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Roundtable: 2009 NLCS Game One (Phillies/Dodgers)

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday October 15, 2009 8:00 PM ET 2009 NLCS Game One (Phillies/Dodgers) roundtable.
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Roundtable Administrator (10:17:36 PM PT): Welcome to the 2009 NLCS Game One (Phillies/Dodgers) roundtable, where BP authors engage in a live chat during the event and answer our readers questions. This roundtable does not start until 8:00 PM ET on October 15, but you can submit questions for our authors any time before or during the roundtable by submitting them using this roundtable chat interface.

Steven Goldman (5:11:20 PM PT): Good evening, Pilgrims. Steven Goldman here a bit belatedly due to a recalcitrant four-year-old.

Jay Jaffe (5:15:01 PM PT): Good evening and welcome to tonight's roundtable. I seem to be the first one here and my takeout order just arrived, so if things start slowly, that's why.

Steven Goldman (5:15:30 PM PT): Vilica (Laguna Beach, CA): What's with the playoff odds report? The Dodgers and Angels both seem to be pegged as huge underdogs to win the WS, despite home field advantage on the Dodgers' part. I would expect all teams to fall between 20-30% at this point, what gives?

See Clay Davenport's latest Unfiltered post about revisions to the Odds Report.

Steven Goldman (5:20:26 PM PT): Jonathan (New York): Matt Kemp, star or superstar?

Star now, superstar if he takes another little hop forward, which is possible given that this was just his age-24 season. It would help if he had a manager that wouldn't let him waste half his season batting in the 6/7/8 spots. I have a lot of respect for Joe Torre in many ways, but in others he reminds me of Richard Mulligan playing Custer in "Little Big Man," making oracular and nonsensical pronouncements about people's jobs ("You are a muleskinner!")that have no basis in reality. In NY, he did it with Jorge Posada, rarely batting him out of the bottom half of the order despite his power and on-base skills. Thus a Posada walk would be followed up something like a Miguel Cairo at-bat.

Steven Goldman (5:23:04 PM PT): strupp (Madison): Too much to hope we get an inning called by Vin Scully while these three idiots are... you know what, I can't even think of a punishment I'd like to see these three have.

One of the great things about MLB.com having out-o'-market games available on the net is that one gets to tune in Dodgers TV broadcasts. I really enjoy that. I feel very bad that I took Scully for granted back in my teenage years when you could hear him weekend on Game of the Week, but I blame that on Joe Garagiola, who always made me feel like nails were being driven into my skull.

Steven Goldman (5:26:02 PM PT): Manny post-suspension: .269/.389/.492. Not bad by the standards of LF, but yow, it's going to hurt to pay $20 Million for that next year.

Steven Goldman (5:29:41 PM PT): Wendy (Madrid): Is Kershaw the best pitcher that will be pitching tonite? Will he be a top 5 pitcher in baseball anytime soon?

I wanted to ask this last time: Madrid, Spain? The New Madrid Fault? Madrid, New Jersey, just east of Ho Ho Kus? Just wondering.

We all know what Hole Camels is capable of when he's on... I am looking for Jayson Werth's career .294/.391/.570 vs. lefties to have consequences in this game...

Steven Goldman (5:31:52 PM PT): Where was that 2-2 pitch to Howard?

Steven Goldman (5:33:05 PM PT): Q: If the Phillies had permanently become the "Blue Jays" after the 1940s, what would the Blue Jays have called themselves?

Jay "Lamb Saag" Jaffe (5:33:14 PM PT): Ok, back from dining. Thanks to my lovely wife for letting me eat in front of the TV and stay with the live broadcast. I'm a TiVo addict and have an extremely hard time living in real time, at least when it comes to baseball.

Steven Goldman (5:34:56 PM PT): SaberTJ (Cleveland): Feeling Lonely Steve? You're carrying a table all by yourself.

Nah... I've got you guys. And someone in Madrid. Besides, the others will be along straight away. Either that or heads will roll at tomorrow morning's Secret Society of Baseball Prospectus briefing.

Ibanez had a very good year against southpaws, but that's not the pattern for his career.

Steven Goldman (5:38:55 PM PT): Christina Kahrl (BP Volcano Hideout): And the really cool thing is that we'll also have a marathon chat on Friday the 16th encompassing both LCS ballgames.

She has the shark pit there and everything. The only drag is that whenever I say, "Christina, do you expect me to write a column today?" she always says, "No, Mr. Goldman, I expect you to die!" It really gets tiresome.

I'll be here for some of the marathon Christina mentions -- I have a doctor's appt that conflicts with the start of NLCS #2. And did I really need to tell you that?

Jay Jaffe (5:40:28 PM PT): Wendy (Madrid) shows up in all of my chats. Always wondered which Madrid, myself.

Joel (GA): Kershaw has some serious stuff. That Ibanez pitch was somethin

The first time I ever saw Kershaw pitch was on a YouTube clip of a spring training 2008 outing. Vin Scully made the call on a knee-buckling curveball, calling it "Public Enemy Number One." Kershaw was 19. I almost wept tears of joy right then.

Steven Goldman (5:40:33 PM PT): That was the second HR at Dodger Stadium for Loney this year. Prior, he had hit one at home, 12 on the road.

Joe Sheehan (5:41:04 PM PT): Sorry, completely forgetted about this. I plead fall cold. I think Clayton Kershaw can cure me. And fix health care.

Jay Jaffe (5:41:10 PM PT): And that's Loney with just his second homer of the year at Dodger Stadium. Two hits by the lefties off Hamels now, a good sign for the Dodgers.

Jay Jaffe (5:43:45 PM PT): The great improvement Russell Martin has made in the presence of Brad Ausmus is that he's starting to hit like Brad Ausmus.

Thanks for that.

Steven Goldman (5:46:16 PM PT): He also has memorized a Torah section.

John Perrotto (5:46:54 PM PT): Brad Ausmus is the greatest teammate ever. Sorry to be sarcastic in my first comment of the night.

Steven Goldman (5:47:54 PM PT): Just to supply a necessary correction to some stuff just said on the broadcast, pitchers hit .154 against Hamels this year. He walked one.

Jay Jaffe (5:52:11 PM PT): backstop (The Hague, Netherlands): Looking at the amount of foul ground in Dodger Stadium and the renovations they've done there, has there ever been a study done on the amount of foul ground (measured in square feet or something similar) and its effect on park factors? Or is that relation so obvious as to not be interesting?

I poked around at the problem in early 2008 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7227) and found that nobody had ever quantified the amount of foul territory. I wasn't about to do it myself, because I know there are people out there with better ballpark diagrams and better understandings of software and geometry and all that stuff to do it right.

I don't think we really need to quantify that territory simply to know that the main effect seems to be an increase in popups caught in foul ground, because infielders (and outfielders) have the room to get to more balls in the air. Which isn't to say somebody shouldn't do it, just... somebody besides me, thanks.

Steven Goldman (5:53:39 PM PT): There are several questions (I suspect from one guy) about how we must be crushed that the Phillies have defied our prejudices to make it this far, and we all hate the Phillies, and blah, blah, blah. It's probably not worth saying for the thousandth time, but just for the heck of it: we give you our honest analysis, not something that's biased by the colors of the uniforms. If we worked like that we wouldn't be in business for long. In the course of writing here and elsewhere we have all been accused of harboring a dislike of just about every team, and the team we seem to hate most is the team we've just written something negative about. If you point out that the Phillies have bullpen problem, it doesn't mean you hate the Phillies.

Jay Jaffe (5:56:05 PM PT): Accusations of bias are the last refuge of a fanboy.

Steven Goldman (5:56:45 PM PT): Wendy (Madrid): Maine... Actually the town is no more. We were disincorporated in 2000. I'm just trying to keep the name going...

The new town name must be really lame. Something like... "Newark."

John Perrotto (5:57:13 PM PT): Brad Ausmus is the greatest teammate ever. Sorry to be sarcastic in my first comment of the night.

Jay Jaffe (5:58:54 PM PT): Wendy (Madrid): Maine... Actually the town is no more. We were disincorporated in 2000. I'm just trying to keep the name going...

Another of life's mysteries solved. Population 173 according to the 2000 Census (via Wikipedia). Which means our market share in some parts of Maine is huge! Thanks for joining us, Wendy. I'm sure the Expos fans among us can relate to your plight.

John Perrotto (5:59:13 PM PT): Brad Ausmus is the greatest teammate ever. Sorry to be sarcastic in my first comment of the night.

Steven Goldman (5:59:17 PM PT): John Perrotto is apparently living through his version of "Groundhog Day."

Jay Jaffe (5:59:36 PM PT): Steve, give John a whack. His needle is skipping.

Joe Sheehan (5:59:58 PM PT): "The new town name must be really lame. Something like... 'Newark.'"

Or "Philadelphia".

Steven Goldman (6:01:56 PM PT): Ouch.

I would pit the Portuguese food of Newark against the Cheesesteaks of Philly, I think...

Jay Jaffe (6:02:07 PM PT): Maggie (Rosslyn, VA): Given that the playoffs are a crapshoot, why don't we just crown the best team at the end of the season? Who cares that the 83-win Cardinals won the WS?

Because the spectacle of the postseason and particularly the World Series is great fun, and has a long, rich history of bringing this country together, which is something that's increasingly hard to do (just ask those poor folks at Fox about the TV ratings).

And I think also because we like knowing that in a short series, the underdog has a chance to pull off the upset.

Steven Goldman (6:02:28 PM PT): ...As long as they agreed to meet in a neutral location.

Joe Sheehan (6:03:04 PM PT): I remember when, earlier in the decade, we had some matchups among Clemens, Glavine and Maddux that set records for most wins for the two starters.

I'm watching these two guys tonight and wondering...what's the record for wins *after* a matchup between two young, to-be-great starters.

You probably have to put a "post-1920" qualifier on it to make it interesting, but I can't help but look at these two and think they could each win 200 games.

Steven Goldman (6:03:41 PM PT): Another good point is that not all 83-win seasons are created equal. Winning 90 games in the AL East is different than winning 90 in the AL West...

Jay "Anti-Genius" Jaffe (6:05:25 PM PT): Yes, and they won 83 in the NL Central, which is about the equivalent of what the Blue Jays accomplished this year.

Steven Goldman (6:05:49 PM PT): I know it's not really what you meant, Joe, but Phil Niekro won 264 games after pitching in the 1969 NLCS. He was 30 at the time.

John Perrotto (6:06:01 PM PT): Brad Ausmus is the greatest teammate ever. Sorry to be sarcastic in my first comment of the night.

Jay Jaffe (6:08:47 PM PT): Whew, Hamels looked much more in command in that inning. Dodgers are going to need to make that run stand up.

Steven Goldman (6:10:12 PM PT): Victorino .314/.385/.459 against lefties this year.

Steven Goldman (6:12:24 PM PT): Aaron W. (Kentucky): Re: Joe's question, in the '69 NLCS Niekro faced Tom Seaver. That's 264 post-69 wins for Niekro plus 254 for Seaver. 518 put together

Blast, I had half of it. Still, Joe said YOUNG starter. Knucksie doesn't count. Maybe there was a Spahn-Ford game in '57 or '58 that yields a pretty good total.

Steven Goldman (6:13:33 PM PT): Is there any way to standardize check swing calls? They're totally random.

Joe Sheehan (6:14:08 PM PT): I've got the count as 2-5.

Steven Goldman (6:18:50 PM PT): Laura (DC): When do pitchers and catchers report?

Don't rush things, Laura. We've got a 600-page book to put together first. Baseball Prospectus 2010: available at quality retailers near you in mid-February.

Besides, if your local nine is the Nats, are you really in that much of a rush?

Jay "High Cheese" Jaffe (6:18:53 PM PT): Wow, that was some solid contact Werth made. I think I flinched.

From the home hotline, friend Nick chimes in: "Jayson 'illiterate family' Werth's goatee? People have gone before the Hague for less."

John Perrotto (6:19:56 PM PT): Has Brad Ausmus hacked my account?

Steven Goldman (6:20:47 PM PT): John, maybe you could address this, now that you're back in control:

Dexter Fishmore (Hollywood, CA): Maybe one of you can help clear this up: is Brad Ausmus the greatest teammate ever? WHY WON'T YOU ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.

John Perrotto (6:22:02 PM PT): After, Brad Ausmus is the smartest guy in ball. If anyone would know how to hack my account, it would be him.

Jay Jaffe (6:23:22 PM PT): Boo Davey Lopes for not participating in the Longest Running Infield reunion. To somebody who counted him as a favorite player when I was a kid, his old school hardass act is a tiresome reminder not to invest too much faith that you'd actually like your favorite players as people.

John Perrotto (6:23:59 PM PT): Fisted!!!!. Chip Caray said fisted!!!!!!

Steven Goldman (6:25:51 PM PT): There's gotta be a Marv Albert joke I can insert here...

Steven Goldman (6:27:14 PM PT): After a postseason on TBS, I'm becoming less ambivalent about avocados.

Jay Jaffe (6:27:19 PM PT): Fisted - it's become a drinking game, or something.

Joe Sheehan (6:33:01 PM PT): Jay, would you have preferred Lopes to send his dad, like Bill Russell did?

Jay "Werthless" Jaffe (6:34:03 PM PT): Quite legit. .268/.373/.506, 36 homers, 20/23 steals, plus defense - that's a pretty great season. Our sortable WARP, which doesn't have a position sort function and seems to be using a different version of FRAA than is on our DT cards has him at 7.8 WARP, ahead of Ethier at 6.9 and Justin Upton at 5.1.

Jay Jaffe (6:35:17 PM PT): Aw crap, three-run jack for Ruiz, who did a lot of damage last year from the bottom of the order.

Jay Jaffe (6:36:19 PM PT): In last year's postseason, I mean.

Whatever Rick Honeycutt told Kershaw during that mound visit clearly didn't help. UR DOIN IT RONG

Joe Sheehan (6:36:48 PM PT): Thanks, Jay. Didn't realize I was behind until then.

The Clayton Kershaw Fan Club meeting here just got awfully quiet.

Steven Goldman (6:38:25 PM PT): "Curve 'em outside."

John Perrotto (6:39:05 PM PT): Fisted!!!!. Chip Caray said fisted!!!!!!

Jayton Jaffe (6:39:32 PM PT): Lost the strike zone and as Ron Darling points out, lost his tempo. Walking the pitcher is never a good sign.

Eric Seidman (6:44:57 PM PT): I have arrived everyone. Home from class and ready to roundtable.

Jay Jaffe (6:45:57 PM PT): No Dodger has been more of a disappointment in 2009 than Russell Martin. And that includes Jason Schmidt. Seriously, what kind of cough syrup is that guy drinking between innings that he's suddenly so Posada-esque behind the plate?

Jay Jaffe (6:46:20 PM PT): Phillies fans, you now have your delegate to the convention.

Steven Goldman (6:46:30 PM PT): Because we all intensely hate the Phillies, I am grossly discomfited by the way this game has turned.

Eric Seidman (6:47:02 PM PT): I always liked Martin up until last year's LCS. All he seemed to do was whine while not producing. Hopefully this season will serve as a wakeup call for a still very young catcher.

Steven Goldman (6:47:26 PM PT): Posada blocks the plate a little bit better now. I like to think that Tony Pena took him aside and made some comments impugning his manhood.

Joe Sheehan (6:48:06 PM PT): I knew starting Kershaw was a mistake.

Jay Jaffe (6:50:56 PM PT): OK, what is Kershaw even doing out there at this point? Three wild pitches, three walks, he has no business even being in the game to face Howard, lefty or no.

Torre's quick hook helped him win the Division Series, but he seems to have forgotten that pretty quickly.

Steven Goldman (6:51:10 PM PT): Carlos Ruiz is a "big weapon?"

Eric Seidman (6:52:03 PM PT): So I heard I was missing Victorino and Martin jawing each other? Shane is really endearing the whole Dodg-gang team.

Joe Sheehan (6:53:50 PM PT): By BMI, Steve.

Eric Seidman (6:54:05 PM PT): Steve, a big weapon perhaps relative to Russell Martin.

Steven Goldman (6:54:39 PM PT): I wonder how many examples there are of the Jason Kendall/Russell Martin career path... Although Martin seems to have gone down that particular road on fast-forward.

Jay Jaffe (6:54:39 PM PT): http://www.drivelinemechanics.com/2009/10/13/1082419/2009-catcher-defense-filling-in had an interesting look at catcher defense. The part that stood out to me was the blocking balls section. Ruiz was +5.6 runs in that department, which was the best, I think. Martin was -5.1, which was the worst this side of Miguel Olivo. Posada was at -3.8.

Eric Seidman (6:56:08 PM PT): I want Buck Martinez's voice.

Eric Seidman (6:56:09 PM PT): I want Buck Martinez's voice.

Joe Sheehan (6:56:55 PM PT): The range of this skill matches the range of non-SB baserunning? That seems...unlikely.

Steven Goldman (6:57:58 PM PT): Posada is the active leader in PB, which is pretty amazing given how much less he's caught than guys like Ivan Rodriguez, and that he's never caught a knuckleballer.

Eric Seidman (7:00:06 PM PT): twinkies25 (MN): So, do you guys think that Chase Utley or Dan Haren will get any consideration for MVP and Cy Young? (not that they deserve them, but they both had fantastic years). The only thing seperating them from those awards are The Machine and The Freak (no offense for Cardinal and Giant fans, I love them as much as you do!!)

I tend not to worry so much about mid-ballot finishes. I do take umbrage with certain voters, for instance, leaving Halladay off of their ballot/out of the top three, but in the NL Haren shouldn't be in the top three, and Pujols is certainly the MVP, which isn't up for debate. Utley is definitely the most valuable Phillies player, but his MVP chances are nowhere near the same as, say, Wainwright or Carpenter winning the Cy over Lincecum.

Steven Goldman (7:02:32 PM PT): Comparing Andre Ethier to Paul O'Neill: I don't think O'Neill ever hit as badly against lefties as Ethier did this year: .194/.283/.345. Not that Paul was exactly great against them... .248/.312/.387.

Eric Seidman (7:04:09 PM PT): Tynan (Livermore, ME): One of the TBS talking heads just pegged Jayson Werth as "one of the best right fielders in the national league". Is that legit?

Without question, yes. He followed up a .273/.363/.498, 24 HR/20 SB season in 2008 with a .268/.373/.506, 36 HR/20 SB this year. Add in a plus arm, solid range, and a very team-friendly contract and what's not to love? He probably won't be back after 2010 but he is definitely one of the best OF in the NL, let alone RF.

Jay Jaffe (7:05:55 PM PT): bflaff (Philadelphia, PA): Did Torre leave Kershaw in too long? Did he handcuff himself by warming up his crappiest lefty (thus leaving him a choice of letting Elbert or a struggling Kershaw face Utley/Howard)?

Does the Pope wear a funny hat? Three wild pitches and three walks are a pretty serious sign that your pitcher has Lost The Plot. And there's no point in having Elbert on the roster if you're not going to bring him on in the 5th to face Howard.

Joe Sheehan (7:05:55 PM PT): Baseball fans hate, just hate, steroid users.

Steven Goldman (7:06:01 PM PT): Oh, those bases on... I mean, oh, those missed double plays.

Eric Seidman (7:07:25 PM PT): So, that happened. Much like his NLDS start, Hamels started out looking great and slowly devolved. However, not sure what Utley was doing on that play. Ethier appeared to be past the base before he even got the ball out of his glove.

John Perrotto (7:07:36 PM PT): I wish I had Buck Martinez's hair.

Steven Goldman (7:09:18 PM PT): bflaff (Phila., PA): Torre burning O Hud this early as a PH? Discuss?

I'm still wondering about starting Ron Belliard over O'Hud in the first place.

Steven Goldman (7:10:24 PM PT): bflaff (Phila., PA): Torre burning O Hud this early as a PH? Discuss?

I'm still wondering about starting Ron Belliard over O'Hud in the first place.

Eric Seidman (7:10:32 PM PT): But Steven, Belliard is the HOT HAND.

Jay Jaffe (7:12:22 PM PT): Catching up from my TiVo spool.. Manny hits one, drops the bat, and says "Let there be an abundant feast!" That's a sight Dodger fans have been missing for awhile.

Steven Goldman (7:12:37 PM PT): Dexter Fishmore (Hollywood, CA): Is there even a concept of burning a pinch-hitter "too early"? You have to score runs when the opportunity is there. Don't leave any bullets in the gun.

That was the whole Casey Stengel doctrine, the thinking behind his pinch-hitting for Moose Skowron once in the first inning of a game. You take your victories where you can find them, not when they're convenient. This was the point I was trying to make in our last roundtable when Pedro Feliz came up in an RBI situation at a tight point in the game.

Joe Sheehan (7:12:44 PM PT): Or not just double-switching in Hudson when he brought in Troncoso. Joe's got a thing in his head about Belliard, and apparently nothing is going to change it.

Maybe Hudson called him a pimp.

Steven Goldman (7:13:40 PM PT): Eric, as the old song goes, I prefer a SLOW hand.

A Vaseline hand?


Christina Kahrl (7:13:41 PM PT): Buck's hair? Please, as if. That's a can and a man without hobbies.

Joe Sheehan (7:14:36 PM PT): Steven, there's a "fisted" joke there if you can find your way to it...

Christina Kahrl (7:15:45 PM PT): faithdies (DE): Do the announcers have a personal stake in the Dodgers winning this game? This is supposed to be an unbiased broadcast team right?

Not that this doesn't happen every year, but now the world knows how I felt with Vin Scully announcing in '88.

Jay Jaffe (7:16:03 PM PT): bobbailey (Montreal): You guys are talking catchers, including homeboy Martin. How far is Posada from the Hall?

If I had an FAQ, this would be on it.


Christina Kahrl (7:16:47 PM PT): Joe, the term is "duck snort," and no, it shouldn't have to involves noses and sunless places.

Steven Goldman (7:17:20 PM PT): I don't remember Scully's call at all, CK, just the oft-replayed Jack Buck, "I don't believe what I just saw!" call. I seem to recall Buck seeing many things that he should have been skeptical about his having seen in that particular series.

Joe Sheehan (7:19:08 PM PT): They're not alone. Everyone who was in Philadelphia last year, Boston and Denver a year ago, has a distinct rooting interest in both these series. Not saying it's right, not saying it's the TBS guys, but there are clear preferences among the assembled media, whether they'd cop to it or not.

Christina Kahrl (7:20:24 PM PT): It wasn't any specific call, it was the transparency of rooting interest. Which, given the great man's talents, only alienated one group of fans out of 30, and no doubt had zero impact on any who were dispassionate.

Steph (7:20:43 PM PT): Here's the Scully call, Steve


Steph (7:21:47 PM PT): Here's the Scully call, Steve


John Perrotto (7:21:49 PM PT): I wish I had Buck Martinez's hair.

Eric Seidman (7:21:53 PM PT): Belliard really does look like a miniature Manny Ramirez.

Jay Jaffe (7:21:53 PM PT): Sorry, hit refresh there too soon after pasting the link on the Posada HOF question... Alas, the WARP numbers seem to have moved a bit, so divining were exactly he stands at the moment is a bit tough, but at last look, he had a peak score on par with the Hall's catchers but was short on career. He probably needs three more seasons the equivalent of this one in value (4.4 WARP), or two really great ones. Tall order, but his bat will keep him around.

Steven Goldman (7:21:59 PM PT): Re Torre's feelings on Belliard, he made a similar decision choosing Cecil Fielder over Tino Martinez in the '96 postseason. Maybe he responds to something about the body type.

Eric Seidman (7:23:28 PM PT): For those playing Count the Former Indians: Thome, Manny, Belliard, Lee, Francisco, Charlie Manuel. Anyone else?

Steven Goldman (7:24:11 PM PT): I was rooting for the A's in '88. I was highly annoyed with the Dodgers for upsetting the Mets, not out of being a Mets fan, but because I felt that that was the match-up that would resonate historically.

John Perrotto (7:25:15 PM PT): It's the mysterious Stephanie. Reveal yourself!!! Tell us who you are. And why does my comments and Eric's comment keep repeating. Is it a Pennsylvania thing?

Jay Jaffe (7:25:19 PM PT): Mike (NY): What do you think of Ron Darling in the booth? I've always liked him on SNY but am curious what others think of him.

I like him, more or less. He's at his best discussing things from the pitcher's point of view, but overall, I think he's better in the context of SNY. Not sure if that's because Gary Cohen >>> Chip Caray or if he's dumbing it down for the national audience or what.

John Perrotto (7:26:07 PM PT): It's the mysterious Stephanie. Reveal yourself!!! Tell us who you are. And why does my comments and Eric's comment keep repeating. Is it a Pennsylvania thing?

Eric Seidman (7:26:26 PM PT): John, I just thought we both really wanted to combine to become Super-Buck Mega-Martinez.

Steph (7:27:01 PM PT): Shoot, sorry about that. Steph just got dug out of hiding as an intern.

Joe Sheehan (7:27:17 PM PT): This is why postseason series are inscrutable. Forget pre-series or pregame predictions. AN HOUR AGO, this was a 1-0 game between two crazy great lefthanded starters. Now, eight runs later, both of them are gone and they got just six more outs combined.

Baseball is not predictable in the short term, and maybe not even in the medium term.

John Perrotto (7:27:34 PM PT): It's the mysterious Stephanie. Reveal yourself!!! Tell us who you are. And why does my comments and Eric's comment keep repeating. Is it a Pennsylvania thing?

Joe Sheehan (7:28:08 PM PT): Eric, Belliard doesn't look like a miniature anything.

Steven Goldman (7:28:16 PM PT): The talented and vivacious Ms. Bee, John, as George Harrison said of Bob Dylan, a friend of us all. I would one day liked to be introduced as "a friend of us all."

John Perrotto (7:28:25 PM PT): This repeat comments are becoming annoying. These repeat comments are becoming annoying.

Jay Jaffe (7:28:52 PM PT): Rats, Steph, I was supposed to send you something today on this series, wasn't I? Good thing most of my theories have already been shot to hell.

Eric Seidman (7:29:12 PM PT): That highlight proves that the Dodgers own Durbin.

Eric Seidman (7:30:14 PM PT): With all the craziness so far does that mean Pedro-Padilla pitch dual no-hitters tomorrow?

Steven Goldman (7:30:51 PM PT): What is the rationale behind J.A. Happ having become "Everyday" J.A. Happ or "Double-Duty" J.A. Happ or "Iron Man" J.A. Happ in the postseason? Too many off-days allow us to revert to 1915 usage patterns?

Steven Goldman (7:32:07 PM PT): Eric, I initially read that as "Pedrophilia." I leave it to you to supply a suitable definition.

Steven Goldman (7:33:16 PM PT): Thome .209/.314/.429 against lefties this year.

Christina Kahrl (7:33:56 PM PT): A decent point, Steven, in that it's a gift with odd benefits--on the one hand, we should really get to see the best teams' best players, given that the number of offdays means the chances that somebody's third lefty makes all the difference should be low. On the other hand, this is a ballgame with a very high El(dog)bert factor.

Steven Goldman (7:34:00 PM PT): Dexter Fishmore (Hollywood, CA): Roman Polanski thinks Pedrophilia is no big deal.

Give that man a contract!

J.A. Jaffe (7:36:27 PM PT): As much as I love Jim Thome, he's been reduced to a human chess piece for the most part during his Dodger days.

Steven Goldman (7:36:55 PM PT): I remember a time, not too long ago, when you had to have your subs ready to go, and if a guy got hurt he was either still in the game or out, he didn't get to walk off his hurt or take some practice tosses or practice swings. The umpires just don't move the game along anymore.

J.A. Jaffe (7:37:43 PM PT): Well, Joe, you got your Randy Wolf appearance.

Christina Kahrl (7:39:21 PM PT): The pursuit of Happ-yness will have to wait a frame.

Steven Goldman (7:39:47 PM PT): There aren't going to be too many DH spots open next year, so it will be interesting to see where, or if, Thome gets to continue his career.

...And Furcal continues a spectacularly miserable season, his NLDS notwithstanding.

John Perrotto (7:42:11 PM PT): This repeat comments are becoming annoying. These repeat comments are becoming annoying.

Steven Goldman (7:43:37 PM PT): Miguel Cairo is up. Somewhere, John Sterling is experiencing an inexplicable hot flash.

Christina Kahrl (7:43:57 PM PT): As folks in southern Illinois'll tell you, there's Cairo, Egypt, and Cairo, Illinois, and then there's the one that involves the depths of self-inflicted misery.

Steven Goldman (7:44:13 PM PT): Miguel Cairo is up. Somewhere, John Sterling is experiencing an inexplicable hot flash.

Steven Goldman (7:45:12 PM PT): Christina, I think you just spent Cairo's one-liner in the forthcoming annual.

Christina Kahrl (7:46:28 PM PT): Not that Cairo wasn't the disposable pinch-hitter in this situation, since everyone else on the bench has a purpose, but still, ugh. Where's Kevin Jordan when you need him?

Eric Seidman (7:49:16 PM PT): Well that bottom of the sixth was sure stressful.

Christina Kahrl (7:50:27 PM PT): Kuo's pounding the zone with hard heat so well I'm sure he's got a job for him in the Valley if he wants one. Visions of David West's '91 ALCS?

Steven Goldman (7:53:08 PM PT): Christina, what would the TA for the trade that brought West to the Twins in '89 have looked like?

John Perrotto (7:55:12 PM PT): This repeat comments are becoming annoying. These repeat comments are becoming annoying.

Christina Kahrl (7:56:48 PM PT): I would have liked it for the Twins, but admittedly, that's because I was already a big fan of Kevin Tapani, who as an A's fan I lamented having to give up in the Bob Welch trade. It was a good trade for both teams, though, if you look at it from the perspective of anticipated value versus already-obvious value.

Christina Kahrl (7:59:02 PM PT): Antonio Bastardo! Cue the "Comic Strip Presents" clip from the 'Fistful of Traveller's Cheques,' about the toilet paper at Hotel Bastardo.

Jay "Optimator" Jaffe (7:59:43 PM PT): A run to the deli and I now have my beverage of choice, Spaten Optimator. 7.2% ABV, and I'm going to need every last drop to get through this.

Steven Goldman (8:00:38 PM PT): I like to admire Chan Ho's "at Dodger Stadium" vs. "at the rest of the universe" splits.

Steven Goldman (8:01:53 PM PT): Little known MLB rule: relievers who seek to grow a full beard must receive permission from Bruce Sutter.

Jay "Ho" Jaffe (8:01:53 PM PT): That's some beard, too.

Christina Kahrl (8:02:34 PM PT): bflaff (Phila., PA): Bastardo in a one run game? *Gulp*

Look at it this way, now all he can get is a blown save. It would be a big-league first for him too.

Steven Goldman (8:04:18 PM PT): Christina, it was a better Mets-Twins trade than the one for Wally Backman.

...I was trying to make up an all-Wally all-star team on a recent sleepless night without checking the Encyclopedia. I got seven positions before giving up.

Jay "Ho" Jaffe (8:04:42 PM PT): I liked the Park signing for the Phillies. He didn't fare all that well in the rotation, but he came on as one of their better relievers.

Christina Kahrl (8:08:07 PM PT): It was a fine pickup, but employing people on the basis of "as long as we let you do something you're not good at and let you fail" sort of defines every casting decision that's answered with "Paris Hilton," no?

Jay Jaffe (8:12:39 PM PT): Well, he had an interesting spike in his GB% last year, and I guess there was hope he could fill a back-end spot in the rotation. Didn't entirely pay off, but not a total loss either.

He's certainly looked good tonight.

Steven Goldman (8:12:52 PM PT): Tynan (Livermore, ME): Are the Dodgers planning to keep Belliard around for next season? As a Giants fan, I'm hoping you say, "Yes."

Both he and Orlando Hudson are free agents, so they'll have to figure out how they want to fill the position. We've heard a lot in recent days about the screwy Dodgers' ownership situation, so we'll see if they have a real offseason or a Padres offseason.

Dan Wade (8:13:33 PM PT): Paris Hilton or David Arquette, one of the two.

Christina Kahrl (8:14:16 PM PT): Sherrill now, against Howard and then Ibanez a batter later? An interesting call as far as making sure everyone's around for Game Two, but with the pitcher's spot due up fourth in the bottom of the eighth, I wonder if this isn't asking for an "Elbert with the game on the line" instant later.

Jay Jaffe (8:15:33 PM PT): faithdies (DE): May I recommend a little Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale? Super delicious.

Thanks for the rec, I'll look for it.

Christina Kahrl (8:17:15 PM PT): Enter the danger of rooting around in your pen until you come across the guy who doesn't have it tonight.

Christina Kahrl (8:18:25 PM PT): ... and somewhere, Earl Weaver's smiling. Ouch.

Steven Goldman (8:18:37 PM PT): As I said earlier, Ibanez was oddly productive against lefties this year.

Dan Wade (8:18:56 PM PT): I'm going to go ahead and guess that when Torre decided to play the percentages with Sherril, that wasn't the outcome he was looking for.

Jay Jaffe (8:19:18 PM PT): Grr. I don't know why you don't just leave Kuo in there. He threw all of 17 pitches.

Steven Goldman (8:20:20 PM PT): To paraphrase Casey Stengel, when your lefty pitcher has less of a chance of retiring a lefty-hitter than your right-handed pitcher, you should forget about the platoon and just go for your best option.

Steven Goldman (8:20:55 PM PT): I was wondering that as well, Jay. That change was totally unmotivated.

Christina Kahrl (8:22:03 PM PT): Hence my earlier point--you *know*, barring a double-switch, that whoever pitches the eighth is leaving the game before the ninth. You're in a one-run game. One of your relievers is Scott Elbert, and another, Billingsley, is someone on this night you won't use for more than a right-handed batter. Kuo was firing bullets. Certainly seems like over-managing to me.

Jay Jaffe (8:22:06 PM PT): But they didn't have a righty in there. Torre replaced a lefty with another lefty for no good reason, and as Christina said, he found the guy who didn't have it tonight.

Jay Jaffe (8:22:59 PM PT): Yup. I give Torre 200% of the blame here.

Steven Goldman (8:24:04 PM PT): If you haven't looked up the numbers by now, Ibanez vs. LHP, .285/.359/.639 with 13 HR in 144 at-bats this year vs. .269/.326/.434 career.

...And another Beatles-abusing commercial.

Christina Kahrl (8:24:08 PM PT): And Ben Francisco gives us the always-rare, always entertaining FODP. I wonder who the all-time leader is?

Joe Sheehan (8:24:18 PM PT): re: Kuo. After I wrote that he could be a multi-inning weapon (in a chat session), a blogger turned that into some long rant about how national writers don't know anything about local teams.

As it turns out, the Dodgers are under orders to not have Kuo get up and down. So whatever inning he pitches in, that's his only one. It's apparently the only way to keep his arm intact.

Christina Kahrl (8:27:34 PM PT): And it's consistent with how they've used Kuo since re-activating him--he hasn't split an appearance across two frames.

Steven Goldman (8:27:58 PM PT): The Philles 'pen means never having to say "it's over."

Steven Goldman (8:29:02 PM PT): What a risky send of Loney there.

Christina Kahrl (8:29:16 PM PT): It's tradition. Just ask Mitch Williams and Bobby Thigpen.

Joe Sheehan (8:30:10 PM PT): Yup. I thought that was elective. It's not.

Lefty Jaffe (8:30:58 PM PT): jimnabby (LA): Just a note: lefty hitters have been beating lefty pitchers all night. Plus, the strike zone is ridiculous.

Yup, baseball is a funny game.

Steven Goldman (8:31:09 PM PT): Only seven GDPs for Pierre this year.

Christina Kahrl (8:31:53 PM PT): This is the problem with using Thome early--Pierre's the sort of pinch-hitter who hits into a force in this situation, when the Dodgers need somebody who can play hammer-and-anvil.

Christina Kahrl (8:32:56 PM PT): Oops, I'm feeling sort of Kreskinette-ish.

Steven Goldman (8:32:57 PM PT): If he hadn't swung at that pitch, it might have hit him.

Jay Jaffe (8:34:10 PM PT): But Pierre is still the Dodgers' MVP because he showed up for work.

Christina Kahrl (8:35:32 PM PT): Clearly, the force was with him.

Steven Goldman (8:36:15 PM PT): Jay, it's funny how when a crappy player like Pierre goes on a hot streak as a sub, the meme is always, "Why doesn't this poor guy play?" instead of, "Hey, the manager got something out of him. Now he should get put back into the toy-chest until next time."

Joe Sheehan (8:38:44 PM PT): If Eyre's not coming in now, why was he up?

Christina Kahrl (8:39:01 PM PT): In Chicago, the subjects of those arguments are Reed Johnson and Podzilla.

Jay Jaffe (8:40:22 PM PT): Yes, and sadly, the Dodgers couldn't take the opportunity to sell high on Pierre while he was showcasing himself so well.

Christina Kahrl (8:40:34 PM PT): Definitely the question of the moment, Joe. Maybe he couldn't get loose, but Ethier vs. a right-hander late isn't that much different from any pre-sorted Ryan Howard rant.

Dan Wade (8:40:35 PM PT): It was Jose Morales in Minnesota, until regression took its wicked hold.

Jay Jaffe (8:40:59 PM PT): Ok, it's on.

Jay Jaffe (8:41:30 PM PT): Manny up with two on, down by two. Dodgers have chipped away nicely to get to this point.

Christina Kahrl (8:42:08 PM PT): I'd consider a single that doesn't score Pierre with a full count almost a moral victory of sorts.

Joe Sheehan (8:43:13 PM PT): Ethier is basically the Dodgers' version of Howard.

Your point is noted, CK, but given his job, I doubt that was it. (And if we're going to concede that, then we don't ever get to question these choices, right?)

Joe Sheehan (8:44:11 PM PT): Eric, did Madson always work in the mid-90s?

Christina Kahrl (8:47:29 PM PT): No worries, Joe, jes' teasing, because some rants are called for. Maybe Chollie wasn't afraid of a two-run homer in that situation?

Christina Kahrl (8:48:49 PM PT): I'll take it as my responsibility to note that the Dodgers' lineup has been unManny'd.

Steven Goldman (8:49:01 PM PT): It's going to be interesting to see which relievers from each team are available tomorrow.

Jay Jaffe (8:49:04 PM PT): Joe, when Ethier came up he had much better splits versus lefties. He's declined in just about every year, while becoming more productive overall. His career L/R numbers are still much better than Howard's.

Christina Kahrl (8:49:50 PM PT): Everybody; nobody's had to work all that long as of yet.

Jay Jaffe (8:50:11 PM PT): The thing about Eyre there is that if he didn't get Ethier, then either he or Lidge would have to face Manny, and Eyre's splits are no prize either.

Steven Goldman (8:50:28 PM PT): Thirty-one pitches for Madson, at least...

Joe Sheehan (8:50:39 PM PT): It worked out, which I think may be the title of a book on the 2008-09 Phillies.

Still, if Broxton keeps it to two, the Dodgers aren't in bad shape. Doesn't seem like anyone will talk Chollie off the Lidge.

Wait...did Joe double-switch out Manny? Yuck.

Joe Sheehan (8:53:31 PM PT): Guys, I'm not the one who got Eyre up in the pen. If you do that, but you don't use him against Ethier...what are you doing?

Christina Kahrl (8:53:36 PM PT): Yep, the suggestion that you could get two with Kemp/Blake/Loney/Belliard/Martin isn't too improbable, although it does create the entertaining possibility of Pierre batting with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth.

Jay Jaffe (8:56:40 PM PT): Christina, if that happens, I swear to Gwosdz I'm on the next plane to LA to beat some sense into Torre myself.

Steven Goldman (8:56:53 PM PT): Someone should tell Chip that "a fly ball hit lazily" is not the same as a "lazy fly ball."

Joe Sheehan (8:56:55 PM PT): Serious question: is Howard's shot at an XBH in this matchup higher than Werth's shot at a single? IOW, could you just not hold Victorino?

Christina Kahrl (8:58:57 PM PT): Howard's 0-for-7 with 5 Ks against Broxton on his career...

Joe Sheehan (9:00:23 PM PT): And that was a pretty cool sequence. My insistence that Howard be forced to face lefties at all times aside, I suspect we'll see that matchup again.

Jay Jaffe (9:01:57 PM PT): Broxton has done well against Pujols, too. 1-for-10 coming into the LCS, and then 1-for-3 with a single in it. Small samples, sure, but he can blow it by even the best of them.

Joe Sheehan (9:02:29 PM PT): When is Tulowitzki due up?

Jay Jaffe (9:02:38 PM PT): Ok, here we go with Lidge.

Christina Kahrl (9:02:38 PM PT): Indeed, given the success Broxton has had, that might be one of the leitmotifs of the NLCS, whether or not Howard can finally figure him out, or if Brox is one of the rare right-handers who has his number.

Joe Sheehan (9:03:35 PM PT): Bad location on 0-2. Awful, really.

Eric Seidman (9:03:44 PM PT): Joe, apologies for the delayed response, but NO, it came it out of nowhere re: Madson. For a few years he was a nominal reliever and then in about August of 2008 he suddenly started throwing 96 regularly, and nobody knew where it came from. Apparently Moyer taught him to long toss or use a different throwing program and voila. But it was really funny because last post-season everyone acted as if Madson was and had been this godsent reliever, whereas people here still weren't convinced he was any different than years past.

Jay Jaffe (9:04:34 PM PT): And the tying run to the plate already.

Eric Seidman (9:04:37 PM PT): If Casey Blake does this something productive here, cue all announcers everywhere talking about how gritty he is and how much he helps the team by doing little things that don't show up in the box score... even though the cue involved something beneficial that shows up in box scores.

Joe Sheehan (9:05:31 PM PT): Quality swing. That pitch was a ball to Yao Ming.

Jay Jaffe (9:05:39 PM PT): Phillies pitchers have gotten Dodger hitters to chase the high cheese all night.

Steven Goldman (9:06:02 PM PT): I do believe that DP will show up in the box score.

Joe Sheehan (9:06:26 PM PT): Man, he killed them tonight.

Christina Kahrl (9:07:08 PM PT): Round'em up/Ride'm out/move'm out/round'em up...

Eric Seidman (9:07:38 PM PT): Is Loney going to be the Torrealba of this series?

Steven Goldman (9:08:08 PM PT): The Dodgers never have good third basemen. In franchise history, there's Ron Cey and a few guys that were in and out. Blake is, sadly, towards the quality side of the spectrum.

Joe Sheehan (9:08:12 PM PT): No, he's not blocking a better player, Eric.

Eric Seidman (9:08:43 PM PT): I meant more as the guy the announcers will anoint as having some innate post-season skill.

Eric Seidman (9:09:57 PM PT): Now it's getting really interesting, as the Phillies lead 8-6-5-3, with the 5 = Men of a Certain Age Commercials, and the 3 = Lopez Tonight commercials that made me vomit a bit.

Joe Sheehan (9:10:23 PM PT): For Blake is where the Dodgers could have used DeWitt on the roster.

Lidge, postseason: nine batters faced, three walks, a single, one strikeout. I believe just three swing-and-misses in something above 40 pitches.

Christina Kahrl (9:10:41 PM PT): Adrian Beltre and Billy Grabarkewitz have the highest single-season WARP3 marks for LA Dodgers third basemen.

Jay Jaffe (9:10:45 PM PT): Blake had an excellent year. His defensive numbers were a plus on top of a solid performance with the stick. I hate the trade of Carlos Santana, but you can pencil me in for a .280/.363/.468 line from my third baseman any year and I'll take it.

Joe Sheehan (9:12:23 PM PT): Just like we figured, the Phillies get eight runs off lefties, Cole Hamels gives up four runs, gets chased in the sixth, and the Phillies' bullpen hangs tough.


Christina Kahrl (9:12:48 PM PT): Blake's 2009 ranks third among third basemen on the all-time LAD WARP3 leaderboard; Pedro Guerrero's '85 was mostly spent in left:


Jay Jaffe (9:13:00 PM PT): And Joe Torre gets the EPIC FAIL for bullpen handling, just like I wrote he would.

Steven Goldman (9:13:10 PM PT): And George Sherill wears the horns.

Jay Jaffe (9:14:08 PM PT): No, Torre wears the horns for not getting Kerhsaw out of there after 3 WP, 3 BB. The rest is just commentary, as the rabbi said.

Steven Goldman (9:15:05 PM PT): Joe Torre wears the goat horns; George Sherrill wears the bicycle horns.

Joe Sheehan (9:15:49 PM PT): Wait...what?

The only possible point of contention is leaving Kershaw in in the fifth, and I think it's defensible to use him to get Howard when he'd gotten a couple of outs and seemed on his way to escaping the inning.

Christina Kahrl (9:16:01 PM PT): Well, my condolences Jay, and congratulations Eric. It still looks like we have an amazing, interesting series on tap.

Steven Goldman (9:16:11 PM PT): Hey, thanks to everyone on the reader side for hanging out at BP during this fascinating game. Rejoin us tomorrow for our epic Weather Permitting chat, beginning with Game 2 of this here series.

Christina Kahrl (9:17:30 PM PT): Before I kill you, Mr. Goldman... ;)

Jay Jaffe (9:17:37 PM PT): Shades of yesteryear, alas. And a frustrating game to watch if you're pinning hopes on Torre having a tactical advantage with the bullpen, as I had.

Jay Jaffe (9:20:08 PM PT): But a pleasure to chew on this game with colleagues and readers nonetheless. Good night, all!

Christina Kahrl (9:20:09 PM PT): To be fair to Torre, Sherrill just didn't have it tonight. As noted, Kuo's a one-inning fire-and-forget weapon.

Christina Kahrl (9:21:54 PM PT): With that, see you all tomorrow, g'night gang, and g'night John-boy.

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