Andy Pettitte: “I don’t really believe I tried to enhance my performance”

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Here’s Andy Pettitte on Michael Kay’s radio show addressing his PED history:

“People are going to say what they want to, believe what they want to. When you say PEDs to me, man, I just can’t even comprehend that with me just because I don’t really believe I tried to enhance my performance on the field,” Pettitte said. “If I would have, I would have told y’all that. Man, my story has been an open book. When it all came out [in the Mitchell report in 2007,] I sat in the press conferences there for hours, I believe . . . I’ve never tried to do anything to cheat to enhance my performance on the field.”

Where are all of the people who have spent the last 24 hours parsing Alex Rodriguez’s apology and why aren’t they parsing this? No one? Anyone? OK then, allow me:

  • Taking PEDs to “get back on the field” is still taking PEDs and is what just about every player who has been busted for PEDs has said. In all cases the player is either (a) not believed; or else (b) the distinction is considered to be meaningless, as enhanced performance is enhanced performance and PEDs are PEDs;
  • Pettitte’s story has not been an open book. During those “hours” he spent talking to the media after the Mitchell Report came out, Pettitte said that he used HGH “two days in 2002.″ He repeated that over and over, in fact. However, when he was put under oath before the House of Representatives a few months later he was confronted with additional evidence of PED use. Specifically, from 2004. Which he admitted. So, no, he wasn’t an “open book.” Or at least any more open than he felt he had to be to get off the hook in a press conference and then to avoid a perjury beef before Congress.

Which, hey, good for Pettitte. I still think he was a damn good pitcher. But let’s not pretend he’s any different than any other PED guy. No, he wisely did not make a federal case out of proclaiming his innocence, so he’s not as bad as Roger Clemens I suppose, but the fact remains that he has only come as clean as he felt he needed to at any given time and only as much as people have wanted him to.

Which is to say, not much at all, because for whatever reason people don’t care about his drug use too terribly much.

Juan Soto steals the show, powering Nationals past Astros 5-4 in World Series Game 1

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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Nationals outfielder Juan Soto stole the show on Tuesday night in Houston, going 3-for-4 with a double, a homer, three RBI, and a stolen base to power his team past the Astros 5-4 in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Astros jumped on Max Scherzer for two runs in the bottom of the first inning to open the scoring. Scherzer allowed the first two batters he faced to reach on a single and a walk, then struck out the next two batters before allowing a two-strike, two-out, two-run double to Yuli Gurriel. Given the way Gerrit Cole has pitched all year long, two runs seemed like plenty.

Cole did not have his best stuff on this particular night. Ryan Zimmerman answered with a solo home run to center field with two outs in the top of the second inning, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Juan Soto would absolutely obliterate a Cole offering for a solo homer of his own in the fourth inning, tying the game at two apiece. Soto became the fourth player in baseball history to hit a World Series home run before his 21st birthday.

The Nationals hung a three-spot in the top of the fifth against Cole, putting their first two batters on base thanks to a walk and a single. Adam Eaton brought home the go-ahead run with a line drive single to right field. Soto followed up by scorching a line drive off of the wall in front of the Crawford boxes to plate two more runs, padding the Nats’ lead to 5-2.

The two runs the Astros got in the first inning would be all they would get off of Scherzer, though they did make him labor in every inning. Scherzer ultimately threw 112 pitches over five innings, yielding five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.

Patrick Corbin worked a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out single. His usage out of the bullpen likely means he starts Game 4, not Game 3. Manager Dave Martinez handed the ball to hard-throwing right-hander Tanner Rainey for the seventh inning, but it didn’t work out. Rainey gave up a leadoff home run to George Springer to make it 5-3. Springer has now homered in five consecutive World Series games, breaking a tie with Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig to set a new major league record. Rainey got into yet more trouble, issuing back-to-back one-out walks to Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman, forcing Martinez to use Daniel Hudson a little earlier than anticipated. Hudson, however, was able to wriggle out of danger in the seventh.

Hudson wasn’t as fortunate in the eighth inning as the Astros continued to claw their way back. Pinch-hitter Kyle Tucker led off with a single, advanced to second base on a deep fly ball to center fielder Victor Robles. Springer brought Tucker home on a fly ball to right-center field that bounced high off of the fence, very nearly becoming a game-tying two-run homer. He settled for an RBI double. Hudson got José Altuve to fly out before handing the ball to lefty Sean Doolittle, who got Brantley to line out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Doolittle returned to the bump to close out the game. He struck out Bregman, got Gurriel to fly out to center, and Correa did the same to end the contest. Nationals take Game 1, 5-4 over the Astros, earning their first World Series victory in franchise history.

Cole, by the way, was still able to complete seven innings. The right-hander threw 104 pitches, allowing the five runs on eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He allowed more than one run for the first time this postseason, and more than two runs for the first time since August 28 against the Rays. The Astros lost a game he started for the first time since July 12 against the Rangers.

The Nationals, big underdogs entering the World Series, now have a 1-0 series lead over the Astros, successfully vanquishing Cole. The two sides will meet again for Game 2 on Wednesday night. Justin Verlander will oppose Stephen Strasburg.