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Jeff Luhnow’s statement on Roberto Osuna rings hollow

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The Astros just acquired reliever Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays in exchange for Ken Giles and two minor league pitchers. The 23-year-old Osuna is towards the end of his 75-game suspension which he received for a domestic violence issue nearly three months ago. According to Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays had decided Osuna would not pitch in the majors for them again, so the Astros jumped on the low-price bandwagon and plucked him from the Jays.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow released a statement on Osuna following the trade. Luhnow said, “We are excited to welcome Roberto Osuna to our team. The due diligence by our front office was unprecedented. We are confident that Osuna is remorseful, has willfully complied with all consequences related to his past behavior, has proactively engaged in counseling, and will fully comply with our zero tolerance policy related to abuse of any kind. Roberto has some great examples of character in our existing clubhouse that we believe will help him as he and his family establish a fresh start and as he continues with the Houston Astros. We look forward to Osuna’s contributions as we head into the back half of the season.”

Let’s start with that “zero tolerance” bit. If the Astros’ truly have a “zero tolerance policy related to abuse of any kind,” the club never would have even considered acquiring Osuna. To use it now is incredibly disingenuous.

Furthermore, the Astros say that Osuna “has willfully complied with all consequences related to his past behavior,” but he still has a court date scheduled for August 1. According to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Osuna plans to plead not guilty. There is no way for the Astros to say that Osuna “has willfully complied with all consequences related to his past behavior” when he hasn’t had his day in court yet.

In fairness to the Astros, they’re not the only ones who look bad in this whole Osuna ordeal. The Jays look bad for hanging on to him as long as they could get other players in a trade, rather than cutting him immediately.  (Remember, MLB and its teams don’t need to wait for a guilty verdict to respond to players accused of domestic violence.) The whole thing about him not pitching in the majors for them was only mentioned after the fact. Major League Baseball looks bad because (accused) domestic abusers are eligible for the postseason despite a suspension while players who are suspended for the use of performance-enhancing drugs are not eligible for the postseason.

This has not been a good two weeks for Major League Baseball. Between inaction regarding players who have used hateful language in the past (Josh Hader, Sean Newcomb, Trea Turner) and the Osuna situation, the league keeps sending the message to fans from marginalized communities that they don’t matter. If MLB truly valued them as fans, the league’s tolerance of the Osunas, Haders, Newcombs, and Turners (and Aroldis Chapmans and Jose Reyeses and… ) of the world would be lower than it actually is.

A flipped-script NLCS moves to Los Angeles for Game Three

Associated Press
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The book heading into the series was that the Dodgers’ starters needed to come up big for them due to questions in the bullpen and that the Brewers’ bullpen was going to dominate Dodgers batters, so they had best do what they can to score off of Milwaukee’s starters. So, of course, the Dodgers starters turned in performances of three and four and a third innings and eight of their nine runs the Brewers have given up have come from their relievers. I dunno, man. It’s baseball. It lends itself to anticipatory analysis worse than any other sport.

All I do know for sure is that this series has been as close as it gets so far, with each game being decided by a run and the outcome being determined late. The first two games have given me a sense that the teams are just feeling each other out and that the next three, in Los Angeles, will provide a bit more coherence to all of this. Not that there isn’t something a bit fun about incoherence when it comes to a playoff series.

Your viewing guide:

NLCS Game 3

Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:39 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin vs Walker Buehler
Breakdown:

Jhoulys Chacin had an excellent NLDS start against the Colorado Rockies, turning in five scoreless innings. If he does something approaching that tonight the Brewers will be in pretty good shape given that Josh Hader — who pitched three shutdown innings in Game one — is available again tonight. To the extent Craig Counsell needs to dig more deeply into his reliever corps, however, things could get dicey. Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria have combined to allow seven earned runs in four innings. Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant thus far, throwing five scoreless innings, stands a good chance of being the opener for Game 4, so Counsell will likely try to keep him off the mound tonight. That puts a decent amount of pressure on Chacin to get the game to Hader with as few innings remaining as possible.

For Los Angeles, it’s Walker Buehler who, the grand slam he gave up to Ronald Acuña in the NLDS notwithstanding, was the Dodgers’ most dominant starter down the stretch. In keeping with the somewhat flipped script so far, however, the Los Angeles bullpen has been solid, allowing just two runs over their ten and two-thirds innings in Games 1 and 2. Not that Dave Roberts wouldn’t love to see Buehler go deep tonight too.