?” and “Aren’t you just being a water-carrier for the Mets front office” echo ones we saw bouncing around the internet over the weekend. And Davidoff takes them head on.

You may still question Davidoff’s column and disagree with what he had to say about R.A. Dickey, but kudos to Davidoff to actually engaging his readers and critics like this.  Would that more writers did the same.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.