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Roundtable: Thursday Playoff Games

Roundtable Home

Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday October 02, 2008 2:00 PM ET Thursday Playoff Games roundtable.


Dave Pease (11:01:12 AM PT): Three games are on Thursday's slate, and we'll be watching. Please join us on Thursday, October 2, at about 2:00PM ET for running commentary on the day's playoff games.

If you'd like to submit a question to be answered during the roundtable you can do so here.

Rick Lopez (11:12:09 AM PT): Anyone like Granderson at the table? They had Smoltz as well yesterday. I like it.

Dave Pease (11:14:22 AM PT): Wendy (Madrid): Who gets good news first? Cubs fans celebrating a World Series win, or Raiders fans celebrating a new owner?

Hmm... Al Davis *sounded* nuts in his Kiffin presser, but he looked pretty good for a man of his age. Still, nobody ever went broke betting against the Cubs.

Kevin Goldstein (11:21:04 AM PT): Welcome everyone to Thursday Playoff Madness! I should trademark that a print t-shirts and stuff. I'll be here through the entire Sox/Rays game and we'll have lots of visitors throughout the afternoon.

I have a problem watching the TBS in-studio coverage, as my first ever professional baseball writing assignment involved driving an hour to interview Cal Ripken -- as a late-moment favor TO Cal Ripken's organization at THEIR request and he totally blew me off and left me with his brother Billy.

I'm still bitter about that one. C-Grand has a snazzy vest, though.

Christina Kahrl (11:22:08 AM PT): Great, every time I snicker at Cubs fans, just go right ahead and remind me about the bittersweet lives of Raiders fans smack-dab in the middle of actual meaningful baseball.


Joe Sheehan (11:25:17 AM PT): Full confession: I wasn't even reading this. I was reading Klaw Chat.

Kevin Goldstein (11:26:48 AM PT): To say something good about TBS, beyond that fact that it's HD, their video quality is outstanding.

I almost . . . almost feel bad for Cubs fans in the sense that the are so damaged that they lose one game and two thirds are them want to act like the season is over. If they lose tonight (and I don't like the matchup) it's over. If they win, it's really pretty much back to even. Stop panicking. While we're at it, I love the Brewers in game two, and like The Rays here in 15 minutes in a close game.

Kevin Goldstein (11:28:23 AM PT): ashitaka (long beach, ca): Maybe not the most popular move, but should the Angels consider declining Vlad's $15M option for next year and instead focus $$$ on signing Teixeira and fixing the right side of the infield?

Don't they have the money to do both? The Angels are hardly poor, and Vlad, slow or not, is still a nice deal at 15m.

Joe Sheehan (11:28:49 AM PT): I kind of like the White Sox today, largely because I think Javier Vazquez is pretty underrated, and James Shields can give up the homers that drive the Sox offense.

Charlie Manuel is really growing on me. It's like listening to Bobby Bowden.

Kevin Goldstein (11:30:00 AM PT): How cool is it, that more than 30 years after the start off his big league career, that Dennis Eckersley has the same haircut and mustache?

Kevin Goldstein (11:30:56 AM PT): oira61 (San Francisco): Will any of you follow Jim Caple and pose like a supermodel on the Tropicana Dome roof?

If it's anyone, it'll be Will Carroll.

Joe Sheehan (11:32:05 AM PT): KG, we know the Rays will be back...is there anything in the Sox system that doesn't foretell a long dry spell?

Christina Kahrl (11:32:14 AM PT): I sort of like the idea of keeping Vlad and chasing after Tex, and with K-Rod, Garland, and Garret Anderson coming off of the books (assuming they ditch that insane $14 million option for '09), they should have the cash. The tough call to my way of thinking is whether or not to re-sign Figgy.

Kevin Goldstein (11:37:12 AM PT): Henry (Princeton): Kevin, can you elaborate on why you don't like the matchup in the Cubs-Dodgers game? I just want to add in that Zambrano is on 8 days rest here, which bodes well for his shoulder strength.

Yes, he threw the no-hitter, but other than that, he was pretty damn bad. In his last four starts OTHER than the no-no, he allowed 22 hits in 15.2 innings, while walking 14 and striking out just nine. I'd be pretty concerned. If you said I could play one game today and have Big Z on the mound or Billingsly, I'd take Billingsley.

Will Carroll (11:37:53 AM PT): I have TNT in HD, but not TBS and yes, I'm bitter. And yes, I'm up for posing on the Trop. Remember, I *am* the driver of the Rays bandwagon.

Kevin Goldstein (11:38:17 AM PT): Joe,

The Sox system is bad. They have Gordon Beckham coming obviously, but that might be the only position player in the system I'd put a chip down on. It's a bad, bad system.

Will Carroll (11:39:17 AM PT): CK -- Figgins is arb-eligible, so are you talking long term? I think beyond Vlad (and I pick up the option), they have a lot of post-2009/2010 issues. Lackey's probably the biggest.

Kevin Goldstein (11:39:48 AM PT): Will,

You need a MLB team in Indy. We didn't have TBS in HD either until last year. It wasn't coming either, but then the Cubs made the playoffs and the whole town went apecrap without it and Comcast hastily added it. It literally got turned on about three hours before game one.

Kevin Goldstein (11:42:47 AM PT): lrgreen (VA): Do the Angels (or any AL team for that matter) have a chance at CC? Or has he found a new home in the NL?

Certainly could happen. I'd actually bet on the Dodgers or the Angels. I think CC wants to pitch close to home, and that's California.

TBS showing the lineups. I still don't get the 1-2 combo of O-Cab and Wise, but that's Ozzie and Ozzie likes speed at the top.

Christina Kahrl (11:44:17 AM PT): The question with Figgins is whether or not to non-tender him, certainly. They should consider it, especially considering what he'll command through arbitration. If they could lock him on terms not unlike his current multi-year deal, that works, but is he going to settle for something in the $3-4 million range? Maybe, and maybe not, but if Tommy Tanzer is still Figgy's agent, I can't imagine that's going to be a fun conversation come November.

Will Carroll (11:45:14 AM PT): I just blame Comcast, which is usually true. And Indy can't support a major league team, sadly.

Talked to people at the game and it's evidently insanely loud there. I saw a 25k crowd in September vs Orioles and it was very loud.

CC? Start with the Giants and work south.

Joe Sheehan (11:45:15 AM PT): I still don't get the fascination with DeWayne Wise. Did Nick Swisher badmouth Venezuela?

And if you're going to play Wise, doesn't he have to be in center field? This is like the maximum possible error for using these three players.

I really do like Ozzie Guillen as a manager, but this is just inexplicable.

Kevin Goldstein (11:47:12 AM PT): Wise whiffs for out number two in the first on Shields' first off-speed pitch of the day. If that's his changeup today, the Sox are screwed -- that was pretty filthy.

David Laurila (11:47:53 AM PT): Looking back to yesterday's late game, the Red Sox tied a record by beating the Angels for the 10th consecutive time in the postseason. The Red Sox are on the wrong end of the record they equalled, having lost 10 straight to the A's between 1988-2003.

Will Carroll (11:49:29 AM PT): Nice first inning. I think the first couple are key for the Rays. They have to make sure the adrenaline doesn't get too crazy and make dumb mistakes.

Christina Kahrl (11:51:36 AM PT): I had this preconception that Shields was a fly-ball pitcher, but he isn't, even upped his ground-ball rate this season... which would seem to suggest Swisher (he struggles against fly-ballers, but mashes the more normal types, this year and on his career, IIRC). I'm guessing he said he misses reading Mariotti within earshot of Ozzie.

Kevin Goldstein (11:52:37 AM PT): PSIllini (Champaign, IL): I am not a White Sox fan so I just assumed that Wise was some sort of prospect that they brought up to fill in for Quentin. Is he really an 8-year minor leaguer?!! They benched Swisher for an 8-year minor leaguer?

Not only that, he's not even a very good one. A fifth-round pick by the Reds in '97, he's always been a toolsy guy without a lot of baseball skills. Toronto took him in the rule five draft in 1999, and since then he's bounced around with the Jays, Braves, Tigers, back to the Reds, and now White Sox.

Career minor league averages entering the year where 256/304/414, although he had a career year at AAA Charlotte this year with a 319/402/565 line in 55 games.

Steven Goldman (11:52:39 AM PT): Any thoughts on where Upton left his home runs this year? Did the parasite that sucked Gary Gaetti dry in 1984 get them?

Kevin Goldstein (11:57:46 AM PT): Quick question with Jim Thome getting to lead off the second. Is Jim Thome suddenly Jack Cust, or is Jack Cust suddenly Jim Thome.

Also, and I hate to harp on this as I'm a bit of a videophile, but it's ironic that TBS' little ads about how cool it is that they're in HD with 5.1 audio arent' really in HD.

Will Carroll (11:58:51 AM PT): SG -- it's the shoulder. He'll have surgery after the season to fix the laxity and probably labrum damage. I think it will come back some next year.

Will Carroll (12:01:03 PM PT): There might be no organization that makes as much an effort to make the gameday experience work as the Rays. Sure, the mohawks are goofy, the cowbells get on your nerves, and the stadium still sucks, but when you go to a game, you don't so much think about that. Now that they're winning and people are coming, I do think we'll see their fan base grow. It worked for the Bucs.

Kevin Goldstein (12:02:23 PM PT): Steven,

I don't think this is ALL of the answer, but he hit 12 more doubles this year with only three more hits, so some of it a difference of feet? I don't think that explains 24 to 9, but I think it's a factor.

Shields looking especially sharp after two, and somebody tell TBS to quit playing their adds so damn loud. I unerstand that they like to up the valume a little but this is ridic.

Kevin Goldstein (12:03:53 PM PT): Punk Lexicon Lesson:

Faux-hawk: Any mohawk that simply involves longer hair down the middle, as oppossed to a full shave job on the sides.

Steven Goldman (12:04:20 PM PT): Will, but are the pretzels any good? That's what's important. Last time I went to Shea, rather than having anything unique of their own they had added a couple of Subway restaurants. I appreciated the opportunity for something healthier than hot dogs and chicken fingers, but it seemed like a cop-out compared to some of the more unique offerings at other parks.

Kevin Goldstein (12:04:55 PM PT): This just in: Evan Longoria has some pop in his bat.

Joe Sheehan (12:05:06 PM PT): Remember, folks--Evan Longoria wasn't the MVP of the left side of the Rays' infield.

Christina Kahrl (12:05:33 PM PT): Nothing like a between-innings sprint with the dingo, and dinna miss a thing.

Will Carroll (12:05:45 PM PT): This Longoria kid is good. As a hitter, KG, do you like him or Braun? While HR is talking about Ripken, it's always been Braun he reminded me of, but I think that's familiarity.

Will Carroll (12:07:57 PM PT): SG - not a pretzel guy. I'll ask ...

On Bartlett, I talked to two players who agreed because of what he did for the pitchers. You can't vote for "defense" so Bartlett symbolized that. I still don't agree, but I understand. I'm hoping to get Marc Lancaster or Marc Topkin on soon to help me understand their voting.

Christina Kahrl (12:09:16 PM PT): Strange but true, Cal ranked among Longoria's top comparables before this season. Konkero and Tony Conigliaro were one-two at the top of that list, not a bad pair as such things go, but Longoria seems much more athletic, certainly more than a young Paulie.

Kevin Goldstein (12:09:30 PM PT): I think both are obvioulsy true impact bats, but if I had to bet on one guy producing more runs, or having a higher VORP or whatever, I'd bet on Braun.

Steven Goldman (12:12:35 PM PT): Good hit for Dioner "Party" Navarro. Joe, all season long I asked myself if he had lived up to the big expectations you had for him as of last fall.

David Laurila (12:12:37 PM PT): Random fact: The Rays have four players in today's starting lineup who were drafted out of 4-year colleges: Carlos Pena (Northeastern), Evan Longoria (Long Beach State), Gabe Gross (Auburn) and Jason Bartlett (Oklahoma).

Kevin Goldstein (12:13:55 PM PT): You can hate on Harold Reynolds all you'd like, but he just described perfectly why Navarro's bloop double fell in, talking about the different between eyeing the ball and running to a spot. It was good analysis, and should be pointed out, because three White Sox players ran to a spot there, and then Wise called people off and couldn't find it.

Joe Sheehan (12:14:16 PM PT): More evidence that players are lousy analysts. Longoria's defense was better, for his position, than Bartlett's was for his, especially with Bartlett's nagging injuries.

Bartlett was an important addition, but calling him the MVP was dumb. Just dumb.

Will Carroll (12:15:19 PM PT): KG -- Shields seemed to come out of nowhere. What was his trajectory and was it the development of the change that pushed him up?

Christina Kahrl (12:16:20 PM PT): Bill (New Mexico): If the Angels (stupidly, IMO) non-tender Figgins, where does he wind up?

I can't help but think the White Sox might be a fit. Cabrera and Crede both seem outbound, there's talk of moving Alexei Ramirez to short (possibly making room for Chris Getz at second) and they seem a bit diffident about Josh Fields. Figgy and Getz at the top of the order would be an improvement on the current choices, and would certainly give Ozzie room to selectively indulge in the MSM meaning of "Ozzieball."

Will Carroll (12:18:07 PM PT): Pena out? Hmm, not a good sign.

Kevin Goldstein (12:18:36 PM PT): More KG Tales: Chip Carey (now doing an ad on TBS) pretty much walke into me a couple years back when I was picking up a credential in the Wrigley Field admin offices.

That's not the offense. The offense was calling me "sport."

The exact quote was, "Sorry there, sport."

I'm still bitter about that one too.

Joe Sheehan (12:19:22 PM PT): In terms of value, Steven, certainly. I do think he can draw a few more walks and hit for more power, especially the latter. But if he just had this season every year, he'd make a lot of money.

My belief in Navarro--who's 24--is why I advocated pretty strongly that the Rays take Beckham over Posey.

Will, what's up with Pena?

David Laurila (12:21:27 PM PT): Random fact #2: Eight different countries are represented on the two rosters (Chicago and Tampa Bay): United States, Japan, Australia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Columbia.

Joe Sheehan (12:23:25 PM PT): And now Reynolds is discussing bunting techniques. I said this when he was at ESPN...when he's discussing the mechanics of playing baseball, he's excellent. So's Morgan. So's Hershiser on pitching. It's when these guys start talking about value that I grind my teeth. But on mechanics...good stuff.

BTW, you don't bunt with two on and none out in front of Orlando Cabrera and DeWayne Wise. Not when your whole MO is three-run homers. Bad play.

Will Carroll (12:24:06 PM PT): All criticism of Dwayne Wise? The exits are now open.

Joe Sheehan (12:24:12 PM PT): Fastball? Really? Wow.

Kevin Goldstein (12:24:12 PM PT): DeWayne Wise gets his revenge on this roundtable with a three-run bomb.

Joe Sheehan (12:24:55 PM PT): Ryan Dempster's off the hook. *That's* the worst pitch of the postseason.

Christina Kahrl (12:26:40 PM PT): Heehee... irony's delicious. I remember picking a playoff slate before the year on the basis of what would annoy the hell out of me the most. Came pretty close to coming true, IIRC.

Kevin Goldstein (12:27:36 PM PT): Will,

Shields KIND of came out of nowhere, but kind of didn't as well, and is a tribute to TB's scouting. He was seen as a 4th or 5th round talent coming into his senior year of high school, but he barely pitched because of back troubles. Most thouught he'd go to college, but the Rays took him in the 16th and signed him after working him out. He always had solid velo, but the development of that changeup is why he is where he is now.

Steven Goldman (12:30:48 PM PT): Following up on my own earlier question about Upton, our intern Ben "Colonel" Lindbergh points out articles saying that Upton has been playing through a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Will, I should have remembered that you brought his up in a UTK back in early September.

Will Carroll (12:32:48 PM PT): I'm saying more once after he was drafted ... I don't remember seeing him on Top 10 lists.

And yeah, Steven I said that above :)

Christina Kahrl (12:34:35 PM PT): I'm wondering about Pena as well... certainly having Aybar in the three-hole is a bit sub-optimal. Especially when you have Hinske on the bench.

Kevin Goldstein (12:35:03 PM PT): Bartlet leads off the third with a single, and strangely, the crowd does not chant "MVP!, MVP!".

Look, it's just a ridiculously silly arguement. I don't care how good the defense is (and it's good, but hardly mind-blowing). You can't be the MVP with a .690 OPS.

As I type this, Iwamura triples in Bartlett to make it 3-2 White Sox and Vasquez looks to be having one of his patented single-inning blow ups. It's the kind of thing Gavin Floyd used to do back in the Philly days to drive them nuts -- look like an ace one inning, and a guy who couldn't get AA hitters out the next.

Will Carroll (12:36:30 PM PT): Still no word on Pena. Efforting, as they say ...

Steven Goldman (12:37:14 PM PT): It's also the story of his year with the Yankees.

Kevin Goldstein (12:37:40 PM PT): Aybar (in for the injured Pena) hits a sac fly to tie the game at three. Anyone else get the feeling that it's going to take around seven runs to win this, or is it just me?

Will Carroll (12:37:55 PM PT): At risk of sounding like Buck Martinez, Iwamura really does all the little things well.

And did I mention this Longoria kid is good?

Joe Sheehan (12:38:28 PM PT): So...anyone want to make a momentum argument based on the last half-hour?

Will Carroll (12:38:37 PM PT): Longoria damn near hit the B Ring. Where's the "how far did it fly" thing when you need it?

Kevin Goldstein (12:38:47 PM PT): Evan Longoria is RIDICULOUS, but that pitch was worse than the one to Wise.

And this is coming from the guy who absolutley HATES how anouncers blame every home run on a bad pitch instead of crediting good hitting.

Christina Kahrl (12:41:05 PM PT): At this rate, I'm wondering if Ozzie isn't going to make like Shane and drop a grenade in Vazquez's car once they come back home.

Will Carroll (12:43:42 PM PT): I'm wondering if Ozzie isn't going to make like Vic and chain Vazquez up there in the dugout.

Kevin Goldstein (12:43:57 PM PT): Quick cross-promotion:

Here's my interview with Longoria just after he signed.

My favorite quote:

"I thought the Rockies were going to take me," recalled Longoria.

Don't forget Rockie fans, with the second overall pick in 2006, the Rockies, for some reason known only to them, selected Greg Reynolds.

Will Carroll (12:44:54 PM PT): HR say "Ball carries more in a dome with people there." That's testable, isn't it? Anyone? Data guys?

Christina Kahrl (12:45:52 PM PT): Johnny (Champaign, IL): "Be nice to Cubs fans, Christina. It's not very much fun to win a division by 7.5 games and then have almost every single doubt you have in the team come into play in the first postseason game. I swear, if Wood had come in to the game, he would have left with a shoulder injury. Telling yourself that the postseason is largely based on luck and shouldn't matter does very little to help."

I know, I should be nice, especially as an A's fan who has had to tell herself that very mantra more times than I care to remember. That said, if the White Sox made it to the Series a second time while the Cubs made another quick exit, there would be something else ironic to chuckle about.

Kevin Goldstein (12:46:23 PM PT): Rob (Brighton): Speaking of ridiculous: Did you see Manny's homer yesterday? Ball too low, slightly off balance swing, still gets taken well over the fence. Man it can be easy to forget that that dude is a force of nature. A childish force of nature, but still...

Perfect example of what I'm talking about, though I'm sure nobody said that was a bad pitch, other than it was out off the strike zone.

Kevin Goldstein (12:48:30 PM PT): Rob (Brighton): Speaking of ridiculous: Did you see Manny's homer yesterday? Ball too low, slightly off balance swing, still gets taken well over the fence. Man it can be easy to forget that that dude is a force of nature. A childish force of nature, but still...

Perfect example of what I'm talking about, though I'm sure nobody said that was a bad pitch, other than it was out off the strike zone.

Will Carroll (12:49:10 PM PT): I hate the way the turf looks in Tampa. The Rams have the same horrid looking turf. Why not go with the Boise State stuff if it's going to look like this? Anything.

Will Carroll (12:49:43 PM PT): Does *anyone* get this T-Mobile ad?

Kevin Goldstein (12:52:23 PM PT): I agree, the turf looks awful. Your suggestion brings up a question. Is it mandated that it has to be green? Could they go blue if they wanted?

Will Carroll (12:54:01 PM PT): If you're a team that's aspiring for the playoffs, do you sign Cliff Floyd, you know, just to see?

Christina Kahrl (12:57:22 PM PT): Blue turf to match the team's colors would be pretty cool. What the heck, it's your environment, embrace it and make it your own. Might be that much extra disconcerting to the other teams.

Steven Goldman (12:58:30 PM PT): Gross was a really underrated pickup for the Rays this year. A nice U-OF to have, under-utilized in Milw.

Will Carroll (1:00:23 PM PT): Rays did the "quality control" coaching thing this year. How many teams pick up the idea next year?

Christina Kahrl (1:01:12 PM PT): FWIW, a friend at MLB.com tells me that, yes indeedy, Longoria's the first-ever player to homer in his first two post-season at-bats.

Kevin Goldstein (1:01:37 PM PT): Steven,

He also gives the Rays a more versatile offense when they make the football team. He can be the more traditional QB (which he was at Auburn), while Carl Crawford (who could have played at several D-I schools), can be the option type.

Kevin Goldstein (1:03:13 PM PT): Christina,

I though Andruw Jones did that, but then I remembered it was his first two world series at-bats.

David Laurila (1:06:30 PM PT): Random fact #3: Dewayne Wise's home run today was his 16th in the big leagues. They have come off 15 different pitchers who have a combined record of 736-713; the winningest of the bunch being Jeff Weaver with 93. Wise homered off Brian Bannister twice this season.

Kevin Goldstein (1:07:01 PM PT): Things I will never do, part 1,495: Bleach my facial hair.

Will Carroll (1:08:22 PM PT): WTF? That had to be a hit and run, but ...

Christina Kahrl (1:08:46 PM PT): But would you pay somebody else to do it for you?

Joe Sheehan (1:09:22 PM PT): Wonderful. The most HR-reliant team in baseball, and it's not close, now wants to be the Twins. The White Sox have wasted two outs in a baserunner in five innings.

Kevin Goldstein (1:10:51 PM PT): A.J. gets caught up in either a missed sign or a blown hit and run to pretty much kill the White Sox inning in the fifth. According to the numbers, Pierzynski had a stolen base this year -- I'm guessing that's some kind of data error.

Christina Kahrl (1:13:22 PM PT): Correction! My MLB.com-padre now says they've determined that Gary Gaetti did it first in '87, so Longoria's not even the first right-handed-hitting, slick-fielding third baseman to do so.

Will Carroll (1:13:47 PM PT): KG -- it was part of a double steal. AJ was the trailer, of course.

Will Carroll (1:14:35 PM PT): And Gaetti is hitting coach at Durham, where I dont think Longoria ever played. Neat to think of Gaetti giving him some advice tho. "Kid, in your first two at-bats, you need to think about going long."

Kevin Goldstein (1:16:46 PM PT): Will,

Longoria played 31 games there last year and seven to begin the season this year.

Christina Kahrl (1:18:43 PM PT): I remember really enjoying watching that '87 series with a friend from South Dakota who's a fire-breathing Twins fan (as such things go). I also remember the announcers being almost stunned to learn that there were good players on the Twins not named Viola and Blyleven... and then mistaking Dan Gladden for one.

Kevin Goldstein (1:19:16 PM PT): More praise for TBS on a technical level. Their 5.1 sound balance is way better than ESPN, who tends to way overshoot on the rear channels so people can show off surround stuff.

Will Carroll (1:19:41 PM PT): I stand corrected. Or sit, I guess.

Joe Sheehan (1:20:21 PM PT): You're carrying seven relievers, down a run, two on, one out, and the batter has two homers in two pitches against your starter.

Why is Vazquez still pitching?

Will Carroll (1:21:06 PM PT): You know, it's neat when they do a crowd shot and I see someone that was at the Tampa Ballpark Event. It's cool and our readers there have good seats!

Christina Kahrl (1:23:18 PM PT): We now know that Longoria + Vazquez does not automatically equal a souvenir, but it still equals runs.

Kevin Goldstein (1:26:07 PM PT): and Joe is correct (no shock there) as Longo delivers an RBI single. It seems that based on the last month of the season, Ozzie lost any confidence whatsoever in his bullpen, except for Jenks.

That said, here comes Clayton Richard -- who I don't have a lot of confidence in myself.

Is there time for another KG story as Richard warms up? In the first year of the AFL, Rays first base coach George Hendrick was managing and I was sitting right behind his dugout. There were like 200 people at the game (it is the AFL) and as he team came off the field he said, "all right, now which of you [expletive, rhymes with suckers] is gonna get me some runs?" Then he looked up in the stands and apolgized to the family sitting a row behind me.

I'm so not bitter about that one.

Crawford singles another one home for a 6-3 win, and it's getting ugly.

David Laurila (1:26:31 PM PT): Random fact #4: According to the Rays media guide, Akinori Iwamura uses an alligator skin glove and owns a toy poodle named "Nuts."

Kevin Goldstein (1:27:13 PM PT): Cliff Floyd has hit about 1200 feet of foul home runs today.

Steven Goldman (1:29:05 PM PT): When Floyd tumbled there, what flashed through my mind was that a fair strat card for him would have more spots where you could roll "60-Day DL" than singles.

Kevin Goldstein (1:34:03 PM PT): Steven,

Floyd always makes me kind of sad. He's one of the ultimate 'what if' goes in terms of health. Back in the early 90s, the great debate over who was the best prospect in baseball revolved around him or Manny Ramirez.

Steven Goldman (1:36:35 PM PT): Kevin, it's one of the oldest stories. I mean, I'm sad about Joe Hauser. Casey Stengel said of Mickey Mantle when the latter was just a teenager, "He has it in his body to be great." How many more players could you have said that about? Many, many more. It's just that some ineffable something, like an ability to stay healthy, is missing... Or a building falls on them. Or in Dale Alexander's case, the trainer sticks the player's leg in a diathermy machine, sets it to 300 Farenheit, and then leaves for the weekend.

Kevin Goldstein (1:37:03 PM PT): dianagramr (NYC): OK .... here's some fun fact to make you all feel old(er). 30 years ago today, Bucky Dent hit THAT homerun.

And that's about all Yankees fans have right now. How weird is it for them to not be playing right now?

Kevin Goldstein (1:39:58 PM PT): Steven,

Sure, but I actually REMEMBER Floyd coming up.

Ah, the Eastern League in 1993.

Cliff Floyd: .329/.412/.600 in 101 games with 26 HR and 31 SB
Manny Ramirez: .340/.416/.581 in 89 games

Steven Goldman (1:42:59 PM PT): Kevin, the closest thing I have to that in my emotional inventory is Don Mattingly's back injury. I was ready to head up to Cooperstown for his HOF induction and everything.

Kevin Goldstein (1:44:14 PM PT): Mike (Jax, FL): 2008 Crappy Bon Jovi = 2006/07 Crappy John Cougar. I was sick of it after the third inning of the Phils/Brew game yesterday

I was sick of both the moment I first heard them.

Kevin Goldstein (1:44:43 PM PT): Joe Madden posts quotes by Camus?

Coolest manager ever, or coolest manager EVER?

Joe Sheehan (1:45:13 PM PT): "Mike (Jax, FL): 2008 Crappy Bon Jovi = 2006/07 Crappy John Cougar. I was sick of it after the third inning of the Phils/Brew game yesterday."

One of the effects of one network--one without a broad array of programming--showing all of these games is that you can get very sick, very quickly, of the same house ads.

I'm not sure why "think of me as your gay cousin" is funny at all, much less so funny as to make the hook for a commercial.

Weird to think that Bon Jovi is now acceptable pop/rock for promoting MLB. I remember hating that my first girlfriend loved Jon Bon Jovi (this was 1987, when "Slippery When Wet" dropped).

Then again, I often wonder whether Michael Stipe sheds a tear when he rolls by an soft-rock or A/C station and hears "Losing My Religion."

Sorry, where were we?

Christina Kahrl (1:46:14 PM PT): This is where I could mention the A's rotation of '80-'81, but I really only had emotional investment in Langford, Norris, and Keough; I never really cared all that much about McCatty and Kingman. Dwayne Murphy's career was never quite the same after his big head-on collision with Mike Davis. Nor was Brent Gates' when his wrist went 'twang'.

Kevin Goldstein (1:46:17 PM PT): When did Clayton Richard become Billy Wagner?

Four straight strikeouts for a pitcher who had 29 in 47.2 innings this year.

Steven Goldman (1:46:24 PM PT): To quote Randy Newman's new album, "There's an old saying... as General Motors goes so go we all... John Cougar's singing it's their country now... He'll be singing for Toyota by the fall."

David Laurila (1:47:32 PM PT): Random fact #5: Clayton Richard played football at the University of Michigan where he was a backup quarterback to Chad Henne in 2004. He completed 8 passes in 15 attempts that year.

Kevin Goldstein (1:48:04 PM PT): "Where were we?"

The middle innings.

I'm pretty sure every girlfriend I had in the 80s listened to New Order. I don't get it. One was a huge fan of Book of Love.

Christina Kahrl (1:49:15 PM PT): I loved Book of Love... might just have to pop that CD in the player.

Steven Goldman (1:52:45 PM PT): Speaking of Mickey Mantle, btw, since he has two spots in the top ten VORP seasons going back to 1954, Albert Pujols' 2008 is the second best season of his career, 23rd best of all time going back to '54 (18th best non-Bonds year, just to throw some red meat out there). Had to believe there's any argument about his MVP-ness.

Kevin Goldstein (1:52:47 PM PT): Yinka Double Dare (Chicago): Can you guys talk bad about some other White Sox guys? You called Vazquez underrated and he stunk it up, you ripped Wise being in the lineup and didn't like Richard coming in and both of them have (quite surprisingly) contributed nicely. Say some bad things about the rest of the Sox hitters, will ya?

Alexei Ramirez will be an All-Star next year.


Will Carroll (1:54:44 PM PT): I saw Clayton Richard play a HS football game. Insanely strong arm, so much so that it cost the team the game. Coach was in love with it despite a 40mph head wind and an offensive line that outweight the defense by an EASY 50 lbs each.

As for the K's, it has to be that he's throwing harder knowing he's not in long, right?

Will Carroll (1:55:33 PM PT): Everyone go to Unfiltered right now. Eric Seidman's findings on Manny Ramirez are pretty cool.

Steven Goldman (1:56:02 PM PT): Yinka Double Dare, Shoeless Joe Jackson was a cheater. There you go.

Joe Sheehan (1:56:18 PM PT): Maybe it was just my location or social circle or what, but the whole New Wave thing, or what I came to call "K-Rock music" when I lived in LA, never happened. New Order was a reason to turn off MTV.

We were all early rap and freestyle dance here in NY.

I think I've seen about 70% of Alexei Ramirez's walks this year.

Kevin Goldstein (1:56:50 PM PT): What kind of odds could I have gotten that Shield wouldn't walk a guy until the seventh inning, ann that when he did, the batter would be Alexei Ramirez?

100-1? 500-1?

Steven Goldman (1:57:33 PM PT): Kevin, Christina, I never have heard Book of Love, but for the first time in a long time I am reminded of the Dead Milkmen song, "Instant Hit," which contained the unperishable lines:

"You'll dance to anything by The Communards
You'll dance to anything by Book of Love
You'll dance to anything by The Smiths
You'll dance to anything by Depeche Commode
You'll dance to anything by Public Image Limited
You'll dance to anything by Naked Truth
You'll dance to anything by any bunch of stupid Europeans who come over here with their big hairdos intent on taking our money instead of giving your cash, where it belongs, to a decent American artist like myself!"

Kevin Goldstein (1:58:08 PM PT): Shields follows the walk to Ramirez with a plunking of A.J. and all of a sudden the bases are loaded and things just got real interesting again.

Shields out, more Frank TV ads on the way.

Christina Kahrl (1:58:42 PM PT): Mike (Jax, FL): "Anyone else think its odd that Brian Anderson is calling the Brewers/Phils series, but Don Orsillo is not calling the Sox/Angels series? Why would they stick one with their regular season team and not the other?"

I always wonder about this sort of thing at this time of year, usually because the national guys end up knowing less about the teams their watching than most of the audience, and that's just sort of lame. Of course, anything involving Chip Caray or the other legacy chipmunks* usually comes off as pretty lame.

* Skip was a singular exception.

Joe Sheehan (1:59:11 PM PT): This is pretty interesting now. I have no idea what to expect from the Rays bullpen. They have a whole bunch of pitchers--everyone but Wheeler, really--with terribly short track records of success, but this year, many of these guys were awesome.

I genuinely don't know if this is a good bullpen or a bad one. Thoughts?

Jay Jaffe (1:59:40 PM PT): If I wasn't ready to stuff the IBA ballot box for Maddon before, I am now.

Steven Goldman (2:01:26 PM PT): Balfour is one of the pleasant surprises of this season... Wheeler has been great, but really had some problems subbing for Percival, didn't he?

Christina Kahrl (2:02:05 PM PT): I guess I'm still stuck with suspension-of-disbelief issues on Balfour's performance; the rest are a bit homer-happy, Wheeler in particular.

Will Carroll (2:02:46 PM PT): I see here on the Forbes Celebrity list than Jon Bon Jovi is worth $67 million. I don't see the Dead Milkmen anywhere on here.

We're halfway there, eh?

Christina Kahrl (2:03:23 PM PT): Cowboy Joe West, diplomat?

Will Carroll (2:03:31 PM PT): Jay - nepotism?

And I will certify that last September when Joe and I sang the 7th inning stretch at the Trop, he noted both Navarro and Balfour as guys he liked. I mocked him.

David Laurila (2:03:33 PM PT): Random fact #6: According to the Rays media guide, Grant Balfour went on a tour of the Australian vineyards in the past offseason.

I am not kidding when I say that the Rays media guide is as good, if not better, than any I've seen. Ditto their media relations department, actually.

Joe Sheehan (2:03:58 PM PT): Remember when teams used to sometimes use substitute batsmen for their lesser hitters in key situations?

I'm thinking that would have been useful with Juan Uribe up against a power righty with the bases loaded. Is Swisher even on the roster?

Kevin Goldstein (2:04:16 PM PT): Joe,

I don't have an answer. Any evaluation of the bullpen has to have to term 'unproven' in it. I don't know if it's real or just lightening in a bottle when you think about how combustable relievers are.

Balfour whiffs Uribe and then gets into a strange bit of yelling between he an O-Cab over pretty much nothing. It is entertaining. Reynolds says they have to have some kind of history, and I agree. Anyone know?

Steven Goldman (2:04:19 PM PT): "Hey, Balfour, don't give me any of your weak-ass 95 MPH stuff! Throw me a change-up like a man!"

Kevin Goldstein (2:05:45 PM PT): Balfour whiffs Cabrera, pumps a fist and points at him.

It was totally cool. It looked like Ozzie was coming on the field when they went to ads.

Steven Goldman (2:06:01 PM PT): Balfour says, "It ain't bragging if you can do it."

Steven Goldman (2:07:13 PM PT): PSIllini (Champaign, IL): Why not pinch hit for Uribe with Swisher?

I had a similar thought, although I didn't voice it because the only White Sox PH I could name at that moment was Jerry Hairston, Sr.

Steven Goldman (2:08:24 PM PT): You wonder if someone gets dusted here.

David Laurila (2:15:30 PM PT): Two things to consider if Cabrera were to have charged the mound: 1) Balfour played rugby in high school, 2) Had he opted not to fight, Balfour aspires to be a triathlete, so he could probably outrun Cabrera. If necessary, he could leap into Tampa Bay and outswim him.

Jay Jaffe (2:15:36 PM PT): "Joe West" and "keeping cool" - not often part of the same thought balloon.

Joe Sheehan (2:18:23 PM PT): Nick Swisher, just in time to watch allllll the horses running out in the fields.

Joe Sheehan (2:19:54 PM PT): Errr...E-Sheehan (inf). Sorry about that. Looked up, saw the RH batters box occupied, assumed it was Swisher for Wise.

I have to assume he's in Witness Protection.

Jay Jaffe (2:24:28 PM PT): I think Swisher must have run over Ozzie's mailbox or eaten his sacrificial chicken or something.

David Laurila (2:32:01 PM PT): Random fact #7: Rays third base coach Tom Foley was a left-handed quarterback in high school. He did everything else, including throwing a baseball, right-handed.

Jay Jaffe (2:40:29 PM PT): "Trieu (Cambridge, MA): This is apropos of nothing, but I'm hoping Bill Simmons didn't spend a lot of time on that piece about MannyBManny, because it was pretty dumb. (And I speak as a fan of them both.)"

I haven't read the whole thing, and I rarely read Simmons, but the one thing I took from the part I read was increased support for the notion that the Red Sox's overly cozy relationship with certain media types was a central actor in the story of Manny's falling out of favor in Boston.

Kevin Goldstein (2:42:41 PM PT): Sorry folks, had an unavoidable phone call. Rays threatened in the 8th, but we go to the ninth with Dan Wheeler on the mound with three outs to go and a three run lead.

David Laurila (2:43:05 PM PT): With Dan Wheeler coming on in the ninth, a question that has to be asked is: Do the Rays have reliable enough closer options to win three postseason series?

Kevin Goldstein (2:45:24 PM PT): One of those embarassing moments as Konerko takes ball three and starts trotting to first. Whoops.

David Laurila (2:48:03 PM PT): Konerko wins the battle of Rhode Island natives by taking Wheeler deep. The ChiSox have life.

Will Carroll (2:48:06 PM PT): Cardiac Dan strikes again.

Kevin Goldstein (2:48:26 PM PT): Konerko ends a pretty epic 11-pitch at-bat with a towering home run down the left field that just barely stays fair. 6-4 Rays. Still no outs.

Joe Sheehan (2:48:28 PM PT): I'm pretty sure it's going to be Wheeler all the way, David. He's good, not great--I'd like to see Maddon play matchups, given the way his relievers dominate their sides.

I don't think Percival gets the job back if healthy.

Joe Sheehan (2:49:47 PM PT): Griffey: 0-for-4, played a double into a triple that cost the Sox a run.

Kevin Goldstein (2:52:53 PM PT): hotstatrat (Toronto): Ed Brink-O-Meter Brinkman was the shortstop and MVP of the 1972 division winning Detroit Tigers. His O+S was .538.

To quote Lou Reed, "You know, those were different times."

Griffey hits a non-threatening flyball to left, and Alexei Ramirez now has his own version of an epic at-bat, fouling stuff off left and right. Even if he gets out of this, chances are good the Wheeler won't be available in a close game tommorow, as he has one one so far and is about to throw his 20th pitch off the inning.

Kevin Goldstein (2:54:33 PM PT): Wheeler gets Ramirez to chase a slider, and now it's up to A.J.

The Konerko bomb quited the crowd, but only temporarily.

Kevin Goldstein (2:55:39 PM PT): Pierzynski goes F-8 and this one is over. Brewers/Phillies starts in 18 minutes, so I have enough time to turn on the PS3 and start my download of the Bioshock demo. See you in 15 or so.

David Laurila (2:55:51 PM PT): One in the books for the Rays. An entertaining game, and a good start to a good day/night of baseball.

Joe Sheehan (2:56:41 PM PT): How simple are the White Sox? They only score by hitting homers (five runs on three homers last two games), leaving the following variables to their games:

1) hitting homers

2) getting a good start

They did half that today. Not good enough.

Don't know what I'll write about tomorrow, as I've used all my material here.

Jay Jaffe (3:00:10 PM PT): So the Rays take Game One. Their fantastic storyline continues.

I mention this because I asked about it on our internal mailing list and got nothing but crickets. During yesterday's slate of games, the TBS teams showed the data regarding teams' records in five-game LDS series in which they won the first game. There was an alarming split across leagues. NL teams that have wonn the opener have gone onto a 23-4 record (.852 winning percentage) in their five-game series. AL teams that have done so have gone 12-14 (.462).

I looked into this a bit more closely today and discovered that the Yankees bucked the trend in nine of the 12 Torre years, losing the openers in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004 but going on to win, and winning the 1997, 2002, 2005 and 2006 openers but going on to lose. Only three times during the 12 years did they follow the trend -- 1998 and 1999, when they swept the Rangers, and 2007, when they got blown out of the first game and lost the series.

In all, teams that have won the first game of an LDS series have gone 35-18 in the series.

Will Carroll (3:00:26 PM PT): Still room on the Rays bandwagon. I'm off to try to figure out PIP.

Dave Pease (3:08:50 PM PT): petenmark (Bellmore, NY): Not sure I can describe how good Bioshock was - graphically amazing and an excellent story. (And this is coming from an RPG nerd) Mark

so this isn't videogamesprospectus.com, but since we're between games: Bioshock on Vista was the most crash-tastic experience I've had since they took Billy Joel's keys away, and it peaked too early.

Hey, Kevin, what'd you think of the ending of Half-Life 2?

Joe Sheehan (3:12:54 PM PT): Idle thoughts as we wait for the next game...

CC Sabathia is about to start his fourth game in 12 days, all must-win games.

He pitched well in both of the last two, albeit against the Pirates and the Cubs' bench.

The last three times he went over 120 pitches, he pitched very well his last time out. This is 122 pitches AND short rest...not sure what that might mean, but my sense is it isn't good.

Despite Ryan Howard's massive split, the Phillies' were 44 OPS points better against lefties than against righties.

Wind is blowing in Philly, but I'm not sure how much.

Brett Myers ran out of gas at the end of the season--two awful starts after six good weeks.

I don't know who's going to win, but I strongly suspect we'll see more runs than yesterday, and relievers getting both decisions.

Kevin Goldstein (3:16:04 PM PT): I loved Half-Life 2 -- I was late to the party, but pretty much loved everything about that game.

Eternal Sonata demo also on the PS3 store just updated. I downloaded the Japan demo on Monday, but had problems with the language -- it was pretty wonderful graphically though.


I have problems picking this game, and it's all because of Brett Myers. He was unhittable at times after his return, with the occasional flashes of the old Brett Myers.

So far so good as he whiffs Cameron on three pitches to start the game.

Kevin Goldstein (3:20:25 PM PT): Durham walks, Braun doubles on a way-too-up fastball and just misses a home run, giving us second and third with one out. They'll intentionally walk Fielder to load the bases (is that a good thing tactically in the first inning of a scoreless game -- can one of the smarter people comment on that?) and now the bad version of Brett Myers faces Hardy.

Joe Sheehan (3:21:14 PM PT): You didn't address that to me, but...no. No, it's not.

Kevin Goldstein (3:22:13 PM PT): Brian Gallagher (Evanston): Brett Myers is more likely to ______ than Carlos Zambrano.

My answer is "walk J.J. Hardy with the bases loaded to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead."

Kevin Goldstein (3:24:07 PM PT): A possibly massive play to end the inning as Corey Hart swings at the first pitch to ground into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play. I'd send him to instructs for that.

Joe Sheehan (3:25:43 PM PT): Boy, I don't know...four-pitch walk, and Braun swings at the next pitch. Five-pitch walk, and Hart swings at the next pitch.

Don't you have to make Myers work a bit harder than that? KG, I know you and I have gone around about this before, but I have to question the approaches in that inning.

Dave Pease (3:26:13 PM PT): Not the first time I've been disappointed in Hart in 2008.

Kevin Goldstein (3:29:58 PM PT): In this situation, I'm with you, Joe. They had him on the ropes and backed away basically.

Joe Sheehan (3:30:01 PM PT): Joe Simpson: "Victorino a switch-hitter, he can split up the lefties a little bit..."

Rollins SS
Victorino RF
Utley 2B
Howard 1B


I love it when Manuel does this, by the way. Go Utley/Victorino/Howard, you lose NOTHING and make life hard on Brian Shouse. Why is this so difficult?

Kevin Goldstein (3:31:56 PM PT): Victorino doubles off the third-base bag with one out and promptly steals third. Commence discussion about his energy, grittiness and gutsiness. Don't get me wrong, I actually like Victorino quite a bit, but he's also the kind of guy who gets over-rated because of visibly discernable energy.

Kevin Goldstein (3:33:17 PM PT): Sabathia blows away Chase Utley with 96 mph gas inside to get the huge second out.

I bet he does the same to Howard here.

Kevin Goldstein (3:35:05 PM PT): FB, SL, SL and I temporarily look smart.

1-0 Milwaukee after one -- despite the double, CC looks pretty great -- not that it's a huge surprise.

Joe Sheehan (3:38:56 PM PT): Seventeen pitches. I think we'll want to keep an eye on that number tonight. I know he's been a horse, but at some point--maybe not tonight, I don't know--it would seem to have to catch up to him. He did struggle late last year after a big workload.

Kevin Goldstein (3:42:47 PM PT): Meyers settles down and gets a 1-2-3 top off the second, but I'm not sure how much one can learn from that when that 1-2-3 is Craig Counsel, Jason Kendall and Sabathia.

Kevin Goldstein (3:44:21 PM PT): From the Dodgers media folks: tonights lineups for Dodgers/Cubs. No big surprises.


Furcal. SS
Martin. C
Ramirez. LF
Ethier. RF
Loney. 1B
Kemp. CF
DeWitt. 2B
Blake. 3B
Billingsley. RHP


Soriano. LF
Theriot. SS
Lee. 1B
Ramirez. 3B
DeRosa. 2B
Edmonds. CF
Soto. C
Fukudome. RF
Zambrano. RHP

Kevin Goldstein (3:49:24 PM PT): Joe looks a bit prophetic as the bottom of the second begins with a deep fly out by Burrell and a hard hit double by Werth. Sabathia's velocity is fine, but his location is quite messy.

As I type that, Feliz doubles down the left field line to tie the game at 1-1.

Kevin Goldstein (3:55:32 PM PT): Brett Myers (four hits all year) battles away and gets a big round of applause when he fouls off a 97 mph fastball and extends the plate appearance to nine pitches before drawing a walk. That draws a visit to the mound from Mike Maddux.

Adam (BJM Fan Club): kevin: you've talked a lot about audio and video. give us a peek on the inside and lets see the set-up. bp readers want to know.

Ask and ye shall recieve.


46" Samsung 1080p
Sony amplifier with all sound routed through digital optical
5.1 speakers

Kevin Goldstein (3:57:51 PM PT): tylernu (Ithaca, NY): That Myers at bat, accompanied by the raucous crowd, is one of the best moments I've seen in baseball this year. How fantastic are the Phillies fans? About 10 times more than those pathetic Cubs fans, that's for sure. (Full disclosure--Reds fan).

It was awesome. Sabathia walks Rollins on four pitches (two were borderline) and Sabathia is already at 44 pitches. The last thing Milwaukee needs as a close game that requires significant bullpen work.

Joe Sheehan (3:58:33 PM PT): KG, no argument about his location, but he's getting squeezed more than a little bit here. The 3-2 to Myers, and at least two of the pitches to Rollins, were close or clearly strikes.

At close to 50 pitches, what we do know is that the Brewers will need a lot of bullpen tonight.

Joe Sheehan (3:59:53 PM PT): Looks like Shane Victorino won't be buying his own drinks for a while.

Kevin Goldstein (4:01:10 PM PT): Wowza. Victorino grand slam is it's suddenly 5-1 Phillies.

Shades of last year's playoffs for C.C., only with a different team. Disaster for Milwaukee. They have to kind of offense to put together a comeback, but all the kind of bullpen where four runs is highly unlikely to be all they'll need.

Jay Jaffe (4:03:12 PM PT): Oy vey. This is not good for the Brewers.

Joe Sheehan (4:04:52 PM PT): So Sabathia clearly isn't Sabathia tonight. Do you accept that, shut him down and hope that you can get a great Game Five start? (Or even a relief appearance in Game Four in front of an off-day?)

Given that his performance from this point forward isn't really relevant to the game, and that you have a million pitchers...I really think I'd get him out of there. I'm trading so-so innings in a 1-5 game for hopefully better innings in a 0-0 game.

Jay Jaffe (4:08:21 PM PT): At 5-1 in this park, with a lineup that can put a 3-spot on the board, I don't think you can give up on this game yet. Game 5 would be on normal rest, so I see no reason not to get Sabathia up to a modest pitch count so long as the deficit doesn't keep increasing.

Kevin Goldstein (4:08:50 PM PT): I go back and forth on that. I almost have more confidence in Sabathia keeping the game within reach that the Milwaukee bullpen. Maybe if it's game one you tank it, but game two, already down 1-0?

Joe Sheehan (4:12:27 PM PT): Where I'm at is that it's not SABATHIA, but a four-starts-in-12-days version, coming off the 122-pitch start, clearly fighting his command. I don't know that the difference between that and Manny Parra for three innings is worth more than the potential gain of a short start on Sabathia's next outing.

CC starts the third.

Kevin Goldstein (4:14:20 PM PT): Sabathia begins the third with three straight balls to Ryan Howard, but he battles back to strike him out. The velocity is still there. . .

Joe Sheehan (4:15:47 PM PT): Put another way, if you're not going to use your EIGHT relievers here, WTF are they all doing on the roster?

Joe Sheehan (4:20:47 PM PT): "tsrybicki (chicago): With Villanueva and Parra both pitching yesterday, does that put a limit on your long man options? It seems that maybe Sveum was banking on CCs innings."

Parra went 2/3 of an inning. Villaneuva is probably unavailable. One way or another, you can use Torres and Shouse--either it'll be close, or they'll need the work in a blowout. A third of your roster is relief pitchers, for god's sake.

Jay Jaffe (4:21:36 PM PT): Nice to see Jayson Werth finding as much success as he has this year. I always liked him with the Dodgers and was sorry to see him go after suffering that wrist injury. Good OBP, decent power, good baserunner with some speed, the ability to cover center, lefty masher who's not a total loss vs. righties. That's a tasty package in one ballplayer.

Kevin Golstein (4:25:56 PM PT): Ok folks, I'm off to a previous engagement, will return possibly towards the end of the Cubs game.

Jay Jaffe (4:29:44 PM PT): As Corey Hart takes one for the team...

"Mike (Jax, FL): Corey Hart has been more like Jay Payton lately then anyone I can recall. He's awful against any slider pitcher and seems lost since mid August. Am I crazy to want him moved down in the order?"

As bad as Hart has been over the last several weeks, I'd never saddle a player with a Payton comparison. I saw Payton make mistakes as a Met worthy of a stern lecture from a Little League coach, such as the time he ran from between second and third base back to first without touching second on a fly ball that was caught and was called out.

will carroll (4:36:47 PM PT): myers is killing cc. Aside from that he's just missing.

And for those wondering, yes you can post in roundtables with an iPhone.

Jay Jaffe (4:40:15 PM PT): Will, we need a nice standalone app for the iPhone, or a wireless interface. Dealing with logins on there kills me.

Jay Jaffe (4:44:18 PM PT): And that, in all likelihood, is Sabathia's last pitch as a Brewer. It was a hell of a ride while it lasted, and if he doesn't throw another pitch for them, just getting the 25-year-old monkey of a postseason drought off that franchise's back is pretty big.

Joe Sheehan (4:50:17 PM PT): "Hey, Mitch. Bases loaded, two outs, our season on the line. Some people think he's the MVP. Go get 'em!"

Don't tell me about experience in the postseason.

Jay Jaffe (4:50:28 PM PT): Speaking of Witness Protection, where the hell did everybody else go?

"akachazz (DC): I'm kind of pulling for Milwaukee just because of Sabathia's heart, but as a Boston fan, I can't help rooting for Dale Sveum's demise. The memory of many a Sox baserunner being sent needlessly and pitilessly to his doom is still seared into my memory."

Hell hath no fury like a fan towards his team's third base coach. Was he worse than Windmill Kim? In Sveum's defense, they did win the 2004 World Series while he was on the job. You'd think he deserves that much slack.

Jay Jaffe (4:57:16 PM PT): "Getting rid of a postseason monkey was big, but was it worth 6 seasons of Matt LaPorta & company? "

Possibly. LaPorta was blocked at LF, RF and 1B, for one thing, and given Nate Silver's work in Baseball Between the Numbers about the long-term revenue impact of a single postseason appearance and the fact that CC's departure puts an extra sandwich pick in the hands of Zduriencik, I think the Brewers will make up for his loss.

Joe Sheehan (5:04:11 PM PT): I'm closing in on a dinner break. I'll be back for most of Cubs/Dodgers. Not sure who else is around...

Don't try this at home, folks. We're the professionals.

Jay Jaffe (5:08:28 PM PT): And that's the dinner bell ringing for me as the Brewers escape a jam to end the fifth. Back a bit later.

Will Carroll (5:12:45 PM PT): Ok, so I'm jumping in here as Myers continues to cruise. The question now is how long Ol Cholly lets Myers goes. My guess is deep, since he'll have plenty of rest before the NLCS. Seven pitch innings help.

Joe Sheehan (5:15:03 PM PT): For Ryan Braun to end up better than Evan Longoria, he's going to have to stop swinging at pitches above his neck. That's why he wasn't on my MVP ballot--it's not pitch recognition with him, it's actual patience and discipine.

Thing is, I think he'll get there.

Will Carroll (5:15:04 PM PT): Had anyone noticed that Robin Yount came in to help the Brewers as bench coach? He was with Arizona a couple years back, I think with Brenly, but I honestly have no idea what he's been doing since. Anyone?

David Laurila (5:15:23 PM PT): I took a break from the game to get some much-needed editing done, and upon my return it appears as though Myers is pitching a strong game. The Brewers need some sort of spark or they're in deep trouble. They're certainly capable of winning three straight if they lose this one, but it would be a tall order.

Caleb Peiffer (5:17:18 PM PT): Four stolen bases, zero caught stealing for the Phillies. That hasn't happened very often against Kendall this year, who threw out 41 of 96 in the regular season. Philadelphia of course finished second in major league history at an 84.5 percent clip on the bases, behind only last year's Phillies team.

Will Carroll (5:17:20 PM PT): Jrobs say: "Joe, you mentioned that CC is getting squeezed a bit. No disagreements, but I think the "squeezing" is going both ways. Small strike zone today. This may be contributing to Smoltz's point, which is that CC is not hitting the corners at all."

I'm not Joe, but isn't this precisely the thing we have whatever the TBS version of K-zone for? Yes, we also have Pitch F/X now, but with the tool right there and the little light trail thing, is there any reason not to check? "Evidence" is something that should be in the toolbox of every announcer from this point forward. I honestly think they're scared of criticizing umps. I'd bet it will come out well for the umps if the announcers do this.

David Laurila (5:17:22 PM PT): Rough series for Cameron so far; he's looking his age.

Caleb Peiffer (5:18:47 PM PT): Mike Cameron lets another ball go off his glove. He really seems to have lost a step in center field. He's 35 now, so that's understandable.

Caleb Peiffer (5:27:18 PM PT): Where did this "October Gonzo" character come from?

Dave Pease (5:28:15 PM PT): lrgreen (NYC): "BP2007 said that Seth McClung was 25 saves away from being the All-Time Saves leader for West Virginia natives. Who is the all-time leader in this robust category?"

Lew Burdette!

baseball-reference is awesome.

David Laurila (5:31:51 PM PT): A few ChiSox-related notes on Mike Cameron:

18th-round pick by the White Sox in 1991.

Traded to the Reds in 1998 for Paul Konerko

Traded to Seattle in 2000 as part of Ken Griffey Jr. deal

David Laurila (5:34:04 PM PT): Add one run to the Brewers' ledger on the ground out, courtesy of someone with an accouting degree from Notre Dame.

Derek Jacques (5:34:42 PM PT): "lrgreen (NYC): BP in 2007 said that Seth McClung was 25 saves away from being the All-Time Saves leader for West Virginia natives. Who is the all-time leader in this robust category?"

Lew Burdette had 31 career saves, per BB-Ref, but 16 of those preceded Holtzman's invention of the save rule, and all of them preceded saves becoming an "official" stat in 1970.

Derek Jacques (5:35:30 PM PT): Curse my slow refresh rate!

Jay Jaffe (5:36:23 PM PT): Just got my mail and found a Brewers towel waiting for me, courtesy of my mother-in-law, who was at the Braun walk-off grand slam game. Probably too late to help their cause, alas.

Caleb Peiffer (5:54:24 PM PT): This game's not over--don't forget that Lidge threw 35 pitches last night. He might not be that effective...

Derek Jacques (5:54:28 PM PT): "Brian Gallagher (Evanston, IL): So the Internet Baseball Awards...can we open up a "Feckless Lout" or "Biggest Idiot" category? Can I nominate Orlando Cabrera? Better yet: Can the winner receive a bobblehead depiction of Orlando flogging Bob Rosenberg?"

What? You don't love the disfunctional family vibe the White Sox have brought to this postseason?

Jay Jaffe (5:54:51 PM PT): Jeez, is it my hygiene? where the hell did everybody go again?

Derek Jacques (5:57:15 PM PT): ...and cue a Buster Olney "sports psychiatrist" crack for Prince Fielder.

Derek Jacques (5:59:00 PM PT): Dunno, Jay. I think it was just that none of us could match your towel story.

Jay Jaffe (6:02:15 PM PT): Late-arriving towel keyed one run for the Brew Crew. Might have been a game-changer if I'd had it back in the early innings.

Derek Jacques (6:02:53 PM PT): OK, now I'm starting to think that I scared everyone away...

"Dexter Fishmore (New York, NY): Which is the bigger mismatch: Sean Marshall vs. Manny, or Biden vs. Palin?"

Someone should have gotten Katie Couric to lower our expectations for Sean Marshall...

Jay Jaffe (6:02:53 PM PT): One of the things on Doug Melvin's shopping list this winter is a lefty bat for the top or middle of the lineup to go along with Fielder.

David Laurila (6:03:41 PM PT): My best estimate is that my 11 year old has now seen the Viagra ad(s) three dozen times since the playoffs began.

I have a vague recollection of the-watching-baseball experience, on TV, being a wholesome activity.

Derek Jacques (6:09:18 PM PT): The 2008 Phillies have the second-highest team stolen base percentage in our database (84.5%), topped only by last year's club (87.3%), so that Jason Kendall throw-out is practically a collector's edition.

Jay Jaffe (6:12:37 PM PT): Crap, Derek. I should have caught that in my preview. I mentioned the high success rate but didn't check to see if it was a record.

Derek Jacques (6:12:48 PM PT): David: Will brought up the idea a few days ago of alternative broadcast teams for games, something they've tried doing with the Hot Corner. What I'd really appreciate is the ability to select an alternative slate of commercials when I'm watching TV.

Joe Sheehan (6:14:28 PM PT): My mouf if fll.

Will Carroll (6:36:04 PM PT): At least Frank is self-aware this year. The "Dr. Phil" ad essentialy admitting they were gonna shove it down our throats had me laughing out loud.

If you ever get a chance to see Frank live, do it.

Joe Sheehan (6:36:54 PM PT): Sorry. Just explaining my absence.

Chad Billingsley against seven RHBs on a cold damp night. Carlos Zambrano against a patient, deep lineup.

Am I missing something, or are the Cubs in a spot here?

Will Carroll (6:37:23 PM PT): Dick Stockton's point is interesting. When I was at Game 7 in 2003, the crowd was dead, still shocked by the Bartman Game. If they're up a bit, well, good.

Ok, you know how a widescreen TV kinda stretches things to fit? That's really bad when the thing it's stretching is the guy who ate Tony Gwynn.

Derek Jacques (6:38:55 PM PT): "James (Roxbury): Come on now, these Viagra commercials are pretty tame. Are they really any less wholesome then, say, Family Guy commercials. Captain Morgans commercials?"

For me, it isn't that the Viagra ads are lurid, it's that they're pervasive. There are simply other products--or even just categories of products--I'd prefer to have pitched at me when I sit down to watch a ballgame. We have thousands of channels, I'd have to think that a few different commercial options could be available for a baseball broadcast.

Will Carroll (6:39:06 PM PT): I want Nate mocked mercilessly for watching the VPilf debating tonight rather than the Cubs. This is the biggest waste of baseball talent since Rany started medical school.

Will Carroll (6:42:58 PM PT): Anonymous say: "Will, I worked for PitchTrax in 2001 - 2002 and they specifically told us that it was not supposed to be used for disputed strike calls. Even though that seemed to be the best use of the tool...as a side note the guy sitting next to me was using the umpire grading tool, using the same technology. Go Figure."

I'm not saying use it to criticize. I'm just saying don't say he's getting squeezed and then not show how this is the case. Support yourself with the tools. Use the telestrator to show things like they do in football. Show how Cameron's bad route cost him. Did the diving shortstop do so because it was a great play or because he started the wrong way. Etc.

Will Carroll (6:43:18 PM PT): Zambrano's elbow is low in warmup pitches.

Will Carroll (6:43:51 PM PT): Source at ballpark say: "Lou Piniella is planning on Zambrano going 120."

Will Carroll (6:44:14 PM PT): Of course, if he pitches like Sabathia did today, that's what four innings?

Will Carroll (6:45:13 PM PT): The elbow is low, but not terribly low. On the third pitch (93) he dropped a bit to get some velocity. Nice play that should help Zambrano. He does well when he's constantly in the game.

Will Carroll (6:49:05 PM PT): Jeff asks: "Will, any prediction on the Good Z/Bad Z question today? Seems that he'll be going on a decent amount of rest tonight."

Looks good so far. Elbow's not too low and he's showing mid-90's velocity. Question is whether he can keep it going through five. Efficiency is key for him tonight, more than normal.

Joe Sheehan (6:50:17 PM PT): Silly. Reality Kings will probably have the debate available for download.

Will Carroll (6:54:22 PM PT): Joe: Coke Zero coming out of my nose burns.

Can we just start calling Billingsley "Sir Mix A Lot" and be done with it?

Will Carroll (7:02:44 PM PT): Question on Sabathia: "Will, PHI/MIL postgame question -- any recent data on Sabathia's consecutive "short rest" starts? Was tonight all the short rest "catching up" to Sabathia or was it simply a bad outing, with no regard to the short rest?"

My guess is bad outing, but there's no real way to tell unless he comes back for Game 5. I doubt they'll make it that far, but who knows. Without doing it, the Brewers would be home watching the Mets play ... the Cubs. Butterfly effect knows no short rest.

Will Carroll (7:06:54 PM PT): Jeffrey say: "Maybe instead of doing the political thing, Nate should have gone into fund raising so BP could buy advertising time so we'd have less of the same ads. I'm sure many of Will's lady friends would love to appear in commercials with him."

Dude, don't get me started. Of course, I'll just do the voiceover.

Jay Jaffe (7:07:00 PM PT): Loney's grounder catches Theriot moving the wrong direction and suddenly the DOdgers have first and thir, no outs on the heels of Ethier's single, with Kemp at bat.

Will Carroll (7:07:18 PM PT): Not a purpose pitch. He just lost it.

Will Carroll (7:08:05 PM PT): See, right there -- Darling used Pitchtrax to show a close pitch WAS a ball. Do that more.

Will Carroll (7:08:49 PM PT): And again, right on the corner. Good use of technology. Who was it that used to do gold stars when someone made a good play? Jerry Coleman? That for Darling!

Jay Jaffe (7:09:20 PM PT): Oof. Big strikeout for Z freezing kemp on that one.

Jay Jaffe (7:10:45 PM PT): I liked this Darling-Stockton-Gwynn team yesterday as the best of the TBS lot.

Will Carroll (7:11:21 PM PT): Wow - Loney slides wide, trying to take out The Riot and damn near got caught off the base. I'm not sure - was that DeRosa rushing or just a funny hop that kicked low and fast when he was expecting a bunny?

And Lee just got eaten up by the same exact kind of play. I don't get it. He's a great fielder. Groundskeeper's error?

Will Carroll (7:12:41 PM PT): Someone tell me why you don't bunt there. I'm sure there's a reason, but it was my first instinct.

Jay Jaffe (7:12:56 PM PT): And suddenly the Cubs infield can do nothing right, bobbles by DeRosa and Lee on balls hit right at them, so the Dodgers get a run and have the bases loaded.

Joe Sheehan (7:13:13 PM PT): Bad call at 2B, where the ump signaled Loney safe before he got anywhere near the bag.

Will Carroll (7:14:47 PM PT): Ok ... there's a bunt. Close play on Furcal to at least get one run out of this. Called play or on his own?

Jay Jaffe (7:14:58 PM PT): Because there's a force at the plate, and i guess they don't have confidence in Billingsley's ability to get one down that goes far enough.

Will Carroll (7:16:04 PM PT): Wow. Am I hearing boos from Wrigley?

Jay Jaffe (7:16:12 PM PT): Wow, I'd take that as evidence Furcal is feeling healthy.

Joe Sheehan (7:16:26 PM PT): On his own, Will. No one calls a two-out squeeze, save maybe Zimmer.

Will Carroll (7:16:31 PM PT): Somewhere, Alyssa Milano is making a note to herself.

Jay Jaffe (7:17:42 PM PT): Martin with a gapper and this game is broken open in a hurry.

Will Carroll (7:17:47 PM PT): Soto's slapping the glove on the dirt is a sign he thinks Manny is peeking.

Will Carroll (7:19:05 PM PT): Taylor say: "You guys have been at this a while, I think it's a good time for a bad joke. What do an Inspector Gadget message and the Cubs have in common?"

Ok, I bit ...

Will Carroll (7:20:05 PM PT): Green say: "I think I believe in the curse of the Billy Goat after this inning-- can you guys test that?"

Unless the goat didn't make two plays or groomed the infield dirt, I didn't see him involved last half.

Joe Sheehan (7:21:41 PM PT): I really don't get it. We know the AL is much better than the NL. And I even have a strong theory why, the higher standards set by the top teams over time.

What I don't get is why the NL, even at that, seems just to have so many better individuals, more exciting young players. Who does the AL have who gets me psyched to watch like Chad Billingsley? And the NL has a bunch of these guys.

It's not just an "extreme performances in a lesser talent pool" thing, I don't think. It really feels like the NL just has more interesting players. But they keep getting their ass kicked.

Will Carroll (7:24:45 PM PT): Every time I see Casey Blake play third, I think to myself that he ranges to his left about as much as any 3B I've seen. Is there any stat that would tell me if this is actually the case?

Will Carroll (7:27:14 PM PT): Taylor brings the punch line: "Both self destruct...I told you it was bad."

Miserable. Can I take a month off someone's subscription?

Will Carroll (7:27:42 PM PT): Hey Joe, Evan Longoria says hi.

Will Carroll (7:28:16 PM PT): Hey Joe, Jon Lester says hi.

Will Carroll (7:28:44 PM PT): Hey Joe, Alexei Ramirez ... ahh, you get the point.

Jay Jaffe (7:31:38 PM PT): Joe, I'm wondering if you wouldn't have made that observation about the AL's young base if you'd seen as-advertised seasons among the ranks of Hughes, Chamberlain, Cano, and Melky -- none of whom, with the fleeting exception of healhty starter Joba -- were terribly fun to watch this year.

Will Carroll (7:31:39 PM PT): Zambrano's elbow is sliding down, as is his velocity. He can still be effective like this, but he cant get to the sixth unless he gets really efficient.

What changed for Edmonds when he came to Chicago? Seriously, this is something I've asked everyone and gotten no answer.

Joe Sheehan (7:35:22 PM PT): Will, I could name two, maybe three guys in the NL for every one in the AL. The NL just has more shining-light individual talents.

Jay, of those guys, only Hughes and Joba could rise to the level of the guys I'm thinking of in the NL. You are correct that better performances from them might have made a difference. Throw Clay Buchholz in there, too.

Joe Sheehan (7:36:36 PM PT): Will: I nominate "the size of center field." Playing the position in Petco and playing it in Wrigley are vastly different tasks.

I've also heard it speculated that his missed spring training contributed to his slow start.

Joe Sheehan (7:38:03 PM PT): "Taylor (Toronto): Hey, I warned you. While we're having a Evan Longoria lovefest who would you rather have for the next five years, him or David Wright? Are there any other third basemen remotely as good over the same period of time? "

That Rodriguez guy will hang.

I'll take Wright, but it's really close. I suspect Wright will be a slightly better OBP and speed guy, with a bit less power.

Will Carroll (7:39:49 PM PT): Re: Wright vs Longoria -- do we take the contracts into account? That really changes things.

Jay Jaffe (7:40:24 PM PT): Joe, in the grander scheme I agree with you about more of those guys in the NL - hell, part of what's made watching the Dodgers so much fun is that they've got so many games against Arizona and SF (Lincecum, at least) and Colorado (the good version of Tulo) etc. to go with their own stable.

Rick Lopez (7:50:49 PM PT): Will Carlos be laying beatings on his infielders tonight?

Will Carroll (7:53:06 PM PT): Every single infielder has made a bad play. At least The Riot was in motion on his. I ask again -- is it the infield?

Will Carroll (7:57:34 PM PT): TJ say: "What kind of record could we have expected from the Dodgers if Furcal was healthy all season? This offense looks impressive."

Better. I know Joe has beaten "large sample size" into me, but the Dodgers look like a team purpose built for short series.

Joe Sheehan (7:57:59 PM PT): Wow, no interference call?

Jay Jaffe (8:02:03 PM PT): "JoeR (Syracuse): Have the Dodgers found their future 2nd baseman in Blake Dewitt or do they need to keep looking?"

Between DeWitt, Tony Abreu and Chin-Lung Hu, the Dodgers have some young options to fill their infield in a post-Kent, post-Furcal, post-Blake (and post-LaRoche) world. It's too obvious for them to try to let all of those young 'uns have jobs, so they're likely to sign/acquire/retain at least one of them and then let the others battle it out.

I'm not entirely convinced DeWitt's a good enough fielder at 2B. I'm also not convinced his bat can carry 3B yet. I think the chances of one of those two coming through in the next couple years is decent, but I don't know which one.

Will Carroll (8:03:09 PM PT): Jay - sounds like you (at least the Dodger fan you) is saying they won't re-sign Furcal. Do you think they won't or do you think they shouldn't?

Jay Jaffe (8:04:51 PM PT): Yowzah - Manny crushes another one after striking out his previous two times at bat.

Joe Sheehan (8:06:16 PM PT): "SaberTJ (Cleveland): What kind of record could we have expected from the Dodgers if Furcal was healthy all season? This offense looks impressive. "

They were 18-12 when he went down, IIRC. So I think 90 wins was within reach, although I don't think they trade for Manny Ramirez in that universe.

Jay Jaffe (8:07:59 PM PT): Will - I think there's a chance they do; this is Colletti we're talking about, a guy who needs few excuses to lay the Dodgers' wallet on the table regardless of the risks.

Whether they should, I don't know. He had an MVP-caliber year, a wreck of a year, and an MVP-caliber month followed by five months on the DL. You're the medhead - do you think this is a threat to his long-term performance? Is this something that could sideline him for another half-season or more over the next three years? If the answer is yes, I probably let him walk.

Will Carroll (8:11:01 PM PT): Jay -- on Furcal, if his back passed a physical, I'd take a three year risk. Give me the same deal he signed ... 3/40? ... and adjust for inflation, then yes, I'd sign him. 3/50? Given the lack of options, probably. More? Gets very iffy.

Caleb Peiffer (8:15:06 PM PT): Where's Fontenot! Play him in right! Why not!

Will Carroll (8:16:29 PM PT): A question on Manny and Furcal -- "Assuming Furcal and Manny both walk, what do you do to fill the hole they leave? Add in Lowe and there seems to be a good portion of the payroll coming off the books, where should it be spent?"

I won't say where or how, but I'll say that giving Logan White a load of first round picks is about as good as Jack Zduriencik getting a load of first round picks. Those teams are going to re-load, assuming those all walk.

Jay Jaffe (8:16:31 PM PT): At the lower end of those parameters for three years, I could go for that, but I guess it depends how else they choose to spend their money this winter - making a run at CC, retaining Lowe, retaining Manny... not all of these things can happen.

Joe Sheehan (8:23:33 PM PT): "I didn't think he had a chance at Blake."

That's 'cause he didn't. Very, very safe. Very.

Will Carroll (8:24:25 PM PT): Down 6-0, what's the value in keeping Zambrano out there? Assume the Cubs make it to Game 5. Why wouldn't you want to tax Zambrano on top of having him ruminate on this performance for a couple days?

Joe Sheehan (8:27:10 PM PT): This has to be just letting him hit to save the body. Would you really send him out there for the seventh?

He hasn't pitched poorly at all. I just wonder if you get some guys who haven't pitched some work.

Will Carroll (8:30:46 PM PT): I wouldn't but I think Lou would. I'd slam Dusty if he did this, so I'll slam Lou if he does.

Will Carroll (8:38:15 PM PT): Taylor asks: " Better chance of sweeping, Philly or LA?"

I leave the odds to Clay and Nate, but it's really Dave Bush or Rich Harden. I think I know who I'd want pitching of those two.

Will Carroll (8:45:30 PM PT): 108. Nice unintentional symbolism. I'm happy to see Lou didn't hang Zambrano out there. Seeing him go from 91 to 95 gave every indication that Zambrano was reaching back, the time he's most likely to get injured. Part of that is adrenaline as he faces Manny Ramirez, but credit to Lou for getting him out. I'd have rather seen him pulled for a pinch, but not that big a difference.

Jay Jaffe (8:47:14 PM PT): 108?

Will Carroll (8:48:56 PM PT): 108 is the final pitch count for Zambrano, 108 stitches on a baseball.

Jay Jaffe (8:54:16 PM PT): I knew that was the pitch count. Shame on me for forgetting about the stitches.

Will Carroll (9:01:37 PM PT): I'm going to make like a Cubs fan and leave early. Thanks for all the questions!

Kevin Golstein (9:08:11 PM PT): Ok folks, I'm off to a previous engagement, will return possibly towards the end of the Cubs game.

Jay Jaffe (9:08:37 PM PT): And seeing how I've been at this off and on for the past seven hours and now have no sparring partner, I'm going to shut it down as well. Folks, thanks for stopping by to spend part or all of today's tripleheader with us. It's been a lot of fun.

Kevin Golstein (9:09:05 PM PT): Sweet -- I hit refresh and it re-submitted my exit from the afternoon. Sorry about that. Seems like I missed a whole lot of crowd shots of miserable Cubs fans.

Jay Jaffe (9:10:23 PM PT): Oh, hey, Kevin's back. I'll hang for a bit longer. Kev, what's your take on DeWitt from upthread?

Kevin Goldstein (9:12:33 PM PT): I think you nailed it Jay -- he's kind of a tweener, but scouts have always put some pretty big hit scores on him -- the kind of numbers that didn't necessarily jive with the production even, so the evaluators certainly see upside in him offensively.

Kevin Goldstein (9:15:21 PM PT): Could Wrigley Field be any quieter? Could Cubs fans be any more psychologically damaged at this point?

That said, I'm pretty sure I called this early this afternoon.

. . . and I quote:

"Yes, he threw the no-hitter, but other than that, he was pretty damn bad. In his last four starts OTHER than the no-no, he allowed 22 hits in 15.2 innings, while walking 14 and striking out just nine. I'd be pretty concerned. If you said I could play one game today and have Big Z on the mound or Billingsly, I'd take Billingsley."

Jay Jaffe (9:15:50 PM PT): Indeed. Give that man a cigar.

Kevin Goldstein (9:19:18 PM PT): In many ways, locally, the Cubs have already picked their internal enemy, and it's Alfonso Soriano, who is booed lustily after he grounds out.

Message to Cubs fans -- silly hats don't help matters.

Jay Jaffe (9:20:31 PM PT): I feel like we missed on Cory Wade this year. He was a lineout in BP08 at the back fo the chapter, and while we allowed for the possibility that he might see Dodger Stadium this year, his 2007 numbers and obviously this performance this year certainly merited full entry status.

I beat myself up about that one a little.

Kevin Goldstein (9:20:50 PM PT): Message to Apple -- to a hardcore gamer, your IPod games look hella lame.

Maybe casual is your market and I'm nuts.

Kevin Goldstein (9:22:18 PM PT): Jay,

Don't hit too hard, it's not like you took some kind of anti-stand or something and the whole world thought Cory Wade would have some impact -- everybody hid him as some kind of lineout-esque kinda dude.

Jay Jaffe (9:25:32 PM PT): Fair point. What do you think about James McDonald and Scott Elbert in terms of their 2008 progress. Did any pitchers in the Dodger org take a big step forward?

Kevin Goldstein (9:25:55 PM PT): Kerry Wood pitching the ninth for the Cubs. Wrigley is starting to empty out, and what's left is about as loud as your average Florida State League game.

Jay Jaffe (9:27:02 PM PT): Wow, and the Cubs infield errors for the cycle. That takes some talent to pull off.

Kevin Goldstein (9:28:50 PM PT): I actually think the system is down a bit, although McDonald and Elbert are two bright spots. They might just keep Elbert in a relief role as he responded so well to it, and as good as McDonald looked, his stuff is pretty much middle-rotation as oppossed to massive.

Jay Jaffe (9:29:24 PM PT): I think we can safely say that Joe Torre is now third on the all-time list of postseason wins for L.A. Dodger managers behind Tommy Lasorda and Walter Alston.

Kevin Goldstein (9:30:09 PM PT): Cubs' FOURTH error of the game leads to a Blake RBI single and it's 10-1. It's the brutal combination of one team playing very well and one team playing just horribly.

Angel Berroa gets a hit -- the ultimate insult.

Jay Jaffe (9:34:39 PM PT): Berroa got 256 PA for the Dodgers. And yet I didn't throw myself out the window. Somehow that might rate as the bigger surprise than the division title.

Kevin Goldstein (9:36:07 PM PT): Derek Lee leads off the bottom of the ninth with a double into the ivy. Only eight batters away from the tying run coming to the plate!

Kevin Goldstein (9:37:04 PM PT): Aramis Ramirez singles -- seven batters away!

Caleb Peiffer (9:39:50 PM PT): Get the closer up, Joe. Ok, good, he's up.

Kevin Goldstein (9:40:57 PM PT): CNB (San Francisco, CA): Kevin, if Apple's going for casual gamers, they'd be competing with Nintendo. Both have insane core fanbases, and both are intent on innovating with technology.

Beyond the Wii, the DS is a MASSIVE success. I can't see entering the game business as a smart move by a company that tends to make only smart moves.

Yes, we're talking about games again, but what do you want? it's 10-1.

DeRosa doubles for the third straight hit of the inning. 10-3 now, no outs, Cubs fans hoping for the miracle.

Jay Jaffe (9:42:20 PM PT): To paraphrase Steven Goldman paraphrasing Abe Lincoln, if this is Takashi Saito, bring me tea, and if this is tea, then bring me coffee.

Kevin Goldstein (9:45:02 PM PT): Not messing around at ALL, Torre brings in Broxton in an attempt to end this mess.

I had no idea that Felix Pie was on the post-season roster.

Kevin Goldstein (9:46:27 PM PT): Pie walks. Four straight batters with no outs, two runs already in, and fans are starting to believe.

Kevin Goldstein (9:47:40 PM PT): It's 10-3 -- shouldn't just just not even have signs and tell Broxton to throw fastballs down the middle?

Kevin Goldstein (9:48:47 PM PT): The miracle takes a sudden step backwards as Soto rips one to a leaping Berroa. Just one out could be all they need. Nice shot of one cub fan yelling at anotheer.

Kevin Goldstein (9:51:12 PM PT): Fukudome gets called out on strikes -- man he's been awful lately. Wrigley turns back into a morgue.

Kevin Goldstein (9:55:13 PM PT): Mike (Jax, FL): KG, how disappointed am I going to be going to a Jax Suns game seeing the Marlins AA team as opposed to the Dodgers next year?

I bet they're about even next year, but I bet you're happy about it in 2010.

Game is over, and so are we. 10-3 Dodgers and this one is over, as is the marathon roundtable. Good night everyone!

Jay Jaffe (9:55:31 PM PT): It's gotta be a rough reality to accept, about to be down 2-0 with a team that's looked so strong all year up to this point. I remember the feeling when the Yankees went through it in 2001 versus Oakland but they were THE YANKEES at that point, with a threepeat under their belts, and there was always this expectation they'd just pull through because that's what those teams did -- especially that year, but that's another story.

Jay Jaffe (9:59:00 PM PT): whew, and the Dodgers win it to go up 2-0. Not a scenario I envisioned in my wilder dreams. As a fan I'm gonna try to figure out how to live with that strange feeling of hope.

Anyway, repeating my exit line from before, thanks for stopping by to spend part or all of today's tripleheader with us!

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