Shocker: people aren’t satisfied with Ryan Braun’s apology

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Wow, I’m gobsmacked. I really and truly thought that, after Ryan Braun’s apology last night, people would embrace him and say that he addressed every concern they had and now we could move on. Imagine my shock and horror this morning when I read multiple takes from the usual suspects about how Braun left questions unanswered and didn’t go far enough.

I mean, Buster Olney does have a good point here, right?

The crafted and polished words issued in his name left a lot of unanswered questions … Questions such as: Explain the process that you got PEDS in the summer of 2011. What “products” did you use?

Well, if you look right at his statement he says “The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation.” Does Olney want a chemical breakdown of the substances? Does he think Braun even knows? Go read “Game of Shadows” and the BALCO grand jury testimony to see how naive and willfully ignorant ballplayers are about what they use. Braun probably doesn’t know. Heck, even if he does what difference would it make? Show me one instance where baseball writers have made meaningful distinctions between anabolic steroids, HGH, testosterone and other things. They all treat them like magic pills which bestow super powers, so Braun not breaking them down here makes zero difference.

This reaction from Olney and many reactions from others was wholly predictable. Indeed, I predicted it the other day. They want blood. But if blood were given it still wouldn’t be enough. There is literally nothing Braun could have said that would have had people go “wow, good job, Ryan. Now let’s move on.”

None of which is to say that Braun isn’t a liar and a cheater and a pretty miserable guy. He seems like he is. I’m just truly puzzled why, if that is the case, anyone expects him to say magic words to make it all better.

Here’s a crazy possibility: Braun isn’t, in reality, all that regretful about his PED use or anything else and he’s doing this simply to try to appease people because that’s what’s expected of him. In which case maybe we shouldn’t be judging this on the merits in the first place. Maybe we should just be content that he got caught and realize that sometimes bad people do bad things. And that sometimes the story doesn’t end with the bad person learning a lesson and a group hug.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.