Red Sox

Manfred explains suspension timetable for Gary Sanchez and why Dellin Betances did not get one

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Manfred explains suspension timetable for Gary Sanchez and why Dellin Betances did not get one

BOSTON — Commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday gave explanations to suspension-related issues that directly involved the Yankees but tangentially related to the Red Sox.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez on Aug. 25 was suspended for four games for throwing punches against the Tigers a day earlier. Sanchez’s appeal hearing was slated for Friday, Sept. 1, when the Red Sox were in town, and no decision was handed down until after the Sox left.

Why didn’t it get done sooner? The timetable at least made it look like MLB preferred not to take Sanchez away from the Yanks for their series against Boston. Manfred said the matter was handled as it normally would be. (A New York Post report noted the impact of Labor Day.)

“The best way for me to answer that question is that the Sanchez appeal, suspension was handled consistent with a process that’s existed for literally decades,” Manfred said. “When a player is suspended for on-field misconduct he has a right to appeal because you can’t give a missed game back to a player the suspension is held in abeyance. The hearings are scheduled as promptly as they can be scheduled, usually within 10 days. It becomes difficult to do that when you have large numbers of suspensions coming out of one incident, particularly the two teams go in different directions. You have one hearing officer, it’s very difficult to get them all done within that 10-day period and you know, often, often these matters are settled before they get to hearings. You know, I see the Sanchez thing as kind of standard operating procedure.”

During the same Aug. 24 incident that got Sanchez suspended, Yankees righty Dellin Betances hit the Tigers’ James McCann in the head. He received no suspension after being ejected from a game that was tied at 6 at the time.

Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was suspended for four games earlier this season because he threw in the area of Manny Machado’s head, but did not him. The Sox were ahead, and Dustin Pedroia also was caught on camera trying to explain the decision to throw at Machado.

“Look, I don’t make those disciplinary decisions with respect to on field matters,” Manfred said. “My friend and colleague Joe Torre does. I think that that is a wise decision, or excuse me, division of responsibility because I think in order to make good decisions in that area it involves making judgments that you can only make if you have extensive on field experience. And I think without getting into the Barnes situation, I think that the decision with respect to Betances was grounded in the thought that it was not an intentional act.”

Manfred saw some levity in these questions about the Yankees at Fenway Park.

“It’s interesting, I’ve rarely had this level of interest in an on-field incident that doesn’t involve the club where I am,” he said. “It’s truly astounding. But — yeah, I think that’s fair assumption.”

But if a close game means a presumption of innocence, doesn’t that incentivize teams to throw at players in those situations?

“I don’t think that’s a determinative factor,” Manfred said. “There are a number of factors that in general, and I’m not talking about Joe’s decision-making process in this case, I’m talking about in general, over time, with various on-field disciplinarians. They look at things like the pitcher's demeanor, the game situation, did it make sense that they would be trying to throw at somebody given the particular game situation, the player’s history. A variety of things that I think influence that decision. The umpire’s report, you know those umpires are on the ground, they have a pretty good feel for what goes on. Joe has a lot of information that comes from somebody that’s on the ground which I think is extremely valuable.”

NLCS: Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs

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NLCS: Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs

CHICAGO -For the Los Angeles Dodgers, it's beginning to look a lot like 1988.

Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip - on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since Tommy Lasorda managed Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and company to the championship 29 years ago. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. Their patient lineup is coming up big in key spots and their pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline.

Not even a return to Wrigley Field could get the Cubs back on track after a rough stay in Los Angeles. Chicago manager Joe Maddon juggled his lineup, inserting Kyle Schwarber into the No. 2 slot and benching slumping second baseman Javier Baez, but the defending World Series champions were shut down by another Dodgers starter and more stellar relief from the NL West champions.

Making their third straight appearance in the NLCS, the weary Cubs also hurt themselves with a couple of big mistakes. Carl Edwards Jr. walked Darvish on four pitches with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, continuing a rocky postseason for the reliever and leading to a round of boos from a frustrated crowd of 41,871. A passed ball brought home another run in the eighth, and pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.

Darvish departed after striking out Addison Russell in the seventh, pausing for congratulations from his whole infield before heading to the dugout. The Japanese right-hander allowed six hits, including Schwarber's first-inning homer, in his second career playoff win - both coming this year. He struck out seven and walked one.

Tony Watson got two outs, Brandon Morrow worked the eighth and Kenley Jansen closed it out after Ross Stripling gave up two hits in the ninth. With manager Dave Roberts pushing all the right buttons, Los Angeles' bullpen has yet to allow a run in the series.

The Cubs finished with eight hits, one more than in the first two games combined.

The only four-game postseason sweep for the Dodgers came in the 1963 World Series against the New York Yankees. If Los Angeles can finish off Chicago on Wednesday, the Dodgers would have days off before hosting the Yankees or Houston Astros in the World Series opener.

Schwarber's sixth career postseason homer got Chicago off to a fast start, but Jon Jay struck out with two on to end the inning. The Dodgers responded with Ethier's leadoff drive in the second and Taylor's second homer of the series in the third, a mammoth shot to center off losing pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

Ethier had two hits in his first start of this year's playoffs after he missed most of the season with a herniated lumbar disk. Taylor also had two hits and is 4 for 14 for the series, helping make up for the loss of All-Star shortstop Corey Seager to a back injury.

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

NEW YORK -  With a soaring shot headed for Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on track for another memorable October.

Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and tie the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Baby Bombers trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored when Gary Sanchez hit a go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees overcame three errors and have roared back from a second straight 0-2 series deficit - they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap a three-hitter. New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in their last 21 home games.

Yankee Stadium will be rocking again when Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday. It's a rematch of the series opener, when Keuchel outdid the Japanese right-hander in a 2-1 Astros win.

An AL MVP candidate marred in a sluggish October, Judge sparked the Yankees by chasing McCullers, who baffled the Yankees with his power breaking ball.

Except for the last one.

Judge launched a curveball into the netting above center field's Monument Park for New York's second hit.

"Once we're within striking distance like that, anything can happen," Judge said.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch pulled McCullers after 81 pitches, Didi Gregorius tripled off Chris Devenski and Sanchez brought Gregorius in with a sacrifice fly.

"I thought Aaron's home run just lit a little spark," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double to left, and pinch hitter Chase Headley then did the same - only after falling between first and second base, taking one step back, then heading for second and sliding in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Panic," Headley recalled. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds, but fortunately it worked out."

Brett Gardner brought in Frazier on a groundout, and Judge came to bat with the bundled crowd on its feet.

He reached down to stay with a slider and drilled a double high off the left-field wall as a fan in a longsleeve yellow shirt reached down and touched the ball. Gardner came home with the tying run, and Gregorius grounded a single just beyond shortstop Carlos Correa's reach to put runners at the corner. Sanchez, who had been 0 for 13 in the series, scored them both with a slicing drive that skipped to the wall in right-center.

Houston had not lost consecutive games since Sept. 8-10 at Oakland and the major leagues' best road record during the regular season. The Astros had just three hits and are hitting .153 in the series.

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings but again had no run support. His teammates have yet to score for him in four career postseason starts while he's still on the mound, including twice with New York this year.

Houston took a 3-0 lead in the sixth after George Springer walked leading off, and Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference by Austin Romine - inserted into lineup for his defense.

Robertson walked Altuve and struck out Carlos Correa before Yuri Gurriel lined a three-run double past Frazier and all the way to the wall. Gurriel got hung up between second and third as Altuve scored, and he was tagged out by Judge to end a rundown.

Houston added a fourth run when second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's grounder in the seventh, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second. It was Castro's second error of the game.

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