Mike from Attleboro: Pettitte takes the loss in Clemens case

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Mike from Attleboro: Pettitte takes the loss in Clemens case

Roger Clemens walked out of a Washington courtroom a free man earlier this week, as a jury ruled him not guilty of perjuring himself in front of Congress about taking performance enhancing drugs. In front of a heaving throng of press he thanked his supporters and his family. He reminded everyone that it takes a lot of hard work to have a career like his (those Steroids dont lift the weights on their own!) and could barely finish his statement because he was either legitimately choked up, or he was still fighting the effects of giving the twins a pre-verdict liniment basting.

All things considered, a great day for the man formerly known as the Rocket. He fought the law and he won.

And much like championship ball games, in high-profile, hyper-publicized court cases, where there is a big winner, there is a big loser. Who is my choice to wear the goat horns?

Look no further than self-styled paragon of all things virtuous, Andy Pettitte.

If you believe the press clippings, Andy Pettitte is the Ivory soap of professional sports, 99-and-44100-percent pure. Pettitte himself has never been shy about plugging his own moral credentials. Heres an excerpt from Angelic Andys book Strike Zone: Targeting a Life of Integrity and Purity: As a Christian I also have one goal. I want to fulfill God's purpose for my life. I constantly ask myself "What does God want me to do?" Saint Pettitte didnt just go on any old TV show to pitch his tome either; he was a guest on the 700 Club. If there is a Soul Train for the God Squad, Pat Robertson is hosting it, and you dont get on that show unless Pat thinks he could accept a sacrament off your ass.

Its this kind of squeaky clean resume that made him the Star Witness for the Government in its case against his former best friend. Clemens and Pettitte were both named in the Mitchell Report and Pettitte and Clemens both used the ultra-sketchy Brian McNamee as their Strength and Conditioning trainer. So when it became obvious that McNamee would have serious credibility issues in front of a jury, the Government turned to the morally impeccable Pettitte. And, because presumably, God wanted him to, Andy rolled on his buddy when subpoenaed for testimony by congress. "Roger told me he had used it(HGH) and it helped him with recovery (after workouts)." It was that statement and Pettittes unassailable character that allowed this case to not only progress beyond a grand jury, but hopefully would lead Roger to the perp walk so many were craving.

When Pettitte, currently a starting pitcher for the Yankees, walked to the witness stand on May 2nd, the Government thought it had a closer for its case against the Rocket. Andy sold out his own father, so nailing Clemens seemed like a forgone conclusion. But unfortunately for the Government and bloodthirsty Clemens haters everywhere, when Pettitte put his hand on the Bible, God must have wanted Andy to be an acrobat, because his testimony flipped like a member of Cirque du Soleil. When asked by the defense if he would categorize his famous HGH statement as "50-50 you might have misunderstood?" Andy said: "I'd say that's fair." Going .500 might be good enough for your 2012 Boston Red Sox but for a jury, its all they needed to hear to hand the Rocket the most important decision of his career.

You want to blame someone for wasting your tax dollars on a hopeless prosecution? Blame Pettitte. You want to blame someone for letting Clemens grandstand in triumph? Blame Pettitte. You want to blame someone for this case ending in a way only Suzyn Waldman could love? Blame Pettitte.

Instead of the Clemens legacy getting an indelible black mark in the annals of baseball history, it was the legend of Andy Pettitte as a moral oak that is debunked for all to see. That narrative is destined to end up next to the Andy Pettitte that only did steroids once: filed away in the fiction section. As far as Pettittes book goes, it can stay in the non-fiction wing for now. But Id recommend a new title for the paperback version
Strike Zone: Targeting a Life of Integrity and Purity with 50 accuracy

Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

The Red Sox try again to nail down the A.L. East crown tonight, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against the Yankees while needed just one victory -- or one Toronto defeat -- to clinch the division.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Brock Holt 3B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
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Clay Buchholz P

YANKEES:
Brett Gardner LF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Gary Sanchez C
Brian McCann DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Didi Gregorious SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Mason Williams RF
----
Bryan Mitchell P

 

McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

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McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

Three takeaways from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night . . . 

1) Long relief may be short for the Red Sox in the postseason

The news that Drew Pomeranz won't start Thursday and is dealing with forearm soreness was ominous -- to say the least. While the Sox aren't concerned enough to order up an MRI for the lefty, it seems a fair bet that he won't pitch again this season. Pomeranz wasn't going to crack the postseason rotation and would likely have been relegated to relief duty. Now, even that seems a stretch.

Add that development to the continued absence of Steven Wright and the Red Sox are missing 40 percent of their rotation from late July and early August.

Healthy, both would have been stretched-out and available to provide multiple innings in the postseason.

Of course, most teams would prefer to not have to rely on long men in the postseason, since their very appearance in a game would signifiy that a starter got knocked out early.

When that happens, however, it's nice to have experienced, dependable arms to cover innings and not impact the bullpen's high-leverage pitchers.

Now, in such a scenario, the Sox will likely have to turn to either Robbie Ross Jr. or Heath Hembree.

2) Is Aaron Hill heating up?

In the month of September, Hill has posted a line of .381/.409/.571. On Tuesday night, he blasted a pinch-hit homer.

Admittedly, that's a relatively small sample size. But Hill has had better at-bats of late, especially against lefties.

It's doubtful that he'll take over third base -- now or in the postseason -- full-time, since John Farrell has two left-handed hitting options, with Travis Shaw and Brock Holt. Shaw certainly more power and has shown the ability to go on hot streaks at the plate.

But Hill is a veteran player, albeit one with little postseason experience (11 at-bats in the Division Series for Arizona in 2011) for a 12-year veteran.

And one other benefit: Hill is a .373 career hitter as a pinch-hitter, making him a valuable part off the bench in games started by either Holt or Shaw.

3) One loss is all it took for the second-guessing to resurface

The Sox had won 11 straight before Tuesday's loss, which quickly re-introduced criticism of Farrell.

Starter David Price had given up four runs through six innings, but the Sox rallied for two runs off Tommy Layne in the seventh to tie things at 4-4.

At 76 pitches, Price went back out for the seventh and promptly yielded a two-run homer to Tyler Austin, giving the Yanks another two-run lead.

Price hadn't been sharp in the first six. With expanded rosters, plenty of available relievers and a rested bullpen after a day off Monday, why stick with Price?

Offered Farrell: "You go with a right-hander they’re going to go with [Mark] Teixeira and [Brian] McCann with that right-field porch,” Farrell said. “Wanted to keep the (right-handed hitters) in the ballgame, (but Price) mislocated over the plate.”