Joe Tacopina’s cross-examination of Randy Levine sounded less-than-effective

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It’s not a transcript, but Christian Red and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News have a summary of the cross-examination of Yankees President Randy Levine by Alex Rodriguez’s attorneys at the arbitration yesterday.  It sounds less than devastating.

Basically, Levine answers “no” to every possible question that looks calculated to elicit something negative. And, unless the Daily News is simply ignoring a searing impeachment of Levine later in the proceedings, there does not appear to be any followup by A-Rod’s lawyers on the denials of Levine.

Which is a pretty dumb way to approach a cross examination of a witness. The point is to score points and/or rebut the prosecution’s case against your client. To ask questions you already know the answers to so that you can demonstrate the witnesses’ lack of credibility or lack of knowledge or the weaknesses in the case against your guy. If you don’t have that kind of ammo, you don’t call the witness.

Here, it seems anyway, Tacopina just gave Randy Levine a platform to say “no, we don’t have anything against A-Rod and don’t stand to gain anything if he gets suspended.” In other words, he gave Levine a chance to undercut the very foundation of the case A-Rod’s representatives are allegedly making (i.e. that the fix is in to get A-Rod).

Maybe there’s another shoe to drop. Maybe this was a massive perjury trap for Levine and later some other witness will come on to undercut him. Maybe, however, there is nothing to those claims A-Rod’s legal team is making and they are stalling for time. Or playing to the cameras. Or … something.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.