Dayn Perry is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Dayn Perry: Hello, everybody. Greetings from Chicago. Let's light this candle ...
Andy (Raleigh): Does your first name rhyme with train, can, or neither?
Dayn Perry: Rhymes with "train." Or, if you prefer, "pain" or "stain" or "strain." It does not, however, rhyme with "sandwich."
namtrahj (austin, tx): is brad lidge the best closer in the national league?
Dayn Perry: He's the best closer in either league this season. He's set the NL record for Ks by a reliever, and he's posted a 5.2 K/BB ratio this season. Eric Gagne won the Rolaids Relief Award for this season, but Lidge was the better reliever (and I don't think it's a particularly close call). In fact, he'll be somewhere near the top of my Cy Young ballot.
PineTar (Chicago): Why would Texas want Sammy Sosa's salary?
Dayn Perry: I'm assuming that deal would go down only if the Cubs were willing to assume a good portion of Sosa's 2005 salary. If that's the case, I think it's a defensible move from Texas' perspective. They could use another productive outfielder to join Nix and Mench, and a change of scenery would certainly serve Sosa well. Arlington would make him seem more productive than he really is these days, but he'd still be an upgrade. Not sure if Sgt. Showalter is the manger for him, though ...
Linda Richman (NYC): Watching all this exciting playoff baseball, I'm getting a little verklempt.
Here's a topic: Ron Gardenhire "pulled a Grady Little" last night, leaving Joe Nathan in too long against the Yankees. Discuss.
Dayn Perry: I certainly wasn't wild about Gardenhire's handling of the pitching staff last night. I've no idea why he left Radke in as long as he did, and, like you, I was puzzled by his decision to stick with Nathan when Romero and Crain were both available. I won't call a Grady Little-level failing--simply because the stakes weren't quite as high--but Gardenhire hurt his team last night and probably cost them the game. First do no harm, Grady.
Scott (Seattle): Usually I'm the first one to say Ichiro is overrated and defend Sosa as the better player (until this year), but has anybody checked the fielding stats?
Ichiro +5 FRAA, Sosa +7 FRAA!!
Am I dreaming?
Dayn Perry: I'm statistically inclined (at least for a former lib-arts major), but I'm also a bit of a "soft agnostic" when it comes to defensive statistics. But with regard to the numbers you just cited, I'm a downright Madalyn Murray O'Hair. In other words, there's no amount of numbers--such as we currently have at our disposal--that will make me believe Sosa is a better fielder than Ichiro. As Zumsteg will tell you, I'm not an Ichiro loyalist by any means, but I do know that he's a more valuable defender than Sosa.
GBSimons (Seymour, IN): Dayn,
So far, so good for our Redbirds. I know one game doesn't mean much, but do you think the switch has been flicked back to "ON?"
Dayn Perry: Yes indeed, so far so good. Let's not forget that the Dodger rotation is (arguably) as much in shambles as the Cardinal rotation right now. Cuffing around Perez was critical. He's their best starter, and, because of the extra off day, he'll be going again in a possible Game 4 on regular rest. It was essential, I think, to beat him in Game 1. I also like our lineup's chances against the homer-happy Lima in Game 3. Then again, we'll have Morris on the mound, which means outfield mementos by the dozens on Saturday.
Jerry (New Jersey): If the Twins lose Friday night, Santana obviously pitches on Saturday. Will he still pitch if the Twins win on Friday though?
Dayn Perry: Yes, I think so. He threw only 93 pitches in Game 1, and he wasn't worked hard in his final regular season start. The Twins know the key to this series is that they can start Santana and Radke four times in five games. They won't waver from that plan. I think he'll be fine for Game 4, and I also think the Yankees are facing their second straigh must win on Friday. If they can't beat Silva, they're in trouble.
jefffish11 (atlanta): Dayn,
Let's forget Odalis' Game 1 start for a moment--or longer if we can.
During the regular season, he threw almost 200 innings with an ERA and WHIP that were in the top 10 among NL starters.
And, all of that added up to 7 wins on a team that won the NL West.
How unusual are these seemingly incongruous numbers?
Dayn Perry: You're right, Jeff, those numbers don't add up. The reason is that Perez ranked last among NL qualifiers in run support, with only 3.3 runs of help per start. In reality, he was easily the Dodgers' best starter this season. It's just yet another object lesson in why we shouldn't pay a bit of attention to pitcher wins when evaluating pitchers.
Tony (NYC): Is the burst of flame that appears in the MPH box before any pitch that reaches 90 the most useless/annoying thing that FOX has doen with its broadcast in recent memory?
Dayn Perry: After back-to-back doses of David Justice and Chris Berman on ESPN yesterday, give me bursts of flames and give me many of them.
Scott (Seattle): There's been talk about A-Rod finally coming through in the clutch... but I remember him almost single handidly leading the Mariners to a comeback win in Game 6 against the Yankees in 2000, even though the bullpen gave up about 15 homeruns that game.
How do some players get labeled with not being clutch, especially when it's not true?
Dayn Perry: Coming into this season, A-Rod had a career line of .340/.375/.566 in 15 post-season games. In other words, he was hitting in October even before last night. On another level, most A-Rod value judgements stem from angst over "The Contract" and his vaguely annoying "corporatist ballplayer" image. He's an elite hitter, and that doesn't change when the calendar flips to October.
Jay (Nation's Capital): Tuesday Morning Quarterback links to your Washington Monthly article from 2001 about how the Expos will wind up in DC by 2004 or so. (see http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/story/7769106 about a third of the way down) Are you taking a bow?
Dayn Perry: Thanks for pointing that out, Jay, but, no, I'm not taking a bow. Basically, MLB worked for years to screw over the Expos and legions of loyal Expo fans. It's not surprising, but it's still disappointing and a breeder of even more cynicism toward baseball's halls of power. Every baseball fan who's ever slagged the Expo fan base for doing what any other fan base would do in the face of repeated betrayals should read Jonah's deeply moving piece on his favorite team.
Jeff (San Francisco): Given there is less ground to cover in Citizens Bank Park, should the Phillies try out a home away platoon where in home games, Ryan Howard plays left, Abreu center, and Burrell right with a much less scary outfield alignment during away games? Good bounce back year for Abreu with a +30 increase in VORP, is that sustainable?
Dayn Perry: That's a reasonable idea, but the short answer is that it will depend on the groundball-flyball tendencies of next year's staff. If it's flyball-heavy, I'd be loath to monkey around with the outfield defense on a daily basis. There's no reason you can't use such an alignment when there is a groundballer on the hill. It's my opinion (and the opinion of others here) that groundball-flyball match-ups aren't exploited enough by teams. Maybe that'll change.
pjfsks (morristown nj): High draft picks/rebuilding - considering the huge bonuses they demand and risk that they will never make it to the majors, do you think it would be better for a team like the Mets to rebuild by signing premium free agents (in theory a proven product) and forfeit high round picks, or to completely unload the old guys and try to compete two to three years from now?
Dayn Perry: The latter. The Mets aren't going to compete next season or the season after that, at the least. Even if you have a large revenue base like the Mets, it's impossible to plug every hole with a free agent acquisition. You need homegrown talent (look at the Yankees, for instance). The Mets have actually shown a pretty deft touch with their high-round picks. Keep it going; they'll need them the next time they matter. And make Jeff Wilpon go away.
Dayn Perry: Okay, gang. That'll do it for me today. Enjoy the post-season!