Everyone's intent on the first round's outcome, but you'll want to ask Will Carroll about his observations of what's going down in the four LDS matchups.
Will Carroll: So I'll start a little bit early in case there's some last second football questions prior to the 1pm kickoff, but most of the focus will be baseball. Let's go.
dcoonce (bloomington indiana): Not a baseball question, but can you please shed some light on the Tim Tebow decision/situation? Is this just absolutely insane, letting a kid this young "play through it" or is Urban Meyer really being careful?
Will Carroll: Florida handled this as it was supposed to. Tebow went through every test, every protocol, and was handled very conservatively. He was medically cleared to play and was physically ready to go, so I think Urban Meyer relied on the doctors and on Tebow. I know they worked him out extensively on Friday (this wasn't a last second decision) and felt that he was capable. Yes, there's an increased risk for second concussions, but the doctors cleared him, so I'm not sure what more Meyer could have done. As much as I'd like to see a longer enforced period out, I'm not a doctor and defer to them.
tonipeluso (Oakland, CA): I had the Cards going to the WS, I was very surprised with the sweep. I thought Torre did a great job of keeping Pujols from being a factor with the IBBs in the early games. TLR seemed unwilling to do the same with Manny. Another surprise is how poorly the umpires have been, I don't think I remember so many blown calls in the field.
Will Carroll: I did as well, but credit to the entire Dodgers lineup. Good pitching usually beats good hitting, but two of the best pitchers in the NL took losses to a Dodgers lineup that's showing it's a lot more than just Manny. Take a look at Casey Blake's WARP.
baltimaher (Baltimore): With both guys dinged, Kevin Smith or Bradshaw today?
Will Carroll: I go Smith - more carries as Culpepper is likely to struggle early.
Matt (Chicago): Rob Neyer brought up the subject of a Bonderman-Bradley swap the other day. Given the weak market for MB, is Bonderman a good flier, given health questions, for the Cubs to take?
Will Carroll: I don't HATE that idea, but it leaves the Cubs in the same situation they've been with Rich Harden for the past two seasons. Pitching depth is not a strength for the Cubs. I think they need more flexibility and need to be in a sell mode.
Reed (Rochester, Minnesota): 2 of Moss, Welker, Sims-Walker, Burleson in a PPR league.
Will Carroll: Moss, of course. Bit torn between Welker and S-W. Welker's still not 100% and the Jags should be able to do a bit of what the Colts did to the Seahawks. So Sims-Walker, SLIGHTLY.
paulbellows (Calgary): Can we review again why there are umpires on the lines in the post-season. Why bother if they blow the one call they get?
I'm starting to think teams should get one review each.
Will Carroll: Yeah, I agree. One challenge, ump in the booth watching the replays (or in Secaucus.)
tfierst (MN): Is it possible that Liriano is just on "his timetable" for the TJ recovery? Or is this it? (I know its been two years, I'm still in the denial stage).
Will Carroll: No. Liriano's mechanics are changed and what's making him a bit more healthy is making him a lot less effective. That tradeoff is a tough one, but one teams have to recognize. It's hard to criticize much the Twins do, especially Rick Anderson, but that's one I think they really have to visit hard this spring. It's too late to use the "Halladay Plan" on him. I'd call the Tigers about a deal - they have enough and Rick Knapp knows Liriano and mechanics.
Eli (Brooklyn): Any word on Jamal Lewis? Is his being active enough to make Harrison a poor play (my alternatives are Moreno or Roddy White in the flex). Thanks, Will, I love your work!
Will Carroll: Active. Go with Moreno, who will start and get the bulk of carries.
dianagramr (NYC): Are there any historical comps for Jose Reyes' injury history, and if so, does Reyes have a happy future ahead?
Will Carroll: There are a lot of guys with hamstring issues. What there aren't are a lot of guys who had these issues and stayed an elite player. Look at the speed guys throughout history and you'll seldom see a drop. They started fast, stayed fast, and only trended down with age and even then, more slowly than most would expect. The question now is what is Jose Reyes without his speed? Is he Tony Fernandez or can he become something more like Carlos Beltran?
lmcnelly (pittsburgh): who's having a worse post-season: the umps or TBS?
Will Carroll: TBS ratings are solid, which I guarantee you makes the producers and suits happy. They won't want to change anything. And seriously, does the perceived quality by a knowledgeable audience of announcers affect anything? Joe Buck and Joe Morgan think not.
Quick question for the crowd: Why did Molitor miss the 1984 season?
Bill (New Mexico): Do you see anything in the Cardinals' meek exit that suggests hidden injuries? For starters, where did Pujols' power go, and might Carpenter and Franklin have thrown too many innings before October?
Will Carroll: Everyone wants to blame injury for a team, especially a favorite, getting swept. There's no evidence of a Pujols injury or that anyone else had a fatigue level that's not normal for this time of year. I think Franklin might have worn down a bit, but so did a lot of closers. This is just a team getting beat, from all signs I see.
Eli (Brooklyn): Thanks, Will! What happened to Jericho?
Will Carroll: Hamstring strain. He's very iffy. Not sure that means a LOT more Edwards, but really sure it's good for Washington and Keller.
JA (Chanhassen, MN): What would the Twins and Justin Morneau have had to lose if they tried to play him in the playoffs? From my understanding of his stress fracture is stable, and extended rest will heal it. When they shut him down, they appeared to be out of the playoff hunt. Isn't the chance to win a world series worth the possible loss of a month or two of next season's action, as long as there is no risk of exacerbating the condition into a career threatening situation?
Will Carroll: When he played he was in significant pain. If he played, he could unseat the healing and start the process over. It's also HIS SPINE. You don't mess with spines. They didn't shut him down bc they were out, but bc they got a differential diagnosis that demanded he be shut down.
dianagramr (NYC): Good afternoon Will.
Why would MLB schedule Colorado's home games at night? Isn't it cold enough there during the daytime in October?
(Yes, its all about ratings, I know)
And why are the BoSox playing at Noon eastern?
Will Carroll: Asked and answered.
Jeffrey (Indiana): Sorry for the non-baseball question but do you have any info/thoughts on the Fabio Cannavaro doping/bee sting story?
Will Carroll: Ridiculous. The team didn't file the paperwork for his TUE, so he has to jump through hoops. This is why you don't really want WADA handling pro sports. Cortisone .... I can't imagine teams wouldn't have to hire people just to deal with the paperwork.
jlarsen (chicago): What do the Rays do, Matt Joyce/Sean Rodriguez/Reid Brignac all have spent more than enough time in AAA and really have nothing to prove. Do the Rays assume that Jason Bartlett's 2009 is nothing more than a "fluke" and shouldn't be expect from here on out?
Will Carroll: I assume you think that Zobrist will be a 2B, Jake? I'm loathe to offer the Rays any advice, but like the Angels a couple years back, they're going to need to turn minor league talent into major league talent via trade. There's a point where "best available" stops being so good on a talent level, especially with a real issue of payroll and bullpen.
Dan (Lexington-Concord): Do you think that Cardinals fans and Larussa himself were delusional for thinking that Joel Pineiro as the #3 starting pitcher would get them out the NLDS?
Will Carroll: Did they have a better option? They got to the playoffs on two good pitchers and just enough from the back half. Can they win next year without Dave Duncan spinning golden pitchers out of straw?
tfierst (MN): If the Williams Wall wins its case, how does this affect the ability of sports leagues to test for doping? Will it be possible?
Will Carroll: It will have a significant impact, but I'm not sure how much. The NFL's policy is top to bottom a joke, but MLB's is much more solid and has always advised against any possible use of an unknown subject. The biggest worry is that ultimate responsibility will be gone and leagues will have to prove intent. I don't think they can, meaning either the NFL keeps getting a free pass on doping or they're the ones that will have to turn things over to WADA and all hell breaks loose (as if the 2011 strike won't be bad enough.) Just on stimulants we'll see suspensions that will make your head spin and remember, it's not just WADA testing that's demanded, it's WADA penalties.
OldBean (Boston): If you missed it, Jed Lowrie hit a grand slam on the last day of the regular season, but doing so caused him obvious pain. He's spent basically this whole season and the offseason before it trying to get his wrist in order, and it's unclear to me that anything has improved. So what's the deal? What even is the specific problem at this point? Why does it refuse to go away? Is it some kind of fragility issue with Lowrie, or does it have more to do with how Boston has handled his rehabs/surgery? Most importantly, what are his chances to overcome this going forward? I know that's a lot of questions; I'd greatly appreciate it if you could provide the answer to ANY of them.
Will Carroll: Wrist injuries linger, it's as simple as that. You must have missed the whole drama with David Ortiz, Bean ...
Once a wrist injury does heal, which can take as much as 12-18 months, there's no real problem. (Again, note Ortiz.) I think Lowrie will be better by the start of spring training given the injury, but I'm going to couch that a bit because of the setbacks.
kerrigrr (Queens, NY): Have two start 2 of the following 4 today - Welker, Cotchery, Ricky Williams, Julius Jones. Any thoughts? Thanks!
Will Carroll: Welker, Jones.
Matt (Chicago): Do the Cubs need to "sell" for tweaking purposes or a complete overhaul?
Will Carroll: I dont think a complete overhaul is possible. First, we don't know what direction this team will have from Ricketts. Will anything change or will Hendry still have a free hand? How much payroll room will they have? Will he mind sunk costs? How will the debt service affect things? Will he need to save some cash to build/renovate Wrigley? There's a lot of questions that have to be answered that the Cubs just aren't answering yet. I'm not even sure they know yet.
They're at $120m already and lets assume Harden's not coming back. If they can save anything on Bradley, they're a bit ahead of the game. The guy I'd consider trading is Ted Lilly - last yr of his deal, could have some solid return for the right team.
tgaudette101781 (Montreal): What are your thoughts on Grant Green? What would you say his timetable is and do you think he will stay at short?
Will Carroll: You have mistaken me for Kevin Goldstein. I know nothing about Green beyond his draft status.
sprechs (Brooklyn): How did David Robertson look to you on Friday? There's been no word on any soreness subsequently, so can we take that as a sign that he's close enough to 100%?
Will Carroll: Looked effective, but I don't have much basis for comparison. I don't see middle relievers very much and honestly, don't pay much attention to them because they're by definition replaceable. I am enjoying the breathless, wrongheaded coverage of Chamberlain in the pen.
Meat (some pine, grabbed): How much do you think having to play early in the day (by one's body clock) impacts west coast playoff teams, especially those smaller market teams pushed to 1PM (10AM on the west coast!) starts during divisional series?
Will Carroll: Yeah, I like how the Angels are called a small market team here. I think it's more of an effect now that there's a stimulant policy in place. (And yes, there's a caffeine standard. When I took the MiLB test in '05, I failed. I'd had a couple mugs of coffee and a Starbucks venti Americano that day.)
garethbluejays1 (Newcastle, UK): New GM, maybe some truth when talking about injuries, in Toronto. Marcum, McGowan and Litsch coming back from injury. Any chance that any of the three can pitch effectively in 2010?
Will Carroll: I'll be honest here and say I know almost nothing about Anthopolous besides his age. He has the trust of Paul Beeston and that says something. I'm just not sure how much of a change there will be in the organization. The secrecy and misdirection was not just Ricciardi, though a lot of it was.
Marcum yes - he should be ready for ST. Litsch - not until midseason at the earliest. McGowan I'm just not sure of bc it's the shoulder and he hasn't been able to come back at all after more than a year, which is a very bad forward indicator.
Will Carroll: First time I've ever run out of questions, so I'll assume everyone's watching games or spending the weekend outside due to great weather. Thanks again.