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Roundtable: 2010 Playoffs Day One

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday October 06, 2010 1:00 PM ET 2010 Playoffs Day One roundtable.
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Roundtable Administrator (7:23:33 PM PT): Welcome to the 2010 Playoffs Day One roundtable, where BP authors engage in a live chat during the event and answer our readers questions. This roundtable does not start until 1:00 PM ET on October 6, but you can submit questions for our authors any time before or during the roundtable by submitting them using this roundtable chat interface.

Colin Wyers (10:05:54 AM PT): Welcome to the roundtable! I'm hearing now that Valdez is starting for the Phillies at third base, not Polanco. While I'm in the middle of building game odds for the Phillies-Reds game, too. Ah, the excitement of October baseball.

Christina Kahrl (10:13:19 AM PT): Well, here we are, a fine October day, and geared up for a day of televised fun. Thanks to everyone checking in as well, let's get this thing rolling.

Christina Kahrl (10:14:15 AM PT): Wilson Valdez? Hole-y volleyball Batman, talk about a Wilson you wouldn't weep over if you lost him on the high seas...

Colin Wyers (10:17:06 AM PT): rmlaughlin (Pearl River, LA): Do you buy into Derek Jeter's "late season hot streak" as real or more of a move back to his carrer norms? Also what does this mean about his playoff stats this year if anything(small sample size?)?

His late-season stats aren't significantly more predictive of what he'll do in October than his whole season stats. That said, while his 2010 stats are more predictive than this '09 or '08 stats, those need to be in the discussion as well. PECOTA currently has Jeter (without age adjustment) projected at .310/.377/.466 (that's a translated batting line for a neutral park, so it may look a little funky - Yankee Stadium improves power for home run hitters but suppresses power for doubles-and-triples kind of guys). For next year you'd want to account for age, but I think he'll be alright for October.

Colin Wyers (10:22:51 AM PT): Speaking of park factors - would you be surprised to learn that the Mariners had the hitter-unfriendliest park in the majors last season? Not like it was a great hitter's park the years before that, either.

Christina Kahrl (10:24:17 AM PT): GBSimons (Boise, ID): How about everyone's picks to win each Division Series, LCS and the World Series?

I may as well lead off with my own. In the LDS, Phillies over Reds, Giants over Braves; Rangers over Rays, and Yankees over Twins in a series that goes the full five. In the LCS, Phillies over Giants, Yankees over Rangers. Phillies over Yankees in the World Series.

I know, very conventional, other than the Rangers. While I was initially ready to write off the Yankees, I'll buy the lefties-vs.-Twins argument, especially with Duensing and Blackburn both in the rotation. I'm gambling (virtually) on the proposition that Cliff Lee will be Cliff Lee.

John Perrotto (10:29:35 AM PT): Opening Day of the playoffs!

John Perrotto (10:30:16 AM PT): Check out the site. We've just unveiled our new PECOTA game projections. A lot of hard work by Colin Wyers to have this ready just in time for the first game of the postseason.

John Perrotto (10:31:41 AM PT): I'm going with all five-gamers. Rangers, Twins, Phillies and Giants.

Christina Kahrl (10:32:34 AM PT): David (Boston): What story line will be most overplayed by the TBS announcers in each series?

An interesting question. Here again, swinging through these:

Rangers/Rays: Kids!
Reds/Phillies: Overachievers vs. a dynasty a-borning? As I noted in the preview, I don't buy that the Reds over-achieved--they delivered on how good they really are, and deserve full credit for that.
Yankees/Twins: "These are two great fundamental teams."
Braves/Giants: Bobby Cox.

Christina Kahrl (10:33:30 AM PT): Here's hoping you're right, John, I booked an extra night in Cincy in the hope that the Reds get to at least a fourth game.

John Perrotto (10:34:16 AM PT): Here is the link to the playoff PECOTAs story. I urge all to check it out: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12170

David Laurila (10:37:42 AM PT): On this date in 1945, Wrigley Field ushers refused to let a billy goat attend Game 4 of the World Series.

On this date in 2007, Joba Chamberlain lost to a hoard of angry midges in Cleveland.

The above are not related, but it does beg the question: What will we see in the 2010 postseason?

Christina Kahrl (10:40:02 AM PT): Frenchy's starting in right field for the Rangers... Frenchy. Frenchy? Erf.

Brandon Warne (10:40:07 AM PT): Good afternoon, everybody!

Ben Lindbergh (10:41:31 AM PT): Just chiming in to establish my presence. Happy Opening Playoffs Day, folks--these three-game days early on are some of my favorites.

Also looking forward to finding out which ads we're going to have the privilege of watching a million times this October.

Colin Wyers (10:42:06 AM PT): Francoeur almost makes me want to see a Rangers-Braves World Series.

John Perrotto (10:42:50 AM PT): Oh by the way, we will be having weekend content throughout the postseason. It won't be a full slate during the week but there will be previews, analysis, etc. from the weekend games.

John Perrotto (10:43:33 AM PT): I should say won't be a full slate like *during* the week.

Christina Kahrl (10:45:39 AM PT): Anybody have any strong feelings on the special post-season catwalk rules? Aside from the Trop being an unloved venue...

Brandon Warne (10:46:03 AM PT): What a phenomenal day for LHSP on the American League side. Four of the best lefties in the game today going for each of the clubs. I wouldn't be surprised if both games are one-run nailbiters.

Ben Lindbergh (10:46:32 AM PT): As I mentioned in my ALDS preview, Vlad never *didn't* hit cleanup this season, despite aging before our eyes in the second half. "Bad Vlad" is back, indeed.

I wrote that before the single, but I'm letting it stand.

John Perrotto (10:46:46 AM PT): One of the enduring memories I think I'll have is covering the ALDS and World Series at the Trop in 2008. It's an odd place but it was unlike any other baseball experience I've ever had. Very, very loud.

David Laurila (10:47:48 AM PT): Another historical note:

On this date in 1963, the Dodgers completed a 4-game sweep of the Yankees to win the World Series.

Octobers were different back then.

Colin Wyers (10:48:00 AM PT): I don't know if I'm okay with the "do-over" rule. I mean, they didn't ask me and aren't going to change it, so I'm going to have to make my peace with it. But still.

Ben Lindbergh (10:48:30 AM PT): CK, the best strategy for the Rays today may be to aim popups into those A & B rings until Cliff Lee's arm gets tired. I'm sure it's occurred to Joe Maddon.

Colin Wyers (10:49:53 AM PT): Yeah, David, it seems like ever since MLB adopted the "There's only one October" tag line, they've been trying to prove themselves wrong.

John Perrotto (10:50:03 AM PT): How many times we will see Conan O'Brien between now and the end of the four LDS?

Christina Kahrl (10:51:35 AM PT): I'm just intrigued by the notion that the game, despite its rep for slow change, did something fairly dramatic in this case. I don't remember anything from 2008 that really suggested this was necessary, so it would be interesting to sort out at what point this decision was made--in September? Last night?

Ben Lindbergh (10:52:06 AM PT): So many times. Good thing I'm actually looking forward to "Conan." Those ads for "Frank TV" a few Octobers ago were much harder to stomach.

John Perrotto (10:53:04 AM PT): I don't usually like changing the rules in mid-stream, but something had to be done about the catwalks. I caught up with the Twins the day after Jason Kubel's catwalk single beat the Rays in August and even they admitted it was a pretty bad way to win a game. You'd hate to see a championship decided on something as goofy as that.

Ben Lindbergh (10:57:51 AM PT): In the process of stocking up on food for this all-day baseball marathon, I ordered an egg white omelette, and received a salmon omelette. I was told that I'd requested a salmon omelette. How do you get "salmon" from "egg white?" Fortunately, I like salmon.

Christina Kahrl (10:58:23 AM PT): Maybe it's my happy memories of Kong in the Kingdome, or the advantages the Humpdome afforded the Twins, but even while I don't miss most domes, they did create interesting possibilities; just because they came later in the day than the Monster doesn't make them any less legit as ballpark idiosyncrasies go.

Colin Wyers (10:58:58 AM PT): I'm noticing a trend here - give Ben something, and he'll convince himself that fortunately, he likes it. This could be useful.

Christina Kahrl (10:59:25 AM PT): Loaded up, and interesting that Andrus seemed to be leaning that far towards the bag and away from the hole with Longoria at the plate.

Marc Normandin (11:00:25 AM PT): Mike Maddux has a fantastic mustache.

Ben Lindbergh (11:00:34 AM PT): The Rays BABIPed Lee to death this season, winning all 3 games that he started against them despite his 25/2 KBB in 23 2/3 innings. Here we go again.

Ben Lindbergh (11:01:23 AM PT): Works for everything except "Frank TV."

Christina Kahrl (11:01:45 AM PT): Carlos Pena ranked 343rd out of 345 batters with 200 or more PA in NetDP, so seeing the deuce here might rank up there with a triple for unlikely events.

David Laurila (11:01:52 AM PT): Carlos Pena began his career with the Texas Rangers.

Christina Kahrl (11:03:03 AM PT): And before CarGo was, CarPe was another instance of Billy Beane's capacity to regift a goodie.

Ben Lindbergh (11:04:43 AM PT): Pena lacks the Jeterian heart to fake a HBP convincingly.

Christina Kahrl (11:05:36 AM PT): carligula (Oakland): Rocco Baldelli? Really? I suppose he's a guy you can root for, but... the Rays don't have anyone else to DH?

I'm about to toss up a post on Unfiltered on the six rosters in play today, but yeah, this is a surprise. I'm glad to see Dan Johnson make the cut, but the Rays certainly did some interesting things.

Steven Goldman (11:08:30 AM PT): BB-Ref similarity scores says that Cliff Lee is most similar to Mark Mulder. That seems really far off.

Marc Normandin (11:10:19 AM PT): I'm with you Steve, that doesn't sound right at all. Lee is not unique, in being a left-handed starter who blossomed late in his career once his command was under control, but Mulder?

John Perrotto (11:10:24 AM PT): On such a beautiful afternoon in St. Pete, it's good to know everyone is safely inside watching baseball. Talk about a market that needs a new stadium closer to its primary population center.

Kevin Goldstein (11:11:27 AM PT): OF COURSE Jeff Francouer gets the big hit. Back to podcast editing, so you all later.

John Perrotto (11:11:35 AM PT): Frenchy must have been monitoring our chat.

Steven Goldman (11:12:04 AM PT): Marc, his top three are Mulder, Teddy Higuera, and LaMarr Hoyt, which is a really ill-fated group, too.

Christina Kahrl (11:12:04 AM PT): Maybe that's the explanation for Vince Naimoli... the threat of October baseball in the Tampa/St. Pete market was almost as much of a theoretical as Pittsburgh's possibilities.

Christina Kahrl (11:12:05 AM PT): Maybe that's the explanation for Vince Naimoli... the threat of October baseball in the Tampa/St. Pete market was almost as much of a theoretical as Pittsburgh's possibilities.

Colin Wyers (11:12:17 AM PT): Those sim scores are designed for post-career work, and I think they function really poorly for guys who are still active. (They also don't adjust for era at all.)

Steven Goldman (11:13:28 AM PT): Colin, do you have PECOTA comps for him yet?

Christina Kahrl (11:13:30 AM PT): Bingo, Colin. They're barely useful for conversation starters, since you have to add that interjection.

David Laurila (11:13:52 AM PT): FWIW: Five players in today's starting lineup have been the subject of a Prospectus Q&A. A sixth player, David Price, was the subject of a shorter, Unfiltered interview. Joe Maddon and Ron Washington have also been Prospectus Q&As.

Ben Lindbergh (11:14:10 AM PT): BB-Ref must not be aware that Lee was bitten by a radioactive Sandy Koufax on a routine trip to Dodgertown prior to the 2008 season.

Marc Normandin (11:14:45 AM PT): If you're ever going to bobble a ball in right field, do it on a Bengie Molina liner.

Marc Normandin (11:15:59 AM PT): Elvis Andrus looks like a slick-fielding Abraham Lincoln.

Christina Kahrl (11:16:04 AM PT): "Bengie Molina is a clutch hitter." It's the knowledge that life provides exasperations for the stathead that lead me to expect some results. Frenchy and Bengie? Of course!

Steven Goldman (11:16:24 AM PT): Abraham Lincoln's estate should get royalties on Andrus' beard.

Steven Goldman (11:16:49 AM PT): Great minds, Marc...

Ben Lindbergh (11:16:58 AM PT): Have to give Francoeur and his agent credit. From benched with the Mets to starting Game 1 of the ALDS in just over a month.

Christina Kahrl (11:17:41 AM PT): The moral of the story is that David knows everybody, and might just be baseball's better version of Charlie Rose.

Marc Normandin (11:18:23 AM PT): Ben, it's because Frenchy knows when to shave.

Christina Kahrl (11:19:54 AM PT): That's the fun thing with a lot of the postseason rosters. Jason Repko? Dan Johnson? Frenchy? Rocco? Matt Treanor on the bench, when the Rangers were supposed to be the young catching-enabled ballclub? It's a funny old world. The Yankees have Dustin Moseley and Sergio Mitre suited up, for chrissakes.

Steven Goldman (11:20:00 AM PT): Speaking of Abraham Lincoln, Christina, I've been reading James McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief," about his learning curve in dealing with the military establishment such as it was. Not bad at all.

Marc Normandin (11:20:21 AM PT): Hopping on the point David brought up, I feel like I have written a Player Profile on half of the players in today's game.

Steven Goldman (11:21:15 AM PT): As I wrote over at the Pinstriped Bible, putting Moseley and Mitre on the Yankees roster was an act of supreme pessimism, especially when they also threw A.J. Burnett into the pen. Just how much long relief do they expect to need and still win the series?

Christina Kahrl (11:21:48 AM PT): The complaint was that there was nothing new, but as with everything in McPherson's career, there's a lot of jealousy animating the complaints. Battle Cry of Freedom remains a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the Civil War.

Ben Lindbergh (11:22:28 AM PT): After looking at Molina's clutch stats, if he'd said "Bengie Molina HAS BEEN a clutch hitter," I'd have no problem with it.

Christina Kahrl (11:22:34 AM PT): Joltless Joe will no doubt get the last laugh when the Yankees win a 24-inning Game Four.

Steven Goldman (11:23:17 AM PT): I've read "Battle Cry" in whole or in parts a few times now. Probably the best one-volume treatment of the war and the times. That whole Oxford series on American history is very good.

They should be contacting us to write "Baseball and America" any day now, judging by their good taste in authors.

Ben Lindbergh (11:27:28 AM PT): Colin, can you tell whether PitchTrax is using the dimensions of the zone as it's actually called, or as it's specified in the rule book? It looks a little narrow.

Eric Seidman (11:28:06 AM PT): Colin said this was going to be 3.85 to 3.52 in favor of the Rays and it's 2-0 Rangers. I just don't the Rays outscoring them 3.85 to 1.52 from here on out.

Christina Kahrl (11:29:44 AM PT): For a short, excellent treatment of antebellum politics and its corrosion through compromise, check out Michael Holt's The Fate of Their Country.

To switch Lees, to go back to the earlier point about BABIPping Cliff to death, he's doing a pretty good job of making sure there's not a lot of opportunity. With Hamilton in center, of course, he'd better.

Steven Goldman (11:30:26 AM PT): I was going to ask a question about super-control pitchers being at a disadvantage against high-quality postseason offenses. Then I remembered that Bret Saberhagen was MVP of the 1985 World Series.

Colin Wyers (11:32:22 AM PT): PitchTrax should be using the rulebook zone for the width (maybe a one-inch margin of error around the border). For the top of the zone, it is using belt-level (not the letters). I don't know if they're using the F/X operator's estimate of strike zone height for that plate appearance or if they're using a long-term average.

Eric Seidman (11:32:41 AM PT): Ryan (Springfield, PA): Where does the Phillies "Big Three" rank in terms of the best top 3 pitchers in one rotation in the last two decades or so?

Towards the top, but slightly behind the 2005 Orioles C-Squared-L trio of Daniel Cabrera, Bruce Chen, and Rodrigo Lopez.

Christina Kahrl (11:32:49 AM PT): Against the '85 Cardinals, who needed happy BIP outcomes. He wasn't quite so special against the Jays in the ALCS.

Steven Goldman (11:38:24 AM PT): "Happy BIP outcomes" sounds like what happens when Carlos Silva goes to an after-hours massage parlor.

Ben Lindbergh (11:38:53 AM PT): Nelson Cruz has scary power.

Steven Goldman (11:39:37 AM PT): Let's say the Rangers win this game, given that they're up 3-0. Now the Rays' decision to pitch Shields in G2 really takes on importance. I realize his peripherals were much better than his ERA, but it's still a huge gamble.

Christina Kahrl (11:39:54 AM PT): Nelson Cruz, another of Guillermo Frijoles' regifted heroes, with his own star turn...

Marc Normandin (11:40:33 AM PT): My thinking is that it's better to have James Shields in Tampa Bay than in Arlington, given the issues he has had with the long ball.

Steven Goldman (11:41:03 AM PT): Yeah, but does Shields have to be a choice?

Christina Kahrl (11:41:10 AM PT): "Happy BIP outcomes" could also describe Mr. Roberts' rewards as a free agent, I suppose.

Ben Lindbergh (11:41:54 AM PT): Mike Fast: Ben, I'm pretty sure PitchTrax attempts to draw the rulebook zone, which is a few inches narrower on the outside edge than what umpires typically call, particularly to LHB. Also, I don't remember whether they draw it (incorrectly) at the 17-inch width of home plate or whether they include the 1.5-inch radius of the baseball on either side, like they should, for a 20-inch rulebook zone.

Thanks, Mike. I guess we'll continue to see a bunch of called strikes from Lee that Pitch Trax says are outside the zone, then.

Steven Goldman (11:42:21 AM PT): Mr. Roberts didn't get a happy outcome. He was killed by a kamikaze while drinking coffee in the wardroom.

Christina Kahrl (11:42:58 AM PT): Here's hoping he's on a very short leash indeed, but Niemann only managed two quality starts in his last 10 while getting tattooed often enough to have his own reality TV show.

Jeff Euston (11:43:01 AM PT): Dick Vitale now more visibly panicked than usual. And I'm nostalgic for Al Lang Field.

John Perrotto (11:43:20 AM PT): James Shields is Big Game James, doncha know. But, to his credit, he is a very good interview.

Christina Kahrl (11:44:28 AM PT): B.J. Upton's out just like that, and I'm wondering if anyone's still left on that "he's a superstar starting NOW" bandwagon from two Octobers ago.

John Perrotto (11:44:36 AM PT): Attention Eric Seidman: They just put up a graphic with Cliff Lee's K/BB ratio!

Ben Lindbergh (11:45:07 AM PT): Hey, he's a good pitcher, too! And Steve, as one of the chosen people, surely you were in on the James Shields Game 2 conspiracy.

Marc Normandin (11:45:15 AM PT): I still like B.J. Upton a lot, Christina, but I've backed off from my superstar status. He is devoured by pitchers with dominating fastballs much too easily, and it's going to keep his batting averages consistently low.

Brandon Warne (11:45:24 AM PT): Big Game James is like Big Spot Scott Baker for the Twins. Don't trust either of them, really.

Steven Goldman (11:47:07 AM PT): Ben, I wrote about the Shields conspiracy at the PB: http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2010/10/05/james-the-maccabee-shields/

Christina Kahrl (11:50:18 AM PT): Good point, Marc, and he is just 26... it makes for an interesting series of choices as far as what to do with his last two years of arbitration eligibility. The market's not awash in center fielders, so he could end up being liberally compensated and then judged a disappointment.

Steven Goldman (11:52:05 AM PT): I was going to say, Christina, Marc, that Upton has surely stagnated, but given that he's an effective enough glove in CF and the low standards for offense at the position, isn't he kind of valuable at the present level? We had him at 5.3 WARP, which ain't bad at all.

Christina Kahrl (11:53:35 AM PT): Bengie goes home... 4-0 Rangers, and then Longoria couldn't make the Caminiti play.

John Perrotto (11:54:17 AM PT): Jeff Francoeur and Bengie Molina will be available for a photo op outside the Rangers' clubhouse after the game in which they will both raise the middle finger to all of us participating in this chat.

Brandon Warne (11:54:40 AM PT): "Eric Perkins (Minneapolis): What makes Jesse Behr a special assistant instead of a regular contributor or an intern?"

Wondering if this is "Perk at Play" from a local news station. If so, greetings!

To answer your question: Talk to Jesse once and you'll see why he's special.

Marc Normandin (11:54:51 AM PT): Upton's glove is excellent. Effortless range out in center, and he gets to almost everything. It more than makes up for his bat, which isn't as strong as I thought it would be. He's an important piece, and will most likely be signed, post-arb, for a deal that benefits his new team because of his defense. A shame he doesn't get appreciation for what he does well.

Christina Kahrl (11:55:49 AM PT): More power to them. It ain't about us, and that's the fun in the game in a nutshell--even with as much info at our disposal, there's still the infinite capacity to surprise and entertain.

Brandon Warne (11:58:16 AM PT): Props to the Rays for accommodating Upton and finding him a spot to shine defensively. Many may recall he really struggled in the infield as a youngster.

Christina Kahrl (12:00:08 PM PT): Sure, Brandon, but he's the latest on a long list of that sort, like Danny Tartabull and Ron Gant, a list that ought to have Rickie Weeks on it one of these years. ;)

Steven Goldman (12:00:27 PM PT): Ben Zobrist post-break: .177/.294/.293. Who burst his pumpkin?

Christina Kahrl (12:01:17 PM PT): Gotta be Peter, he's the pumpkin eater.

Ben Lindbergh (12:02:16 PM PT): Evidently, "Cevallos Impact Rating" is as susceptible to regression as any other stat (http://bit.ly/ms6F7).

Steven Goldman (12:02:43 PM PT): And the Rays actually waited way too long to move Upton, Brandon. See this piece from 2006 as well as the two following columns: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4797.

Ben Lindbergh (12:02:58 PM PT): That little giraffe disturbs me.

Brandon Warne (12:04:21 PM PT): "Gomes batting ahead of Bruce is really criminal. The Reds worst 2 batters are 2nd and 5th. Dusty seems to have a done a good job overall this year, but my-oh-my, the guy is a horrific tactician."

Can't help but agree. It was strangely reminiscent of Gardenhire hitting Cabrera in the same spot last year. However, no one seems to mind Baker much, nor are they surprised by it.

Steven Goldman (12:04:50 PM PT): Talk to that little giraffe once and you'll see why he's special.

Ben Lindbergh (12:06:15 PM PT): Pena's scoop looks a little rusty.

Christina Kahrl (12:07:07 PM PT): If one of Pena's selling points is supposed to be his glove work, he isn't helping his free agency any.

Ben Lindbergh (12:08:16 PM PT): So much for my little rant about Bad Vlad.

Christina Kahrl (12:09:10 PM PT): I can't help but enjoy watching Vladi rake; last year or this in the postseason, there's something to be said about a guy who can put the barrel on almost any ball.

Steven Goldman (12:10:30 PM PT): Dan Wheeler sort of rhymes with "wan dealer."

Christina Kahrl (12:15:00 PM PT): Dan Wheeler, wan dealer

Threw his share of strikes

A lead-sealer and strike-stealer

But rarely does he deal with mics.

Christina Kahrl (12:17:32 PM PT): Nah, that sucked. Used 'strike' twice. Forgive me. 5-0 Rangers, and Lee certainly seems to be fulfilling the purpose of his acquisition.

Steven Goldman (12:17:53 PM PT): Ever since Ben brought up Pena's scoop, I've got the Rangers version of "Talkin' Baseball" stuck in my head: "Talkin' Baseball: Buddy, Sunny, and the Scoop." I was always confused by that last--until I realized he was talking about Al Oliver, I thought it was a reference to cat litter.

Rob McQuown (12:18:12 PM PT): I can't resist: The Price is Not Right... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

John Perrotto (12:18:21 PM PT): The overhead shot of Al Lang Field makes me nostalgic. Watching Grapefruit League games there on a sunny day was truly a treat.

Ben Lindbergh (12:20:28 PM PT): Wonder what's going to be going through Brian Cashman's head if and when Lee is doing this to his team (again).

John Perrotto (12:21:02 PM PT): Completely useless trivia but Dan Wheeler is the son-in-law of Rays TV play-by-play man Dwayne Staats, who I've always felt should be the voice of sabermetrics.

John Perrotto (12:21:59 PM PT): If Buck Martinez would have read Ben Lindbergh's preview of this series, he'd realize all that talk about the Rangers' starters going longer under Nolan Ryan's plan is a bunch of BS so far.

Christina Kahrl (12:22:07 PM PT): For the name, John?

Steven Goldman (12:22:58 PM PT): dianagramr (NYC): Anagram of "Dan Wheeler": Leeward Hen

No fair using those well-honed Scrabble skills, D.

Steven Goldman (12:24:22 PM PT): Staats called Yankees games forever, was not the most compelling listen.

Ben Lindbergh (12:24:51 PM PT): "The Rays have not been able to sting anything." I like what he did there.

Steven Goldman (12:25:04 PM PT): When do you pull the plug on Price in this game and say, "Get 'em next time, kid?"

Steven Goldman (12:26:54 PM PT): Question for Buck Martinez: is bringing in a bunch of players who didn't actually play well equal to meeting "their needs?"

Christina Kahrl (12:27:40 PM PT): So much for the Rays' sunny reinvention, Ben; along with the Snakes, they'll always be part of MLB's "unpleasant to step on" expansion kit.

Steven Goldman (12:28:10 PM PT): I have a sort of pornographic analogy for this, but I probably shouldn't share in this forum.

John Perrotto (12:30:22 PM PT): Yes, Dwayne Staats for the name, not his broadcasting style. Jon "Boog" Sciambi should really be the voice of sabermetrics.

Steven Goldman (12:30:30 PM PT): What does it say that the Rangers are in a better position to get to the World Series than the Cubs are to get back there?

Steven Goldman (12:31:25 PM PT): dianagramr (NYC): Steven ... as long as the analogy doesn't involve either Maddon or the tiny giraffe, you are OK.

How about Maddon AND the tiny giraffe?

Christina Kahrl (12:32:11 PM PT): Regardless of whether or not Price comes out, I'm interested to see how quickly Ron Washington gets Borbon in center; the only lefty in the Raypen is Randy Choate, and the odds that he gets employed to go after Borbon seems fairly small.

Steven Goldman (12:34:33 PM PT): The REAL Abraham Lincoln would have had that ball.

Christina Kahrl (12:36:20 PM PT): This Michael Young stutter-step brought to you by a Carney Lansford flashback...

Steven Goldman (12:40:39 PM PT): The superior camera-work we've come to expect from TBS there.

Ben Lindbergh (12:42:16 PM PT): Fortunately, without the Chip Caray we've come to expect from TBS.

Eric Seidman (12:43:18 PM PT): John P, if they had mentioned a switch-hitter in the same graphic it would've covered half of my articles over the last 3 months!

Christina Kahrl (12:44:33 PM PT): Ugh. If I ever hear another weak liner described as a "laser beam" by that basketball announcer, it'll be too soon.

John Perrotto (12:46:53 PM PT): Speaking of basketball announcers, I'll be curious how Ernie Johnson Jr. fares considering he has minimal baseball experience. It seems TBS is setting itself up for Chip Caray II.

Christina Kahrl (12:48:06 PM PT): The UPS ad makes me think about Martin Van Creveld.

Christina Kahrl (12:50:32 PM PT): Jimmy Rollins is leading off after all... I guess I feel good about being a tedious nag on some subjects, but he hasn't started in the seventh slot this season. It's a bit of wish fulfillment Phillies fans will still have to wait for.

Ben Lindbergh (12:55:49 PM PT): Have any actors in recent history had a more unexpected late-career peak than Morgan Freeman? Talk about your late bloomers. Freeman makes Jose Bautista's breakout look positively predictable.

Christina Kahrl (1:02:54 PM PT): So, walking the dingo provides me with the reminder that my building's government-issued crazy cat lady is also a smoker, making her hallway an odiferous Krakatoa of stinkitude.

Colin Wyers (1:03:23 PM PT): "O Danny Boy (Jersey): The Reds look like huge underdogs in this series. Give me a scenario where they pull it out. Mind you, I'm not from Cincy, I just really hate Philly sports fans"

Basically any scenario where they win more games than the Phillies would do it.

Seriously, the Phillies are a good team and the favorites to win this series. But I think they're being overrated - the Reds are also a good team, just not as good as the Phillies. (Yes, their record consists largely of beating up lackluster teams, but you can only win the games on the schedule.)

Eric Seidman (1:05:27 PM PT): It seemed more and more likely that Rollins was going to bat lower in the order, but they seemingly felt so good about his progress over the last three games that batting him leadoff re-entered the realm of possibilities. Of course, losing Polanco for the game means that Jimmy and Shane were going to bat 1-2 anyway.

In all honesty, whether it's Rollins or Victorino at 1 or 7 doesn't make all that much of a difference. Both are fast. Neither get on base all that much. Both have power. Both are tiny.

Christina Kahrl (1:05:47 PM PT): Couldn't agree more, Colin. I think the Phillies' outperformance of their expected record is underreported.

Eric Seidman (1:06:22 PM PT): Ben, Morgan Freeman is the Vice President of the Steve Martin Club for Actors Who Look Like They Are the Same Age for Three or More Decades.

Colin Wyers (1:07:26 PM PT): "Paul (Boston): I'm confused -- Should I be getting Postseason TV if I don't have a television? I have an mlb radio subscription, and could combine them if there's no audio on postseason tv. Do I get the TBS/Fox feed?"

My credit card just cleared and they just came back from commercial, so I'll let you know. It's the TBS announcers, but you don't get the full broadcast feed, just the component cameras. I still need to figure this out.

Christina Kahrl (1:07:29 PM PT): Or your basic narcissistic boomer-generation fantasy man, Eric. Probably golfs a lot too. World-changers indeed. ;)

Christina Kahrl (1:07:30 PM PT): Or your basic narcissistic boomer-generation fantasy man. Probably golfs a lot too. World-changers indeed. ;)

Ben Lindbergh (1:08:38 PM PT): Moneyball16 (Calgary): How much merit is there to pulling Cliff Lee and bringing him back for Game 4? Tommy Hunter seems like a likely disaster for the Rangers.

This lead isn't exactly safe, but you're right, bypassing Hunter would really help the Rangers. It seems that the Rangers, like the Phillies before them, have made the determination that Lee just isn't built for starting on three days' rest, and would rather make sure of a Game One victory than risk pushing him past his natural limits.

Eric Seidman (1:09:41 PM PT): Can anyone tell me where James Shields got his nickname "Big Game"? He got it before the Rays were good, when no game was big.

Ben Lindbergh (1:10:35 PM PT): A sushi place just dropped a takeout menu under my door, disturbing my baseball reverie. The front page promises me a chance to "EAT/DRINK/PARTY/PLAY." Play? What, with my food?

Eric Seidman (1:11:29 PM PT): David (Boston): The obvious question: Picks for the each game today?

I'll take the Rangers in Game One.

Eric Seidman (1:12:54 PM PT): Mantis (New York): Who would you say are the greatest pitchers of this generation? And by that, I mean the generation after Maddux, Clemens, Pedro, and Randy.

I will answer by directing you to my article on the subject. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11683

Christina Kahrl (1:13:17 PM PT): Rangers, Yankees, Phillies. No virtue in zagging when the world's looking this ziggy.

Chase Gharrity (1:13:33 PM PT): Ben, do you mean to tell me you've never played edamame basketball before?

Colin Wyers (1:14:21 PM PT): "Matthew (Bryn Mawr): Whether you hate Philadelphia fans or not, there is no denying they are the best team in the playoffs. Keep in mind they had injuries all year but are healthy now as well."

I think maybe they're the third or fourth best team in the playoffs. Really. The AL is simply a tougher league than the NL, and it is simply easier to put up a record like the Phillies did in the NL than the AL. They are not as good as the Yankees, and they are not as good as the Rays. They may not be as good as the Rangers or the Twins, either.

The front three that Phillly has makes them a better playoff team than their regular season performance may indicate, but they're not this historically great team and they can be beaten, even by the Reds.

Eric Seidman (1:15:07 PM PT): Moneyball16 (Calgary): Am I the only one already sick of Buck talking about how deep and balanced the Rangers lineup is? They have Frenchy, Cantu, Molina and Andrus in a row FFS! Still a nice lineup, but it sure isn't deep and balanced.

I don't even think Bengie Molina could balance himself if Frenchy, Cantu, and Andrus were on all sides of him helping out.

Christina Kahrl (1:16:19 PM PT): Night O'Day, you are the one, only you beneath the dome or under the sun...

Ben Lindbergh (1:16:27 PM PT): Howdy, Chase. Can't say that I have. Guess I've been going about this sushi thing all wrong.

Eric Seidman (1:16:31 PM PT): carligula (Oakland): Rocco Baldelli? Really? I suppose he's a guy you can root for, but... the Rays don't have anyone else to DH?

This also confused me. The guy had under 30 PAs this season. How can a 95+ win team not have a better option than that?

Colin Wyers (1:16:50 PM PT): Early returns on Playoff.tv - it works pretty much as advertised. You put it in mosaic view or picture in picture and it's okay. It's not the broadcast, but you get more control over your viewing experience. (For some reason you can't switch from the TBS announcers to the radio, like you can for MLB.tv.)

The one thing I don't like so far? Every time you go to change camera views, it takes 10-15 seconds to "check your account" before it'll show you the feed.

Eric Seidman (1:19:07 PM PT): jasonbradleymill (Tucson, AZ): In a first-round, best of 5 series, isn't it advantageous to open a series on the road?

Explain yourself regarding this blasphemy!

Ben Lindbergh (1:19:57 PM PT): Whether near to Lee or far, it's no matter, Ron Darling, where you are...

Steven Goldman (1:20:09 PM PT): O'Day has to rank somewhere in the top 10 reasons that Omar was not good for the Mets.

Christina Kahrl (1:20:14 PM PT): So, O'Day does his thing, and he didn't cost Miguel Olivo to go out and get. But there's no NYT bestseller about the Rangers... yet.

Steven Goldman (1:20:48 PM PT): I love it when BP does Cole Porter parodies. You can't get that just anywhere.

Jay Jaffe (1:21:13 PM PT): Is this thing on?

John Perrotto (1:21:38 PM PT): Eric, the Lakers' James Worthy was the original Big Game James. Thus, every athlete named James has since gotten the moniker. Except LeBron James, of course, who always disappears in big games.

Steven Goldman (1:22:19 PM PT): Christina, perhaps we'll do "Nolan's Game" if they win it all.

Eric Seidman (1:24:05 PM PT): David (Boston): What story line will be most overplayed by the TBS announcers in each series?

Phillies-Reds: Nothing stands out. Talk of the Big 3 for the Phillies. Talk of Votto's sheer awesomeness.

Yankees-Twins: Twins are sooooo scrappy. Yankees won last year, but pitching is a problem.

Rangers-Rays: (crickets)

Giants-Braves: Bobby Cox, with a splash of Heyward/Posey action.

Christina Kahrl (1:26:16 PM PT): The manuscript would probably be devoted to tearing down the title's suggestion. It's a rare historical figure whose impact gets to be overrated on and off the field.

Steven Goldman (1:27:51 PM PT): I was thinking in that direction. The title could be an allusion to the works of Patricia Highsmith.

Jay Jaffe (1:29:42 PM PT): adamseth7 (Philly): Do you guys really buy the Hit List that the best seven teams in baseball are all in the Al. The White Sox? The A's? Really. Perhaps too high of a league adjustment?

Admittedly, the league adjustment (+.025 for the AL, -.021 for the NL, IIRC) is an imprecise tool, but when I studied the matter last winter based upon 2006-2008 interleague data (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9481) the surprising thing was that even the top 20 percent of NL teams won significantly less than 50% of their games against AL teams. So I don't think the way I've chosen to handle it is out of line. I'd be interested to hear what Colin has to say about it, though.

Steven Goldman (1:29:54 PM PT): Eric, the over-talked Rangers-Rays topic threatens to be Bengie "Babe" Molina. He's Pat Borders '10, at least in this one game.

Colin Wyers (1:29:56 PM PT): For those wondering if I've left the reservation in saying the Yankees and Rays are better ballclubs than the Phillies - this year the AL beat the NL at a .532 clip. And that's the worst interleague showing for the AL since '01!

When you compare records and stats between clubs from the two leagues, it is seriously as if the NL gets to play all their games at home and the AL has to play all their games on the road. That's seriously the magnitude of that difference. It's a lot tougher to win ballgames in the junior circuit.

Colin Wyers (1:30:48 PM PT): Since '04, I mean. Sorry 'bout that.

Colin Wyers (1:32:53 PM PT): "jasonbradleymill (Tucson): In a 5 game series, if you win one of the first two games on the road, then you're set to close out the series at home. As a fan, it doesn't bother me when my team opens a series on the road. I don't know if it's something I can quantify, statistically, but I seem to remember teams "stealing" games on the road and then being in a great position to close out a series in games 3 & 4...But, that's why I'm asking you guys. :)"

The reason you'd want to start a five game set at home more than away is because you don't want to have your first home game down 0-2 to put you in a must-win game.

Now in a seven game set, it's interesting - because if you can keep the series to five games, you actually get home field advantage if you're the team seeded lower. That's a perverse incentive if you ask me.

Jay Jaffe (1:32:55 PM PT): and you meant AL on the road, NL at home, right, Colin?

Steven Goldman (1:33:23 PM PT): When I see that Russian oligarch/Direct TV commercial, I now think of it as "Ben's Giraffe."

Colin Wyers (1:34:38 PM PT): I thought that's what I said... wasn't it?

Ben Lindbergh (1:34:50 PM PT): Bartlett's well-deserved defensive substitution doesn't bode well for his future in Florida, considering he's not exactly an offensive asset. He may well be walking elsewhere before his walk year begins.

Steven Goldman (1:35:56 PM PT): Given the dearth of shortstops, would that be a wise decision?

Colin Wyers (1:37:22 PM PT): "Jeffrey (Livingston): Colin, why do you think the majority of intelligent baseball writers/analysts (including some of your colleagues at BP) have the Phillies winning the World Series? What do you see that they don't?"

I think the Phillies are the single-most likely team to win the Series, because they are the single-most likely team to advance to the playoffs. By saying the AL has two teams that are likely better, you're looking at a tougher road for either of those teams to make it to the playoffs.

Christina Kahrl (1:37:37 PM PT): Uh oh, a leadoff walk off Feliz! Cue the predictions of closers whose careers "ended" because of post-season mishaps. George Foster! Byung-Hyun Kim! Brad Lidge! Oh, wait...

Christina Kahrl (1:37:52 PM PT): Erf, George Frazier, I meant to say.

Christina Kahrl (1:38:06 PM PT): And he wasn't even a closer.

Colin Wyers (1:39:30 PM PT): I love this. The two choices for why Felix walks a guy are "nerves" or "not a save spot." How do we explain the 18 walks Felix had in the regular season?

Ben Lindbergh (1:39:58 PM PT): I don't know, but doesn't Brignac's presence give the Rays something of a surplus? Maybe they could capitalize on someone else's dearth, if his defensive reputation still smells rosier than reality.

Brandon Warne (1:41:06 PM PT): That was the pride of Coon Rapids, Minn there taking the walk.

Ben Lindbergh (1:41:38 PM PT): What would one call the article of clothing that Mike Maddux is wearing? A pitching coach singlet? Short-sleeved windbreaker? More importantly, when is he wearing it indoors?

Steven Goldman (1:42:05 PM PT): Not sure that Brignac surpasses platoon status with Maddon.

John Perrotto (1:43:29 PM PT): There is no way Jason Bartlett is the Rays' starting shortstop on Opening Day next year. He's an easy target for the Rays' big payroll reduction.

Ben Lindbergh (1:43:40 PM PT): Er, *why* is he wearing it indoors, that is.

Colin Wyers (1:44:16 PM PT): Announcers just said "he's a shortstop who learned to play second base." I'm pretty sure that describes anyone who's ever played second base in the majors.

Steven Goldman (1:49:57 PM PT): We'll be keeping on here as we head into G2 of 3 in today's baseball chatpalooza. Stay tuned for more exciting commentary, Cole Porter references, and disturbing thoughts about tiny giraffes.

Steven Goldman (1:55:16 PM PT): Speaking of Cole Porter, earlier today, an acquaintance explained a long disappearance by saying he had been "on a trip to the moon," and I kept thinking, "On gossamer wings?"

Colin Wyers (1:57:39 PM PT): And now thanks to Steven's comment, I have "Fly Me To The Moon" stuck in my head. The worst part is that it keeps wavering back and forth between Sinatra and a J-pop cover off the end credits of "Neon Genesis Evangelion."

Ben Lindbergh (1:57:40 PM PT): Speaking of tiny disturbing giraffes, let's not.

Steven Goldman (1:58:57 PM PT): Of course, though "Just One of Those Things" was one of Porter's best songs, he did not write the "gossamer wings" line. Some guy was looking over his shoulder and suggested it. Porter used it, and for the rest of his life that guy told anyone who would listen that he had collaborated with Porter on the song, to Porter's great annoyance.

Ben Lindbergh (2:00:24 PM PT): I like that you prefaced that anecdote with "Of course."

Steven Goldman (2:01:29 PM PT): I figured that story wouldn't be news to everyone.

Christina Kahrl (2:03:10 PM PT): So, with Bartlett, what are we talking about? Glove for sale? Appetizing young glove for sale? Glove that is fresh and still unspoilt?

Steven Goldman (2:04:21 PM PT): "Fly Me to the Moon" is a great example of a song written on demand for a Sinatra concept album. Sinatra would generally build those albums around previously extant songs, but he would commission something new for the title track. Not all of those songs were successful, but that one works.

Christina Kahrl (2:06:07 PM PT): So, the Rays are down, and have Shields on tap. If some where whining about the hating on Big Game James before, I expect the thermostat just got turned up a notch.

Steven Goldman (2:06:18 PM PT): As Christina comes in with another Porter reference to continue the unlikeliest baseball chat meme ever.

Brandon Warne (2:06:18 PM PT): "Paul (Drexel Hill): Gentlemen, prepare to watch the best pitcher of our generation work his magic. Sit back and enjoy."

Honest question, but how do we quantify our generation? Does this current generation include Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Roger Clemens?

Halladay is a good one, but he's definitely in their rear-view mirrors.

Christina Kahrl (2:07:11 PM PT): Amos Otis regrets, he's unable to lunch today.

Brandon Warne (2:08:26 PM PT): "Paul (Drexel Hill): Gentlemen, prepare to watch the best pitcher of our generation work his magic. Sit back and enjoy."

Honest question, but how do we quantify our generation? Does this current generation include Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Roger Clemens?

Halladay is a good one, but he's definitely in their rear-view mirrors.

Steven Goldman (2:08:48 PM PT): What I wonder about Shields is, how do you draw the line between a defense-independent ERA that is actually pretty good and all the other evidence that says he was hit really hard? Colin, you and I were just talking about the unreliability of line drive percentage, but his was really high, and even figuring that every scorer was drunk, given the way he was pounded and also the high home run total, there seems to be some evidence that the pounding was deserved, whatever the peripherals say.

Brandon Warne (2:08:50 PM PT): That's exactly what you want your leadoff hitter to do. Right?

Ben Lindbergh (2:08:58 PM PT): Steve, I wouldn't call it the unlikeliest meme in any chat you're a part of.

Jesse Behr (2:10:07 PM PT): In the famous words of Jason Parks, howdy! Just in time for some Phillies, Reds postseason baseball. Cincinnati in 5 - who's with me?!

Christina Kahrl (2:10:33 PM PT): Phillips and Cabrera against Doc... talk about a formula for a quick inning.

Steven Goldman (2:11:04 PM PT): Oh, good. Now you'll get to find out who is more special, Jesse, or an imaginary giraffe. My money is on the giraffe, but that's why they play the games.

Jesse Behr (2:11:46 PM PT): I'm more interested to see how Edison Volquez (4-3, 4.31 ERA) pitches this afternoon for the Reds than how Roy (21-10, 2.44) fares.

John Perrotto (2:11:57 PM PT): Jesse Behr has joined the party, hold on tight!

Brandon Warne (2:12:00 PM PT): Is there an official line to bet against, Steven?

Jesse Behr (2:12:25 PM PT): I think I can take the imaginary giraffe . . .

Jesse Behr (2:13:01 PM PT): I think I can take the imaginary giraffe . . .

Brandon Warne (2:13:30 PM PT): "Rick (Maplewood): Our generation includes Clemens post-steroids but not before, for what that's worth."

If this is the case, and I think it definitely is, then I firmly have the other pitchers ahead of Halladay.

David Laurila (2:14:35 PM PT): Dear Dusty Baker,

Do you want your team to score more runs? Move Phillips and Cabrera down in the order and put guys who can get on base in those spots. Actually, replacing Cabrera with Paul Janish would be a good idea, too. And are you familiar with a player named Ryan Hannigan? He should be in the lineup, hitting leadoff or second. As Joe Morgan might say, "He's not fast, but he's an intelligent baserunner."

Brandon Warne (2:14:50 PM PT): Jesse seems confident (double posting and all). I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Ben Lindbergh (2:16:19 PM PT): Big Hanigan fan.

Steven Goldman (2:19:11 PM PT): David, I agree with the basic sentiments, but perhaps not the specific examples. I suspect with Janish, the more exposure he gets the quicker he gets exposed. That seemed to happen as he geto more playing time in the second half. And whatever Dusty's faults, his catching rotation really worked this year. Reds backstops hit .296/.375/.429.

Christina Kahrl (2:19:29 PM PT): Which, with a tip of the cap to the completed Rays game, is an indication of how remarkable the Rays have been in good ways, with their reliance on Jaso up top against right-handers. Not that it'll start a "catchers atop the order" trend, even if it would help the Reds.

Brandon Warne (2:20:52 PM PT): Wouldn't mind if it meant Joe Mauer was leading off the the Twins, that's for sure.

Jesse Behr (2:20:53 PM PT): Alright, alright lay off. Special Assistant's should get the benefit of the doubt here. Notable pitches from Edison (Gameday Speeds): 94-97 MPH fastball, 82 MPH changeup, 78 MPH curveball . . . Shane Victorino's double on a 85 MPH change

Jesse Behr (2:20:55 PM PT): Alright, alright lay off. Special Assistant's should get the benefit of the doubt here. Notable pitches from Edison (Gameday Speeds): 94-97 MPH fastball, 82 MPH changeup, 78 MPH curveball . . . Shane Victorino's double on a 85 MPH change

Steven Goldman (2:21:48 PM PT): Christina, remember when Carlton Fisk had the big year batting second for the AL West-leading White Sox in '83? That didn't start a trend either...

Christina Kahrl (2:22:05 PM PT): Reds score, oh yes let them begin the beguine, make them play til the stars that were there before...

Christina Kahrl (2:22:32 PM PT): Nor did Brian Downing leading off for the Rangers.

Ben Lindbergh (2:22:45 PM PT): Bruce made that a lot closer than I'd expected. I fear that ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down" might already be stuck in Steve's head.

Brandon Warne (2:22:58 PM PT): "Jim (West Orange): If I recall correctly, I believe our generation began in early 2000's. So it would be past the prime of Clemens, Maddux and Pedro."

That makes it a lot tougher to decide. Then, I'd believe Santana, Halladay, and Oswalt would be among the top, with Halladay atop that list.

John Perrotto (2:23:35 PM PT): Jesse, why are you repeating yourself? Jesse, why are you repeating yourself?

Brandon Warne (2:24:10 PM PT): He told me it was for effect. Or because his computer was doing it automatically. I can't remember which.

Steven Goldman (2:24:10 PM PT): Jesse, as special assistant, get out to New Jersey and bring me some coffee.

Christina Kahrl (2:24:51 PM PT): Hitting the ball at Jonny Gomes usually involves happy outcomes, but there wasn't much anybody could have done with that one.

John Perrotto (2:25:06 PM PT): This has baffled me for quite some time: Why isn't Edinson Volquez's first name pronounced ed-EEN-son instead of ED-in-son?

Steven Goldman (2:25:36 PM PT): Every time someone says "Special Assistant," I think, "Like Clyde Tolson was for J. Edgar Hoover?"

John Perrotto (2:25:48 PM PT): Was he named for the inventor of the lightbulb, Thomas Edinson.

Jesse Behr (2:26:30 PM PT): FYI, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes, Jay Bruce combined 3-for-19 against Roy during the regular season.

Brandon Warne (2:26:32 PM PT): Agreed Christina. The Rays did a good job of casting off their awful fielding OF. *cough* Delmon Young *cough*

Christina Kahrl (2:26:57 PM PT): Now now. Mr. Tolson was very special, for a very long time.

John Perrotto (2:27:09 PM PT): Jesse, tell everyone why you're a Special Assistant instead of an intern. A reader asked why earlier. And try to do it without repeating yourself, without repeating yourself.

Ben Lindbergh (2:27:14 PM PT): Not sure if it's my surround sound or what, but contact sounds very strange in this game. Like twigs snapping.

Brandon Warne (2:28:08 PM PT): Noted that too Ben. Or like the ball hits the bat 3 times.

Jesse Behr (2:29:02 PM PT): Cream or half-and-half milk in your coffee?

Brandon Warne (2:30:06 PM PT): People have often cited Halladay to me as a pitcher who can get by while pitching to contact (while ignoring his near 7 career K/9 rate). With movement like this, it's not hard to see why nobody gets consistent contact against him.

Brandon Warne (2:32:29 PM PT): Got rid of those hiccups, Jesse?

Christina Kahrl (2:32:55 PM PT): Am I alone in wondering if, thanks to Doc, we wind up with a big window of studio time between the second and third games?

Brandon Warne (2:33:50 PM PT): No. We should also thank Phillips and Cabrera, too.

Brandon Warne (2:35:33 PM PT): "walzer (la crosse): why is tolbert on our post season roster??"

Good question from one of my amateur baseball teammates. Not really sure. He is at best the team's fourth best option at 2B and SS, and provides nearly nothing with the bat. Perhaps he's only there for situational bunt, but even then who would he hit for?

Christina Kahrl (2:36:05 PM PT): walzer (la crosse): why is tolbert on our post season roster?

Catbert insisted in his capacity as HR director? Casilla, Punto, and Tolbert provides a certain amount of futility infielder redundancy.

Jesse Behr (2:38:40 PM PT): I'll start by saying I'M NOT the punching bag for our staff here, though this chat may not show that . . . Basically, with the whole "Special Assistant" title, I have a very unique situation. I'm studying as a freshman at Syracuse University in the Sport Management department. Since I spend a good amount of time working with these nuts (kidding!) during the week, I asked my lead professors if I could earn credits for my work at BP. To make a long story short, the title of “Special Assistant” was awarded to me to so I could concentrate on specific tasks with Prospectus rather than carry a broader title of being called an intern (not that that's a bad thing). Now, I can take those three credits and cure world hunger . . .

Jesse Behr (2:41:29 PM PT): And also, starting in the spring semester, I'll be conducting a research paper on small-market teams in Major League baseball over the past 20 years. The work for that will also go towards those credits. College, it's not just parties, people! Kevin Goldstein doesn't quite understand the concept.

Jay Jaffe (2:41:53 PM PT): Mike (Cleveland): How badly did the Rays damage their chances today?

According to numbers I got from Some Guy on Twitter (but haven't vetted myself), only 8 out of 28 home teams which lost Division Series Game 1 went on to win the series. Four of those were Yankees (1996, 2001, 2003, 2004), plus the 1998 Indians, 1999 Braves and 2005 Angels.

So without considering the matchups, yes, that's a dent in their plans.

Jesse Behr (2:43:36 PM PT): Oh Orlando Cabrera! Your fielding woes amaze me . . .

Ben Lindbergh (2:44:50 PM PT): Well, I guess that's a reminder that those flip plays around the bag are far from automatic. And also that official scorers make some interesting decisions.

Brandon Warne (2:44:51 PM PT): I believe Cabrera hails from "Land of Diminishing Range."

Ben Lindbergh (2:45:39 PM PT): Good to see that Chase Utley's hair gel is in peak postseason form.

Christina Kahrl (2:46:01 PM PT): What was that about hitting it at Gomes? "What is this thing called glove/this funny thing called glove/just who can solve its mystery/why should it make a fool of me?"

Jay Jaffe (2:46:08 PM PT): If Charles M. Schulz were still with us, he'd be charged with making a cartoon about the playoffs: "It's a Short Series, Charlie Brown."

Christina Kahrl (2:47:25 PM PT): Rock on, Dusty, he's got Wood up already. I figured his kind of fallback options made for quick hooks, here's hoping he can control the damage.

Christina Kahrl (2:49:14 PM PT): With Volquez topping 30 pitches in the inning, cue up a reference to Eric's work on the dangerous territory that involves...

Jesse Behr (2:50:07 PM PT): 48 pitches, 27 strikes, 21 balls (2 BB) thru 2.2 IP for ed-EEN-son Volquez. But the man has dreadlocks!

Brandon Warne (2:50:48 PM PT): I think he's personifying DREADlocks today.

Christina Kahrl (2:50:49 PM PT): Bottom of the second, not the third, Jesse.

Jesse Behr (2:51:50 PM PT): Volquez has a career 17.78 ERA with the bases-loaded . . .

Steven Goldman (2:52:30 PM PT): In the old days of BP, Gary would have taken your head off for a mistake like that.

Jesse Behr (2:52:38 PM PT): *1.2 IP, the NL Central in me was hoping it was the third!

Colin Wyers (2:52:45 PM PT): It's been a bit overtaken by events, but the Reds-Phillies PECOTA projected odds are available now:


Now I shall resume crunching numbers for Yankees-Twins. This shouldn't take nearly as long, as I no longer have to do so much of the work myself, and have almost all of the process automated.

Christina Kahrl (2:53:15 PM PT): Doc works fast, but not *that* fast. ;-)

Jesse Behr (2:53:30 PM PT): *1.2 IP, the NL Central in me was hoping it was the third!

Jay Jaffe (2:53:30 PM PT): DLaRoss (Milford, DE): Christina should trademark "futility infielder" right now.

Beat her to it. That's been my website since 2001: http://www.futilityinfielder.com

Jesse Behr (2:54:31 PM PT): *1.2 IP, the NL Central in me was hoping it was the third!

Steven Goldman (2:54:58 PM PT): Can we concede that Halladay isn't going to blow this kind of lead and bring on the Yankees?

Christina Kahrl (2:55:21 PM PT): Damned straight. My weak contribution to Jay's wonderful neologism is FIFI, or an as-yet unquantified attempt to measure futility infielder futility. Wilson Valdez would be one of its heroes, I'm sure.

David Laurila (2:55:26 PM PT): Rough outing for Volquez. Lots of baseball game left, though.

Jesse Behr (2:56:49 PM PT): It's only Game 1, it's only Game 1 - keep telling yourself that, Dusty. 4 H, 4 ER, and 2 BB for Edinson Volquez. He retired just 5 batters. Yikes.

Jay Jaffe (2:57:45 PM PT): Bob (Cleveland): Re: Charlie Brown - 1897 Indians forevar!

Those are actually the 1897 Cleveland Spiders, who two years later would set a standard for futility that's never been matched by going 20-134. Of course it helped that they sold off all their stars and were so poorly attended that other NL teams refused to travel to play them, so they played only 42 home games, and just eight out of their last 93.

Christina Kahrl (2:58:37 PM PT): You can imagine what the season-ticket holders thought of that.

Ben Lindbergh (2:59:19 PM PT): Now raindrops are hitting the TBS microphones. Sounds like it's raining at selected points of my living room.

Jay Jaffe (3:01:29 PM PT): All three of them were right pissed.

Actually, I have to wonder when the the first season tickets were offered and by who.

What I didn't point out above is that the Spiders essentially sold their stars to another team owned by the same owners in the same league, and then transferred to the more promising locale, in this case St. Louis, where they soon became the Cardinals. Such were the hazards of 19th century baseball.

Steven Goldman (3:01:30 PM PT): It wasn't that the Spiders sold them off, Jay, it's that the owner transferred them to his OTHER team, the St. Louis Cardinals. It wasn't unlike the Yankees-A's thing in the 1950s.

Steven Goldman (3:02:48 PM PT): Syndicate baseball, they called it, and it kept coming up well into the 20th century, such as when Tris Speaker mysteriously went from the Red Sox to the Indians, a team in which AL prexy Ban Johnson had a financial interest.

Jesse Behr (3:03:44 PM PT): I don't know about y'all, but I prefer Doc HOlliday - http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/doc_holliday_1851-1887.jpg

Kevin Goldstein (3:04:31 PM PT): Well folks, if you are sick of the announcers, or just in the mood for some audio gold, now would be a good time to download the just released Episode 20 of the podcast. A special Post-season Preview Podcast with Jay Jaffe, Christina Kahrl, Ben Lingbergh, Tommy Bennett, Colin Wyers and Ike Barinholtz from Mad TV bringing the funny. Go get it at:


and I'll be back after starting dinner.

Tommy Bennett (3:05:12 PM PT): I talk about beards!

Steven Goldman (3:05:32 PM PT): The new Yankees owners (Colonel Ruppert and Colonel Huston) had been promised a chance to build up their roster as part of buying the club, so when Speaker was "traded," they were shouting, "Hey, hey! Why weren't we allowed to bid on that guy?" That incident and others put the Yankees in the implacable anti-Johnson camp and eventually led to his downfall.

Christina Kahrl (3:08:00 PM PT): The perils of 19th century baseball? Hah, I laugh at you and your blind eye re: Arnold Johnson. Or the fate of the disassembled and eventually dispatched Expos. Syndicalism never left the game, the game just got more clever about how to handle it when it cropped up.

Colin Wyers (3:08:51 PM PT): Continuing coverage of Postseason.tv - it works. It would be nicer to have the full broadcast feeds in addition to what we're getting but I'll take it. I just need to remember not to switch cameras during an inning and I'll be fine.

Notably, my Droid (by which I mean the original Motorola Droid) is not supported for live video off Postseason.tv. The Droid Incredible is, but I don't see myself changing phones on that account. This is mildly irksome.

Ben Lindbergh (3:09:03 PM PT): Hey, the autolinker doesn't recognize "Lingbergh."

Christina Kahrl (3:09:35 PM PT): What, KG and the Perfessor bearded you in your den, Tommy? As is, gotta figure you never leave home without it.

Steven Goldman (3:09:51 PM PT): Hey, I brought up Arnold Johnson. But your point is well made.

Jesse Behr (3:10:09 PM PT): Look at Travis Wood go! Mixing in low-90s fastballs with a mid-80s cutter to strike out Ryan Howard.

Tommy Bennett (3:11:37 PM PT): No spoilers, but I'll just say that I think the Giants' bullpen are a bunch of hirsute Johnny-come-latelys, and that's you've got to earn your stripes.

Jesse Behr (3:11:42 PM PT): Look at Travis Wood go! Mixing in low-90s fastballs with a mid-80s cutter to strike out Ryan Howard.

Christina Kahrl (3:11:55 PM PT): Just another reason to discount competitive balance during the so-called "golden years." The childhoods of the current reigning generation did not coincide with the greatest period of the game's history, no matter what Bob Costas says about it. Ibanez doubles...

Tommy Bennett (3:11:56 PM PT): No spoilers, but I'll just say that I think the Giants' bullpen are a bunch of hirsute Johnny-come-latelys, and that's you've got to earn your stripes.

Colin Wyers (3:14:03 PM PT): I dislike the intentional walk as much as the next guy, but don't the Phillies kind of bring this upon themselves by starting Valdez?

Steven Goldman (3:14:25 PM PT): Rocky: Here's a letter for you, Bullwinkle!

Bullwinkle: Wowee!

Rocky: Why so happy? You don't even know what's in the letter!

Bullwinkle: I know, but look at that stamp! A genuine picture of Lincoln-with a beard!

Rocky: You must be crazy about Lincoln.

Bullwinkle: No, I'm crazy about beards. What's the letter say?

Rocky: It's from Washington.

Bullwinkle: Washington? Do you suppose he heard I was a Lincoln fan?

Rocky: Bullwinkle -

Bullwinkle: I'd be a Washington fan too if he had a beard!

Rocky: This is -

Bullwinkle: And Washington needs all the fans it can get this year!

Jesse Behr (3:14:45 PM PT): They do Colin, they so do.

Steven Goldman (3:15:46 PM PT): ted (the cubicle): @Christina - Great, so Dusty has just a little more urgency than he did 8 years ago

That can happen to men of Dusty's age. You reach a certain point and the next thing you know you're getting up three times a night.

David Laurila (3:16:21 PM PT): My season-opening prediction that Jay Bruce would be the NL MVP this year was admittedly insane, but I do think the kid is going to be a magastar soon.

On a related note, kudos to the reader who responded to that prediction by saying he felt Joey Votto had a legitimate shot at the MVP.

Tommy Bennett (3:16:33 PM PT): Colin, I think the decision to start Valdez was one of necessity as much as anything else. The alternative, to start Greg Dobbs, isn't much better.

Christina Kahrl (3:16:45 PM PT): "Everybody was there, I mean everybody. There was Tommy the Fuzz, and Perfesser Goldman, not to be confused with Perfesser Parks, and El Jaffe, and Jesse Two-Times, who got that nickname because he said everything twice, like 'gotta check out that cutter, check out that cutter.'"

Ben Lindbergh (3:17:05 PM PT): That's what the TBS original show "Men of a Certain Age" is about, right?

Colin Wyers (3:18:00 PM PT): Sure. I was mostly responding to the booing from the crowd when the IBB was put on.

Tommy Bennett (3:18:43 PM PT): Christina, when the podcast burns to the ground we'll know where to tell the insurance company to start looking

Tommy Bennett (3:20:01 PM PT): I guess it isn't so necessary to say, because I mean just look at it, but I really think the 2010 vintage of Halladay's change is the best one yet.

Colin Wyers (3:22:48 PM PT): "Rob in WI (Madison): Colin: What's the monetary damage on Playoff.tv? Worth it so far?"

It runs ten bucks for all the playoffs. You can follow a game on it, not spectacularly well but you can do it. If you can't use a TV but you can use a computer it's probably a pretty good bargain if you want to follow the playoffs. I'm not unhappy with it so far - I mention the little complaints I have because they're meaningful but I don't think they outweigh the benefits.

Jesse Behr (3:23:53 PM PT): "Jesse Two-Times Behr" I didn't choose that nickname. Safari web browser and this chat roundtable aren't friends . . . Oh, and I heard this guy Halladay was pretty good. Perfect (yeah, I said it!) thus far.

Jesse Behr (3:25:39 PM PT): If only Dusty Baker taught a philosophy class . . .

Tommy Bennett (3:25:48 PM PT): Mike Fast (Austin, TX): Tommy, Halladay changed to a splitter in 2010 from a circle changeup in prior years. (See comments to this article, with photo links: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/the-palm-ball/)

The ever-knowledgeable Mike Fast with the assist. Thanks.

Christina Kahrl (3:26:08 PM PT): The best nicknames are always awarded. You don't want to be the Schofield Kid in these things.

Steven Goldman (3:28:05 PM PT): Love that movie.

Tommy Bennett (3:28:21 PM PT): "faithdies (DE): Carlos Ruiz: underrated, overrated or just right?"

He had the third-highest TAv of all catchers with 300+ PAs this year. I think he's regarded as somewhat worse than that.

Ben Lindbergh (3:28:31 PM PT): Did Jimmy Rollins guarantee anything in this series, or has he given that up?

Christina Kahrl (3:28:44 PM PT): Away from the podcast, Perfesser Parks, KG, and I jabbered about how well we though Stubbs might do in this series. Kevin and I both came down on the "one-fer-the-series, with a homer and a bunch of highlight reel plays." Not that running down Rollins' long fly was all that dramatic. Or that the podcast has a director's cut. ;-)

Colin Wyers (3:29:05 PM PT): Christina's remark reminds me of something William Goldman wrote, about earning nicknames. If you care about storytelling, "Which Lie Did I Tell?" is a great book (as is its predecessor, "Adventures In The Screen Trade.")

Brandon Warne (3:29:43 PM PT): Hey two-timer, here's an idea. Wait to post until you have two ideas. Then, go back and edit the second post of your original thought with your second idea.


Kevin Goldstein (3:31:34 PM PT): For the record, El Majico (The Professor) took Stubbs as his surprise player for the series. So are we going to get an actual good game today?

Ben Lindbergh (3:32:52 PM PT): Halladay's superimposition against the CGI ad behind home plate makes him look like someone falling against a fake background in a Hitchcock movie.

Jesse Behr (3:33:42 PM PT): Maybe I should take a Brandon Warne philosophy class . . .

Tommy Bennett (3:33:54 PM PT): The way that called strike three tailed back over the plate is just terrific fun to watch.

Steven Goldman (3:33:56 PM PT): I second Colin's endorsement of the two books by my Uncle Bill.

Kevin Goldstein (3:34:46 PM PT): I'm guessing the Rich DuBee's 'coaching' of Roy Halladay pretty much consists of, "Go get 'em, Tiger."

Ben Lindbergh (3:34:47 PM PT): If Halladay keeps this up, this game might be narrated by Bob Costas someday.

Christina Kahrl (3:37:06 PM PT): "Though he didn't play with Mickey or the Duke, Doc Halladay redeemed himself by appearing within my lifetime to pitch a game that will long be remembered on the banks of the Schuylkill..."

Tommy Bennett (3:37:47 PM PT): Roy Halladay allowed just 29 unintentional walks in over 250 IP this year. I don't have any analysis to add, I just wanted to note that.

Kevin Goldstein (3:39:27 PM PT): Is this Firestone ad and old recording of Johnny Cash or just a very good impression? The latter, right?

Ben Lindbergh (3:40:22 PM PT): Cliff Lee scoffs at that kind of control (and in the NL, to boot), but yeah, not too shabby.

Steven Goldman (3:40:46 PM PT): I have an old Yankees history video in which Bob was awkwardly dubbed over footage of the '61 series. He is pretty much restricted to spitting out names over quick-cuts of home runs being hit, like a Tourettes sufferer with a baseball fixation. "Mantle! Maris! Mantle! Mantle! Maris."

Jesse Behr (3:41:43 PM PT): Definitely an impression. Just listen to his last song, a Nine Inch Nails cover, Hurt. Also try not to cry.

Tommy Bennett (3:42:55 PM PT): When Lee left the Mariners, he actually had more wins than walks. As it was, he finished with 12 wins and 16 UBBs.

Ben Lindbergh (3:43:46 PM PT): Just got an email about a Bob Dylan ticket presale. Nice to see him in person once, but as the Beatles song, "Not a second time."

Christina Kahrl (3:43:49 PM PT): He should have gotten himself traded to someplace with better run support. (kidding, kidding)

Kevin Goldstein (3:44:15 PM PT): That was the end of his career when his voice was shot. I don't know if you college kids are aware of this, but Cash had a decades-long career as a country bad ass when he didn't always sound like that.

Steven Goldman (3:44:36 PM PT): On those Mohegan Sun commercials, where other people are singing parody lyrics to "My Sharona," I'm pretty sure that's not actually The Knack.

Brandon Warne (3:44:54 PM PT): Carlos Silva had the same amount of wins and walks in 2005. I do not have a joke for that.

Jesse Behr (3:45:05 PM PT): Damn that 11 MPH Philly wind! Two fly balls Utley, Howard knocked down by mother nature.

Jesse Behr (3:45:05 PM PT): Damn that 11 MPH Philly wind! Two fly balls Utley, Howard knocked down by mother nature.

Steven Goldman (3:45:08 PM PT): Where at for Bob, Colonel?

Colin Wyers (3:46:00 PM PT): Speaking of Carlos Silva and wins - can anyone guess who was second in wins on the Cubs in 2010?

Ben Lindbergh (3:46:18 PM PT): *sang

Werth's beard would be just a few days away from Bill Cody's, if he chose to go that route.

Christina Kahrl (3:46:33 PM PT): I'm pretty sure Nixon accused Mother Nature of being a Red.

Jay Jaffe (3:47:14 PM PT): I saw Bob Dylan backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Dallas in 1985 when I was 15 and it kicked ass. Haven't seen him since, though.

Brandon Warne (3:47:53 PM PT): I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the last year or two at the Target Center. It also kicked ass.

Ben Lindbergh (3:48:35 PM PT): Bob will be croaking at GWU in November. Might be coming closer, but he'd have to be playing next door for free to entice me.

Jesse Behr (3:49:10 PM PT): It's the sticky space bar? I don't know, I'm on my third browser! Macintosh, how could you do this to me? (Oh, this goes along with the whole "Special" Assistant thing . . . )

Brandon Warne (3:49:30 PM PT): dianagramr (NYC): to borrow a podcast catchphrase, "so what are you all drinking?"

Pepsi here.

Ben Lindbergh (3:50:06 PM PT): Rob (Bayonne): You jinxed him, Ben!

You don't think Costas would deign to narrate a no-hitter?

Jeff Euston (3:50:19 PM PT): You'd go see Ruth play a second time if you could. Go see Dylan again.

Ben Lindbergh (3:50:22 PM PT): dianagramr (NYC): to borrow a podcast catchphrase, "so what are you all drinking?"

Chicken soup with rice.

Steven Goldman (3:50:31 PM PT): Chili.

Bob is in NYC in November, also Atlantic City.

Jesse Behr (3:51:15 PM PT): Brandon, were you singing American Girl out loud or just to yourself? And I'm drinking a cool, crisp G2 Gatorade Glazier Freeze.

Christina Kahrl (3:52:01 PM PT): Hrm... a glass of merlot would go nicely with the chorizo tacos Charley just brought home.

Ben Lindbergh (3:53:50 PM PT): But would I go see Ruth play for the Boston Braves? Well, maybe. But I got the "Okay, now I can say that I saw him" out of the way the first time.

Ben Lindbergh (3:54:23 PM PT): Halladay is drinking the life force of the Reds.

Brandon Warne (3:55:28 PM PT): Just to myself, thank you.

Steven Goldman (3:55:35 PM PT): Tight end ran the wrong pattern on that pass.

Brandon Warne (3:55:48 PM PT): PFP. *shudder*

Colin Wyers (3:55:54 PM PT): "John (Ellington): Can one of you math majors calculate the odds of Halladay finishing the no-hitter?"

Very quick and dirty estimate is about 5% chance.

Steven Goldman (3:55:58 PM PT): Ben is denigrating Bob because he's never been a true believer.

Tommy Bennett (3:56:03 PM PT): Logan Ondrusek is from Shiner, Texas, where they make a delicious cheap beer. Connected to his throwing error? You decide.

Jesse Behr (3:56:26 PM PT): Ondrusek, they don't make mistakes like that in Shiner, Texas!

Steven Goldman (3:57:54 PM PT): I think this Phillies run is going to be a testament to the idea that sometimes good teams happen to bad GMs.

Jay Jaffe (3:59:29 PM PT): Steve (Philadelphia): Phillies 8th on the BP Hit List? I don't get it. BP had the Braves rated ahead of the Phillies very late into the season too. Does BP hate the Phillies or Philadelphia for some reason?

There's no extra hatred being delivered, it's just that the Phillies rank eighth once the numbers are crunched. What you're seeing is based on objective formulas from our Pythagorean suite at the Adjusted Standings page (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/standings.php), with an additional league adjustment based upon AL/NL interleague results which show that even the top 20 percent of NL teams win significantly under 50 percent of the time against AL teams. AL teams are adjusted upwards by 25 points and NL teams down 21 to account for a level of strength akin to the AL's ~56% winning percentage over a range of three years.

On the topic of the Phillies-Braves, a lot had to do with differing results in one-run games and the expectation that that tends to regress. I meant to write more about it somewhere, but it wound up in the comments.

Brandon Warne (3:59:40 PM PT): Sandwich lady scares me, for the record.

Jesse Behr (3:59:54 PM PT): And visa versa, Steve?

Steven Goldman (4:02:00 PM PT): Jack Z would like to think so.

T/F: A no-hitter here would lock Halliday's HOF case.

Jesse Behr (4:02:00 PM PT): Err . . . bad organizations?

Christina Kahrl (4:03:58 PM PT): GBSimons (Boise, ID): Christina, where's that Unfiltered playoff roster post you mentioned?



Steven Goldman (4:04:55 PM PT): The truly amazing thing about Halladay is the breakdown he had in 2000, when he was sent down and his mechanics overhauled. How many pitchers come back from that at all, let alone come back to become a perennial All-Star and Cy Young winner>

Kevin Goldstein (4:07:11 PM PT): Steven. Somewhere around one.

Brandon Warne (4:07:57 PM PT): Not the same, but he and Carpenter both had really strange trips to where they got today.

Tommy Bennett (4:08:09 PM PT): My favorite thing about Roy Halladay's resurrection is that I once read he did some exhibition pitching in Europe, and he said the umps there had no understanding of the balk rule. Apparently he got called for a balk three times in the same inning.

Steven Goldman (4:08:17 PM PT): Arguably, Scherzer kind of did this year, but he wasn't nearly as far gone.

Brandon Warne (4:09:10 PM PT): I bet none of those umps were that dadgum Joe West, either.

Kevin Goldstein (4:09:36 PM PT): That K pitch on Rolen was ridiculous.

Colin Wyers (4:10:21 PM PT): That inning more than doubles the chance of a no-hitter, by my count.

Jesse Behr (4:11:27 PM PT): ROYdiculous . . .

Ben Lindbergh (4:12:24 PM PT): I'm all for online shopping, but suits?

Kevin Goldstein (4:13:57 PM PT): "Roy Halladay You Are The Man"

That's the best you can do make-a-sign lady?

Brandon Warne (4:14:55 PM PT): Reminds me of the gawd-awful signs Lodi used to make from the WCW. (Yeah, yeah, I was a big pro wrestling fan.)

Steven Goldman (4:17:55 PM PT): Brandon, you will observe that a confession like that can just stop a party dead.

Kevin Goldstein (4:18:24 PM PT): Rob (Morton): For the record, the "you are the man" sign is because of Harry Kalas. He used that phrase for Chase Utley, though.

Sorry make-a-sign lady.

Brandon Warne (4:19:17 PM PT): Remember when Bill Bray and Gary Majewski was a paltry return for Austin Kearns? Those were the days....

Brandon Warne (4:19:40 PM PT): For about 3 minutes there, I thought it had.

*runs in shame*

Kevin Goldstein (4:22:35 PM PT): I remember when Bill Bray was the cost-effective first-round pick in one of the last Expos draft. I remember him closing out wins for William & Mary's best starter, Chris Ray.

Steven Goldman (4:23:34 PM PT): I am looking forward to a Phillies player named, oh, Ralph Kafka, who gets a sign that says, "You are the Mantis."

Jesse Behr (4:25:45 PM PT): The Doc's going to get it, isn't he?

Steven Goldman (4:25:53 PM PT): This game actually has me nervous.

Jeff Euston (4:26:38 PM PT): This isn't fair.

Jay Jaffe (4:26:46 PM PT): Jay (Brooklyn): Is this thing on?

Oh, it's ON.

Kevin Goldstein (4:27:27 PM PT): Scout quotes via IM

"look at the swings taken on Doc's 92-93 vs Volquez' 95-97"

"not the most gorgeous arm action but the life and movement are stellar"

Kevin Goldstein (4:27:46 PM PT): Can we get updated odds w/ three outs to go?

Brandon Warne (4:28:19 PM PT): I can't remember ever seeing Halladay with this video game type movement. He is very sharp, even on 9 days rest.

Colin Wyers (4:28:32 PM PT): About 40%.

Jesse Behr (4:30:45 PM PT): You know, Zach Duke and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Roy Halladay earlier this year . . . That makes me happy and a little disturbed.

Brandon Warne (4:31:21 PM PT): Rich Harden gets the DFA. Not sure if I should laugh about the timing on that.

Steven Goldman (4:34:42 PM PT): collins (greenville nc): Steven, Wasn't Gregor Samsa a cockroach, not a mantis?

You have to work with me here, Collins.

Kevin Goldstein (4:34:50 PM PT): And here we go

Jesse Behr (4:36:01 PM PT): Has this not been said already? Cardinals will exercise Albert Pujols' $16 million option for 2011.

Steven Goldman (4:37:26 PM PT): Can we keep our eye on the ball here? Screw Pujols right now.

Brandon Warne (4:38:29 PM PT): 2 more.

Jesse Behr (4:38:30 PM PT): All I'm saying is if Pujols was on the Reds . . . (that was a stretch) TWO MORE OUTS!

Steven Goldman (4:40:05 PM PT): Think any of the umps are thinking about what happened with Galaragga?

Brandon Warne (4:40:20 PM PT): I really want Cabrera to be the last out.

Steven Goldman (4:40:27 PM PT): "I could look like a chump on national TV, set my profession back 20 years."

Steven Goldman (4:40:46 PM PT): "Better give a little on the close calls."

Kevin Goldstein (4:41:06 PM PT): Utter clinic. Best first pitches in every at-bat I think I've ever seen. One out to go.

Jesse Behr (4:41:26 PM PT): Here we go. We're an out away from history.

Ben Lindbergh (4:41:32 PM PT): Wow. Totally thought Miguel Cairo would spoil this.

Steven Goldman (4:41:43 PM PT): I'm more nervous than a baby on circumcision day.

Brandon Warne (4:42:29 PM PT): INSANITY.

Steven Goldman (4:42:34 PM PT): Holy Moly!

Ben Lindbergh (4:42:40 PM PT): Amazing. The last play had me nervous.

Jay Jaffe (4:42:45 PM PT): Wow!

Steven Goldman (4:42:52 PM PT): History!

Kevin Goldstein (4:43:02 PM PT): I totally thought that play was going to get screwed up. WOW.

Jesse Behr (4:43:04 PM PT): Goldman, you stole my line! HOLY MOLY!

Brandon Warne (4:43:08 PM PT): Am I wrong, or did the bat hit the ball again? I think that would have been an automatic out anyway, right?

Jesse Behr (4:43:21 PM PT): "The ace of aces."

Steph Bee (4:43:23 PM PT): Well, I think that'll put to rest any speculation that Halladay may not be able to pitch in the postseason.

And good afternoon to everyone!

Jay Jaffe (4:43:34 PM PT): That was just spectacular.

Colin Wyers (4:43:41 PM PT): Afternoon? We like to call this "evening."

Kevin Goldstein (4:43:44 PM PT): Predicted Charlie Manuel quote in post-game presser. "Roy was like . . . well he's real good."

Steven Goldman (4:44:01 PM PT): Any BBWAA guys that didn't list him first on their Cy ballots are cursing themselves now.

Colin Wyers (4:44:06 PM PT): So that was fun. Let's do it again!

Jay Jaffe (4:44:09 PM PT): Not sure if it's the best start of his career if he had a perfect game, TV guy.

Jesse Behr (4:44:44 PM PT): This is Roy Halladay's postseason debut. I still can't get over that.

Steven Goldman (4:44:54 PM PT): Jesse, I'm the pro here. I don't steal YOUR lines, I write the lines that YOU wish you thought of.

Tommy Bennett (4:45:26 PM PT): To paraphrase Bill James,

Roy Halladay: 100% ballplayer, 0% bullshit.

Steph Bee (4:45:43 PM PT): Ah, but that is the beauty of living in California.

Unbefreakinlievable way to introduce yourself to the national stage.

Ben Lindbergh (4:45:43 PM PT): Sub-replacement postgame interview.

John Perrotto (4:46:52 PM PT): What a great opening question from TV foof: I guess everything was working for you tonight. It took the idiot until the sixth question to ask what it felt like to be only the second pitcher to throw a no-hitter in a post-season game.

Kevin Goldstein (4:47:00 PM PT): So am I getting greedy for hoping that we get an actual good GAME today?

Jesse Behr (4:47:08 PM PT): You win this time, Goldman!

Steven Goldman (4:47:42 PM PT): Can your heart take the stress?

Brandon Warne (4:47:44 PM PT): Stick to hoops, David Aldridge.

John Perrotto (4:47:45 PM PT): Can we just bring back Vin Scully, Joe Garagiola, Bob Costas and Tony Kubek and put all the post-season games back on NBC?

Steven Goldman (4:48:30 PM PT): "Tonight from Minnesota, we bring you the Yankees-Twins anticlimax."

Jesse Behr (4:50:27 PM PT): Go Cincinnati? Chances the Reds DO NOT get swept . . .

Kevin Goldstein (4:50:52 PM PT): Halladay almost immeasurably taller than Ken Rosenthal on MLB Network right now.

Steven Goldman (4:51:48 PM PT): Looking at Halladay, I realize he has to pitch again this postseason. How the hell do you live up to expectations at that point? I'm reminded of Samuel Goldwyn, who was talking to Richard Rodgers after the amazing success of "Oklahoma" on Broadway. "You know what I'd do next if I was you?" he asked. "I'd kill myself."

John Perrotto (4:52:24 PM PT): I'm glad I voted Halladay first on my NL Cy Young ballot, though it really didn't take much thought. He was clearly the best pitcher in the NL when it was all added up.

John Perrotto (4:53:44 PM PT): As much as I love Ken Rosenthal, everyone but jockeys look immeasurably taller next to him.

Ben Lindbergh (4:55:51 PM PT): So how come PECOTA didn't call that no-hitter? Explain yourself, Colin!

Steven Goldman (4:56:16 PM PT): I know the rule about the batter being out if he hits the ball twice, but what's the ruling if the batter's dropped bat deflects the ball away from the fielder?

John Perrotto (4:56:35 PM PT): This makes the Rangers claiming Ryan Tucker off waivers rather trivial now, huh?

John Perrotto (4:57:18 PM PT): But it was still quite a day for the Rangers. A win in Game 1 AND Ryan Tucker.

Kevin Goldstein (4:57:34 PM PT): Charlie Manuel post-game presser on MLBN. Can't miss TV. He's said 'good' 6x already.

Ben Lindbergh (4:59:42 PM PT): Hey, TBS already dubbed dramatic, uplifting music over the replays.

Steven Goldman (5:02:23 PM PT): Just looking at the replay again, the bat doesn't usually get dropped in fair territory.

John Perrotto (5:02:45 PM PT): Roy. He, well, like, Roy, you know, like he pitched real good tonight.

Eric Seidman (5:03:01 PM PT): I don't know if this has been tackled, but what would have happened if Ruiz couldn't have gotten to the ball because of the bat? Or if the bat happened to push the ball?

Steven Goldman (5:04:23 PM PT): Answering my own question, and Eric's, from the rule book:

If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play.

John Perrotto (5:04:49 PM PT): I also listened to the Phillies' radio feed and props to the very underrated Scott Franzke. He didn't shy away from saying Halladay had a no-hitter going in the late innings, made the call of the final out with proper enthusiasm without going overboard then didn't try to walk all over the moment. A job well done.

Eric Seidman (5:05:07 PM PT): Charlie Manuel's post-game pressers are always classic. He usually starts off by regurgitating the box score.

"Well, like, Blanton, you know, pitched well. 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts. Jimmy went 2-4. Ryan hit a double. Questions?"

Steven Goldman (5:05:09 PM PT): That's rule 6.05(h). As Doug Harvey used to say, "Please, folks, look it up."

Steven Goldman (5:08:27 PM PT): dpratola (not Philly): Manuel in presser: "Just sat there watching.... Pretty good managing." [laughter]

Casey Stengel once said the same thing after his team was no-hit by Paul Dean and shut out by Dizzy Dean in the same doubleheader, essentially, "I know I didn't make any mistakes--I didn't get a chance to."

Kevin Goldstein (5:08:28 PM PT): Just got a breaking news email from the New York Times. They inform me that Roy Halladay has pitched a no-hitter.

Steven Goldman (5:09:19 PM PT): You know if you subscribe, you get the extra Sunday bits on Saturday? Between that and their Halladay coverage, I say pick up the phone and order a year.

Eric Seidman (5:09:31 PM PT): John P,

Most of us here in Philly have been clamoring for Franzke to be the TV guy since Harry Kalas's unfortunate passing.

Ben Lindbergh (5:15:01 PM PT): Maybe it's the makeup, but Eck looks remarkably well-preserved.

Steven Goldman (5:15:13 PM PT): As long as we have a down moment here, just picking up on this very important thread:

Peter (Kingston, ON): The german is very ambiguous, if I remember correctly the correct translation for what Samsa transformed into is something along the lines of "thing which is not worthy to be sacrificed". Definitely didn't specify cockroach.

Not speaking the German, I read it in English, and I recall the language being ambiguous. I didn't want to break away from Halladay to go get the book out of my library, natch.

Eric Seidman (5:17:53 PM PT): Ben,

Eckersley is the Assistant Vice President of the Steve Martin club I mentioned earlier.

Eric Seidman (5:18:11 PM PT): I love that Steve Martin autolinks when I type it. Does it work for Mel Brooks?

Steph Bee (5:19:17 PM PT): Just got my new copy of Sports Illustrated. David Price is on the cover. Something tells me they picked the wrong man...

Ben Lindbergh (5:21:52 PM PT): Love that David Wells unbuttoned the top button under his tie.

Ben Lindbergh (5:27:32 PM PT): Halladay faced 28 batters and threw 25 balls. Yikes.

Eric Seidman (5:28:47 PM PT): I just have to say, I almost cried after that final out. Baseball is such a fun sport and such a big part of our lives, and that Halladay performance was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.

Steven Goldman (5:31:18 PM PT): Eric, you're like a MASH-era Alan Alda of baseball.

Jesse Behr (5:32:30 PM PT): I agree with everything Eric said. Baseball's THE best.

Steven Goldman (5:33:10 PM PT): john collins (greenville nc): Yeah, Peter from Ontario called it. Kafka's creature is described as "ungeheuren Ungeziefer", which means "unclean animal unsuitable for sacrifice". Although it is often translated as cockroach, Kafka never said that, and lepidopterist Nabokov said it definitely wasn't one, from the description. He thought it was a beetle, and the maid calls Samsa a dungbeetle at some point in the story.

I always learn so much during these chats.

Steven Goldman (5:33:42 PM PT): I wasn't mocking. I would never mock with MASH-era Alan Alda.

Eric Seidman (5:35:26 PM PT): Yeah, well at least I name actors that get autolinked.

Steven Goldman (5:36:04 PM PT): Oh, not Craig Sager and his collection of Willy Wonka suits.

Eric Seidman (5:37:46 PM PT): How is Craig Sager employed? Like how do you apply for that job? He gets paid like 4 times what I do in order to ask 3 dumb questions and provide sideline analysis that one could get from a blogger on Twitter.

Steven Goldman (5:38:07 PM PT): Here's one for you, Eric: Turkey Mike Donlin. Johnny Beradino. Chuck Connors.

Steven Goldman (5:39:11 PM PT): OK, so I screwed up Johnny Berardino. The point stands, whatever it was.

Jesse Behr (5:39:48 PM PT): Derek "Old Man" Jeter.

Steven Goldman (5:44:17 PM PT): Kevin, how far over his head you think Danny Valencia was this year? How soon will the Twins be back to looking for a 3B?

Ben Lindbergh (5:44:45 PM PT): Nice: http://l.yimg.com/a/p/sp/tools/med/2010/10/ipt/1286409627.jpg

Eric Seidman (5:45:22 PM PT): I still cannot believe that former Phillies backup infielder Nick Punto has been a fairly integral part of the Twins these past few years.

Jesse Behr (5:46:57 PM PT): CC looks bigger than ever - I love it.

Ben Lindbergh (5:49:13 PM PT): Well, I guess Ron Gardenhire thinks CC's throwing a no-no from this inning on.

Jesse Behr (5:53:15 PM PT): Slick fielding from Robbie Cano. That was a nice, nice play.

Ben Lindbergh (5:53:16 PM PT): Still impresses me to see Cano range that far to his right.

John Perrotto (5:55:11 PM PT): PECOTA projection for this game has now been added to the site. Sorry for the delays. This is all a brand-new process for the three of us--Colin, Eric and myself--and we're working out some bugs as we go along. We have been waiting for the actual lineups to be posted before running the numbers. However, from a practical standpoint, we're going to have to project lineups from here on out. That shouldn't really change the projections very much.

Ben Lindbergh (5:55:40 PM PT): faithdies (DE): If you're a Yankee middle infielder it's not a good play unless you either spin and throw the ball or jump and throw it. Derek Jeter has taught me much...

Good point. I retract my compliment.

Ben Lindbergh (5:58:24 PM PT): Target Field has a Legends section with a moat to repel commoners, too?

Ben Lindbergh (6:02:07 PM PT): Adrenaline is apparently the biggest factor in every postseason game.

Ben Lindbergh (6:03:51 PM PT): Granderson at least looks like a batter against lefties these days.

Jesse Behr (6:04:09 PM PT): 90th postseason hit for Jorge Posada. Very cool.

Steven Goldman (6:05:01 PM PT): Ever have your parents call in the middle of a playoff game?

Ben Lindbergh (6:05:28 PM PT): Worse times than that.

Steven Goldman (6:06:26 PM PT): Oh yeah. Let's not go there.

Ben Lindbergh (6:09:22 PM PT): When they said that the crack of the bat "just had that sound," that's what they're talking about.

Steven Goldman (6:09:25 PM PT): That little fix on Granderson's swing has had really dramatic results, and you can see the difference if you look at side-by-side video of the old/new swing. Prior to the fix, he was flying out everywhere, body pulling away from the pitch. Now he quietly strides forward. The Yankees downplay the extent of the change, but this is an idea they've gotten a lot of mileage out of, also with Swisher and lately with Jeter--keep it simple, no wasted motion.

Christina Kahrl (6:09:28 PM PT): Cuddy's two-run jack, and maybe Goldstein's going to get his good game?

Dan Wade (6:09:58 PM PT): The Twins now have more HR in this postseason than they did in three games last year.

Steven Goldman (6:10:00 PM PT): I thought the Twins couldn't hit home runs in this building.

Colin Wyers (6:10:15 PM PT): I'd like to thank the Twins for rewarding PECOTA's faith in them right there.

Marc Normandin (6:10:52 PM PT): I feel like Thome willed Cuddyer to go deep there, since Sabathia cut his at-bat short with the HBP.

Jesse Behr (6:11:04 PM PT): Just when I was about to post Michael Cuddyer's .146 ISO during the regular season ... CC, Yanks already in 2-0 hole.

Ben Lindbergh (6:11:56 PM PT): I'm still at least a little skeptical. If Kevin Long really has that kind of touch, he should be making a lot more than $333,000. But the results have been impressive.

Steven Goldman (6:12:26 PM PT): Marc, I believe that's the Thome-as-Green Lantern Theory.

Steven Goldman (6:13:17 PM PT): Ben, I like his ideas a lot more than some Walt Hrniak helicopter stuff. It makes intuitive sense.

Marc Normandin (6:14:05 PM PT): Are you saying that Jim Jam *isn't* secretly the Green Lantern, Steve? I would like some evidence to counter this.

David Laurila (6:14:23 PM PT): Michael Cuddyer will work for ESPN some day. For now he is letting his bat do the talking.

Ben Lindbergh (6:15:32 PM PT): I think the reinvention of Swisher is the most convincing. He's just been a different hitter this season. Not that 2010 Swisher is markedly more productive than 2009 Swisher.

Steven Goldman (6:15:36 PM PT): Marc, has he been seen at his locker chanting, "In brightest day, in blackest night, no fastballs will escape my sight..."

Marc Normandin (6:16:02 PM PT): James Hardy was arguably the best shortstop in the American League this year, despite the time he missed. He's a great defender, and as good of a hitter as any other AL shortstop.

On the latter point, that means he's a league average hitter. But the D, oh man, the D. The Brewers missed Hardy this year.

Steven Goldman (6:16:07 PM PT): You're right about that, Ben. He gained some average and lost some walks.

Ben Lindbergh (6:17:54 PM PT): Which probably makes him a more popular player, if anything.

Dan Wade (6:19:20 PM PT): Seems worth noting that the Twins held leads in all three of last year's games before coughing them up. We'll see if this one holds.

Ben Lindbergh (6:20:08 PM PT): Wonder how bad Jeter'd have to have been not to hit at the top of the order in a playoff game.

Marc Normandin (6:21:03 PM PT): He would have to be dead, Ben. And even then, if they could prop him up they might still try it.

David Laurila (6:21:06 PM PT): FWIW: Nine players in tonight's starting lineup have been Prospectus Q&As, as has Ron Gardenhire.

Colin Wyers (6:21:30 PM PT): "Jimbo (Taipei): When will you be running full playoff simulation results? And, will these take account for the shortened pitching rotation, which benefits teams like Philadelphia?"

We're doing playoff odds by game right now. I'm hopeful we can start cranking them out quicker - a lot of the initial work is done.

Ben Lindbergh (6:22:55 PM PT): Would be nice to give Garner some top-of-the-lineup love against a righty later in the series.

Eric Seidman (6:23:19 PM PT): So what do y'all think of our Playoff PECOTA's projection that the Twins win Game One?

Ben Lindbergh (6:23:21 PM PT): *Gardner, that is.

Eric Seidman (6:24:57 PM PT): faithdies (DE): Did anyone see Halladay shake off Ruiz ONCE that entire game? How much credit for a no-hitter like that goes to the catcher for calling the game?

The only time he shook Ruiz off was when Ruiz did the head shake himself to get Halladay to do a fake shake off. At least as far as I could tell.

Marc Normandin (6:26:04 PM PT): Ranks in postseason stats seem pretty meaningless, given the sheer volume of playoff baseball a player can be in nowadays compared to the olden days.

Also, that ball was completely Delmon'd in left.

Christina Kahrl (6:26:09 PM PT): Delmon Young, redefining the art of left.

Steven Goldman (6:26:11 PM PT): Folks, that's why Delmon Young was a -15 FRAA this year.

Dan Wade (6:26:32 PM PT): Hey, he kept it front of him. Improvement!

Christina Kahrl (6:26:54 PM PT): I suppose this is where a George Foster reference would have been appropriate.

Rob McQuown (6:27:26 PM PT): Nick Swisher career playoff stats down to .153/.318/.250 now (90 PA)

Ben Lindbergh (6:28:11 PM PT): Girardi trying to out-Gardenhire Gardenhire. Hey, Steve, first postseason appearance of "Coffee Joe?"

That must have been the "feel for players" part of the mix: http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2010/10/yankees_joe_girardi_mixes_love.html.

Steven Goldman (6:28:39 PM PT): The announcers were just saying that CC has to regroup and hold 'em, which is of course easier said than done. I saw this interview with Jerry Koosman about one of his starts in the 1969 WS, and he gave up three runs early in the deciding Game 5. He said he came back to the dugout and said, "That's it, they're not getting any more. I'll hold them here. You do the rest." (I paraphrase). That was exactly what happened. But I always wonder, how could Koosman promise that? He couldn't be sure. How would the rest of the team have reacted to him if he had allowed more runs?

Rob McQuown (6:28:39 PM PT): .151/.311/.247 after that (typo above... it was .315 OBP)

Eric Seidman (6:28:51 PM PT): Steve (Philadelphia): Phillies 8th on the BP Hit List? I don't get it. BP had the Braves rated ahead of the Phillies very late into the season too. Does BP hate the Phillies or Philadelphia for some reason?

Just because I'm a little tired of the site being accused of hating the Phillies, let me try and put a kabosh on this. Nobody here hates the Phillies. In fact about one-third of our regular contributors are devout Phillies fans, myself included. It just so happens that there is a HUGE gap in the actual difference between the NL and AL and the perceived value. The Phillies happened to do better in certain areas than we expected, just like the White Sox expected to be worse in areas than we expected. Don't look too much into it. Nobody hates the Phillies.

Steven Goldman (6:29:26 PM PT): "Joe Girardi Mixes Love" sounds like the title of his Barry White covers album.

Marc Normandin (6:30:02 PM PT): That's not true, Eric. I hate the Phillies.

Steven Goldman (6:30:37 PM PT): Nobody can leave 'em on base like the late 2010 Yankees.

Christina Kahrl (6:31:17 PM PT): No worries, Rob, I could say something about Ohio State and failure where Swisher's concerned, but they did win in 2002, so no need to launch into a Woody Hayes nostalgia segue.

Eric Seidman (6:31:23 PM PT): Marc, I misspoke. I meant Nobody COOL hates the Phillies. SABERBURN!

Steven Goldman (6:31:54 PM PT): Hey, Colin... Don't suppose we have something like month by month rates for the Yankees in high-leverage situations, do we?

Colin Wyers (6:32:22 PM PT): I've never trusted Phillies, and I never will. I could never forgive them for the death of my boy.

Steven Goldman (6:32:46 PM PT): I'll take a Woody Strode nostalgia segue if you've got one, Christina.

Eric Seidman (6:33:05 PM PT): NC (San Francisco): Big overplayed storyline, Giants edition: These ain't your Barry Bonds Giants, this is a TEAM with chemistry and gelling and fun likeability, goshdarnit. Only Barry could probably still outplay Jose Guillen, and maybe Pat Burrell.

I'm still sticking to my Bobby Cox and Heyward/Posey as Rookies of the Year being overplayed. Now, if Jose Guillen appears in this series he'll be overplayed, regardless of a storyline. I do wonder though if the Giants will go with an all-outfield lineup. Something like:

Posey, C
Burrell, LF
Torres, RF
Rowand, CF
Ross, LCF
Guillen, RCF

Colin Wyers (6:33:17 PM PT): Maybe. I'll look into this.

Christina Kahrl (6:33:20 PM PT): Kid couldn't ride, Colin?

Colin Wyers (6:34:05 PM PT): The Phillies are the ones with the ridged foreheads, right?

Eric Seidman (6:36:00 PM PT): You're all making me look bad after I tried to mask all of our hatred of the Phillies! Cut it out!

Christina Kahrl (6:36:15 PM PT): Woody Strode? I can't imagine sucking on your hat brim qualifies as rally-cap territory, Steve, but the Reds might want to try anything.

Steven Goldman (6:36:22 PM PT): I got it the first time, Colin. ST VI. To which I respond, from ST III, "You Phillies bastard, you killed my son!"

Colin Wyers (6:37:03 PM PT): Eric, it's not that we don't like the Phillies. It's that we're exposing a pernicious bias against the Phillies in the fact-based community. It's performance art.

Eric Seidman (6:37:10 PM PT): dianagramr (NYC): Helen Mirren is to action movies as Morgan Freeman is to voiceovers .... not!

I think she was originally cast in Jason Statham's role in The Expendables but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts.

Steven Goldman (6:37:29 PM PT): Hey, Strode was a huge athlete at UCLA. The Reds could use a projectable tools guy like that.

Marc Normandin (6:37:30 PM PT): Sorry, Eric. You can't change my feelings about the Phillies.

Eric Seidman (6:37:41 PM PT): With some of these comments I feel like Homer did when he watched Twin Peaks.

Christina Kahrl (6:37:47 PM PT): Bah, how can you hate Phillies? After you spend your childhood punching ponies, fillies are easy.

Steven Goldman (6:38:33 PM PT): Funny you say that, Eric. Morgan Freeman was originally slated to play Queen Elizabeth II.

Colin Wyers (6:38:36 PM PT): This is a formica table. Green is its color.

Marc Normandin (6:38:55 PM PT): Homer was blind, Eric. And they didn't have televisions back then.

Jesse Behr (6:40:49 PM PT): *ahem* isn't there a game on? *ahem* :)

Eric Seidman (6:40:56 PM PT): Krabappel? I've been calling her Krandal! Why didn't anyone tell me!?

Marc Normandin (6:41:17 PM PT): Craig Sager isn't in his usual style tonight, but just because he's here, here's some necessary viewing: Kevin Garnett vs. Craig Sager

Steven Goldman (6:41:36 PM PT): Nice baserunning by O'Hudson.

Christina Kahrl (6:41:40 PM PT): Sweet baserunning play by Orlando Hudson.

Marc Normandin (6:41:54 PM PT): There is a game on, Jesse. It's between Eric and I. It's called "I hate the Phillies".

Jesse Behr (6:42:25 PM PT): That's the best video ever, Marc. I've watched it so many times. Where was A-Rod on that last play? Seriously.

Dan Wade (6:42:32 PM PT): Nice heads-up play by Hudson to make it to third. Mauer has clearly been taking lessons from Nick Punto with that headfirst slide into first.

Christina Kahrl (6:42:37 PM PT): You need to say it twice, Jesse, otherwise folks may not notice that it's 3-0 Twins. ;)

Ben Lindbergh (6:42:47 PM PT): Ah, the "Twins way." Gotta love that -7.7 EqBRR.

Steven Goldman (6:42:51 PM PT): The price you pay for having an elderly Jorge Posada behind the plate?

Marc Normandin (6:43:17 PM PT): I thought Delmon Young got a piece of that with his bat at first, but the replay shows it bounced right off of Posada's glove. Baseballs take a funny bounce when they strike iron like that.

Christina Kahrl (6:43:48 PM PT): At least it wasn't Lombardi's Snooze, right Steve?

Steven Goldman (6:44:28 PM PT): Correction to the announcers: it has been a problem for Posada all career long. In some ways, he's never stopped being a transplanted infielder. But it certainly has gotten worse with age.

Jesse Behr (6:44:53 PM PT): Steve, I just can't see Posada catching 80+ games next season. There's no way.

Ben Lindbergh (6:45:30 PM PT): It's hard for a pitcher to pronounce that he's allowed all the runs he's going to allow when he can't be sure that his catcher is capable of living up to the job title.

Steven Goldman (6:46:06 PM PT): You know, Christina, I must have watched the film of Lombardi's Snooze 500 times, and I still can't tell if he got kneed in the head or the groin or what happened. I know he got a raw deal over it. Lombardi was dazed and therefore immobile. Posada is immobile whether he's dazed or not.

Christina Kahrl (6:46:12 PM PT): And I suspect Jorge ain't going back to second base. ;)

Eric Seidman (6:46:28 PM PT): They should've went with AJ Burnett.

Ben Lindbergh (6:47:20 PM PT): Seems like ages since I saw the tiny disturbing giraffe for the first time today.

Christina Kahrl (6:47:24 PM PT): Maybe they're hoping he's Pavano kryptonite

Steven Goldman (6:48:13 PM PT): Jesse, you're right, but the problem is that his bat is still above-average for a backstop, while Cervelli really can't do anything but hit singles, Austin Romine still needs to show he can hit consistently, not to mention play at Triple-A, and Jesus Montero's defense is still a question. A Posada/Montero C-DH rotation might hit a lot, but you would have six balls a game heading for the backstop. There are just no good answers.

Always good to see Ben's Giraffe during the breaks.

Marc Normandin (6:50:11 PM PT): The next wave of managers is led by Ron Gardenhire? Uh oh.

Dan Wade (6:51:20 PM PT): What's the matter, Marc? Not a fan of sac bunt in the first inning?

Steven Goldman (6:51:23 PM PT): I imagine them following him off a cliff, like lemmings.

Kevin Goldstein (6:52:34 PM PT): Why is the giraffe disturbing? All I can think is that I want one. As for the Yankee catching situation, the team still thinks Montero can catch long-term. i'm not so sure, obviously, but I'm more convinced that he's going to get a shot to at least prove us wrong.

Marc Normandin (6:53:10 PM PT): I was born a year too early to say there have been just two Twins' managers in my lifetime. I thought I had something there after seeing the Gardenhire infographic there.

Jesse Behr (6:53:20 PM PT): Would/could the Yankees sign a catcher this winter? That could close up a small, small gap between the Montero and Posada eras.

Rob McQuown (6:53:35 PM PT): Colin, could we get an alternate AL Day 1 PECOTA with Cliff Lee on the Yankees facing the Rangers and Price facing the Twins? I'm sure that will be popular in New York if this game goes as it's been.

Marc Normandin (6:54:11 PM PT): Dan, sometimes I wish I wasn't a fan of an NL team just so I could see fewer sac bunts.

Jesse Behr (6:54:32 PM PT): If he leaves San Diego, how about Yorvit Torrealba (signing with New York)?

Christina Kahrl (6:55:05 PM PT): Put the crack pipe down now.

Steven Goldman (6:56:06 PM PT): You didn't miss much, Marc. Between Gene Mauch and Tom Kelly there was a whole lot of forgettable.

David Laurila (6:56:40 PM PT): Cliff Lee vs Roy Halladay in Game 7 would be interesting. Then again, so would CC Sabathia vs Tim Lincecum.

Eric Seidman (6:57:32 PM PT): Jesse, his name is actually Post-season Torrealba, as I learned last year from the announcers. Apparently, there is a regular season Torrealba, and a post-season Torrealba.

Marc Normandin (6:57:34 PM PT): If only Kelly had been hired one year sooner! Instead infant me had Ray Miller at the helm, ruining this future roundtable discussion.

Eric Seidman (6:59:15 PM PT): This has nothing to do with anything, but my brother just "friended" Ron Karkovice on Facebook.

Marc Normandin (6:59:43 PM PT): Torrealba is also a potentially pointless avenue of discussion anyway, as Hoyer is on the record saying he wants to pick up his option if they can make the room in the budget.

Jesse Behr (7:00:03 PM PT): Rookie mistake, Eric.

Marc Normandin (7:01:37 PM PT): Valencia has not looked comfortable against Sabathia in either at-bat, which is a bit surprising given how little he whiffed this year (and historically).

Kevin Goldstein (7:02:12 PM PT): Sure get the feeling that today will reinforce the myth that is the 'year of the pitcher.'

Steven Goldman (7:02:22 PM PT): It is to be hoped that now that Minaya is gone, the Mets will be smarter than to spend another winter chasing after yet one more catcher who can't hit.

Christina Kahrl (7:04:00 PM PT): Believe me, listening on NPR last night about how "run scoring is up" is somehow part of the proof that fielding's getting better, I figure everything is being used to fit a few overworn, dubious storylines.

Steven Goldman (7:04:09 PM PT): "Oh, please, Bengie Molina, enrapture our fanbase by signing with us! No? Pretty please? Pretty please with sugar on top? You can't say you don't like sugar, Bengie. I mean, look at you. Wait, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it like that. Come back, Bengie, come baaaaaaaack!"

Kevin Goldstein (7:04:13 PM PT): It is also hoped that Minaya's poor job as GM doesn't totally override his historic existence AS a GM.

Christina Kahrl (7:04:34 PM PT): Run scoring in Triple-A, that is, as proof that fielding in the majors is improving.

Steven Goldman (7:06:52 PM PT): I can never let go of the fact that the Mets didn't protect Tom Seaver after '83 because they wanted to leave room for Ron Gardenhire on the roster.

Ben Lindbergh (7:07:43 PM PT): What happened to Gardner never swinging? That would've been a good pitch not to swing at.

Steven Goldman (7:08:29 PM PT): If not for that decision, the Mets not only go to the postseason in 1986, but '84 and '85 as well.

Dan Wade (7:09:12 PM PT): Bad news for the Yankees: Liriano's worst innings by ERA are all behind them, as they fail to score in the first, second, and fifth.

Christina Kahrl (7:09:21 PM PT): O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills... oh, you're out already. Never mind.

Jesse Behr (7:10:11 PM PT): Those were two nice sliders from Liriano (86-87 MPH) to strike out Granderson, Gardner. Jeter also flew out on an 87 MPH slid-piece.

Christina Kahrl (7:10:19 PM PT): I don't know Steven, the notion of Bruce Berenyi making postseason starts... that's in Chris Codiroli territory.

Steven Goldman (7:10:47 PM PT): Stay tuned, because Christina will now favor us with, "When Jeter last in the dooryard bloomed."

Jesse Behr (7:11:14 PM PT): Christina! We read that poem senior year of high school. And when I say read, I mean "analyzed" for two-full weeks . . .

Ben Lindbergh (7:11:16 PM PT): Might've taken more than Seaver's decent season to make up the '84 team's 6.5-game deficit.

Kevin Goldstein (7:12:08 PM PT): When I think about "The Language Of Game", most of my first instincts are not fitting for a network in prime time.

Steven Goldman (7:12:56 PM PT): I imagine Seaver would have bumped Berenyi. The top four in '84 would have been Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Walt Terell, and Seaver, with Sid Fernandez in there somewhere... I know, I know... Your willing suspension of disbelief can't get past Terrell either.

Christina Kahrl (7:13:53 PM PT): The Human Pug? I loved watching Terrell pitch.

Ben Lindbergh (7:14:57 PM PT): Statistics fail from Smoltz. Twins are special because their hitters have a ~.300 BABIP?

Christina Kahrl (7:16:07 PM PT): Quoth Smoltzie, adequacy is the new up!

Steven Goldman (7:20:35 PM PT): You think Conan O'Brien is winning anyone over with these spots?

Christina Kahrl (7:20:59 PM PT): He can afford to not care.

Ben Lindbergh (7:21:13 PM PT): He'd won me over before they started airing. Now he only risks losing me.

Ben Lindbergh (7:21:45 PM PT): Why does there have to be a one-pitch "turning moment of the game?"

Christina Kahrl (7:21:55 PM PT): Makes me think more is less... sort of like most Cuban prospects. ;)

Christina Kahrl (7:22:32 PM PT): Because people in television remember only one mistake made by Howard Cosell, not all of them?

Colin Wyers (7:23:09 PM PT): Rob, we can look at some counterfactuals with the PECOTA projections. I'll see what I can do.

That Freakonomics thing about run scoring was bad, Christina. I'll get into it more after I put my kid to bed.

Christina Kahrl (7:23:45 PM PT): With that, Tex shuts people up. Now, to see if it creates trouble. Or Kevin's "interesting ballgame."

Steven Goldman (7:23:46 PM PT): If the Yankees don't score, the turning point was either (A) Liriano showing up at the ballpark or (B) the first run Sabathia allowed. Stuff like the passed ball are irrelevant.

The turning point is Lindbergh's giraffe.

Kevin Goldstein (7:24:58 PM PT): I think there's still considerable tension in this game, especially after the Teixeira double. Lee and Halladay games had a 'no way' feel early on. Liriano can still go south quickly and at any moment.

Jesse Behr (7:25:41 PM PT): A-Rod career .111/.385/.111 (13 PA) against Liriano.

Christina Kahrl (7:25:58 PM PT): Believe me, Colin, I couldn't help laughing through much of it. The Padres played a veteran second baseman and Miguel Tejada at short for much of the season, and they're an example of a team promoting better defenders?

Ben Lindbergh (7:26:37 PM PT): "No chance" for Mauer to make that play? None at all? Tough play, but it did hit his glove.

Steven Goldman (7:26:41 PM PT): Great Scott, where was that?

Christina Kahrl (7:27:16 PM PT): Agreed, Kevin. The Yankees create three-run innings like they were the front-pew faithful in the Church of Earl.

Kevin Goldstein (7:27:17 PM PT): 95% of catchers don't even do that much with that pitch, Ben.

Ben Lindbergh (7:28:23 PM PT): Maybe you're right, KG. I'm probably just spoiled from watching Posada for all these years.

Steven Goldman (7:28:26 PM PT): MVP! MVP! MVP!

Jesse Behr (7:28:44 PM PT): Kevin's onto something - career 4.50 ERA from pitches 91-105.

Steven Goldman (7:30:16 PM PT): Jesse, who doesn't have a 4.50 ERA from pitches 91-105? Beyond which, Liriano has had so many phases to his career, you can't look at a career-wide split. You have to say, is this rookie heat Liriano? Injury Disastercase Liriano? Or Rebuilt Bionic Liriano? They're all different pitchers.

Dan Wade (7:30:16 PM PT): Jesse, I know career is usually a better sample to use, but it's hard to quote Liriano's career figures without noting that he's yet to have back-to-back seasons of consistent production. Unreal in 2006, dead in 2007, bad in 2008, worse in 2009, Comeback player of the year in 2010.

Kevin Goldstein (7:30:56 PM PT): Double-barreled action in Twins bullpen is good idea, as Lirino's outstanding FB command from early in the game is slipping precipitously.

Steven Goldman (7:33:53 PM PT): Yankees definitely get into the pen either now or next frame, and as good as the Twins pen can be, they have to prefer that to what Liriano was giving them until now.

Jesse Behr (7:34:00 PM PT): (Steve and Dan) True, and it looks like he's been a little bit of all three tonight. 'cept early on he was looking very nasty . . .

Ben Lindbergh (7:34:00 PM PT): Remember when Cano couldn't hit w/RISP?

Kevin Goldstein (7:34:02 PM PT): PRECIPITOUSLY, as now he's up with the SL as well.

Dan Wade (7:34:03 PM PT): Steven's and my objections aside, Kevin is right. Yanks are right back in this one.

Christina Kahrl (7:34:25 PM PT): I was just typing this probably had to be Posada's last batter no matter what, but here's Grandy vs. a lefty to tempt yout to leaving him out there...

Dan Wade (7:35:45 PM PT): Jesse, if he were anywhere near as bad as he was in 2009, the Yankees would have already won this game.

Kevin Goldstein (7:35:49 PM PT): Granderson AB: SL up, FB out, SL low, FB up for the just miss double. He's done.

Christina Kahrl (7:35:53 PM PT): Tied up, even without the hefty bag to help make it so.

Steven Goldman (7:36:13 PM PT): That would have been out of most other parks, I would think.

Ben Lindbergh (7:36:37 PM PT): So wait, was that 3-1 pitch to Teixeira in the early going still the turning point? Can we retroactively strip it of its turning point status?

Steven Goldman (7:36:53 PM PT): Kevin, do you fault Gardenhire for not being quicker there?

Kevin Goldstein (7:37:02 PM PT): Pre-mature props to Jay Jaffe for taking Granderson as a player to watch in this series during the podcast.

Christina Kahrl (7:37:57 PM PT): That was the great thing about Cosell, Ben. He could afford to announce several turning points of the game.

Kevin Goldstein (7:37:58 PM PT): Steven, personally I think it was one batter too long, but leaving him in against Granderson at least had matchup logic.

Jay Jaffe (7:38:44 PM PT): That escalated quickly. While Granderson was a nightmare against lefties for most of the past two years, as I noted in the preview, his quieter swing seems to have particularly shored up his weakness against southpaws. Small sample sizes, but interesting: .286/.375/.500 in 64 PA, compared to .206/.243/.275 in 107 PA prior.

Steven Goldman (7:39:16 PM PT): Match-up logic sort of. You'd rather have a live righty face Granderson than a dying lefty, whatever the platoon stats.

Ben Lindbergh (7:39:45 PM PT): Johnson clearly thought the game was tied after the double, but managed to pass it off as being tied for a few seconds immediately after the lead runner scored. Caray-esque save.

Dan Wade (7:40:17 PM PT): Mijares was also ready, so it isn't as though Gardy didn't have a live lefty to go to. Still, not his worst decision of the night.

Steven Goldman (7:40:52 PM PT): My favorite thing about Cosell was the Monday Night Baseball game where he kept referring to a young George Bell as GEE-or-gee. All hard Gs, rhymes with "corgi."

Ben Lindbergh (7:41:07 PM PT): Incidental Cashman/Afterman shot by TBS while focusing on clapping fan.

Kevin Goldstein (7:41:54 PM PT): I agree with you Steve, it's sort-of logic at the base left/left level. That said, I think managers have an ideal bullpen flow in mind before each game (see Padres), and they can get caught up in not straying from it. No flow for the Twins has fat lefty being first when non-fat lefty is starting.

Ben Lindbergh (7:42:03 PM PT): Okay, so NOW CC tells his team he's not allowing any more runs, right?

Jesse Behr (7:43:16 PM PT): How much longer does CC go? He's at 84 pitches . . .

Christina Kahrl (7:43:27 PM PT): Between Cosell and Musberger, it's a wonder baseball survived the network experience in the '70s and '80s. But then we also had to deal with Dick Vitale. "The grass is growing baby! Grow baby! Grow! Wait, something happened! Grow!"

Kevin Goldstein (7:44:32 PM PT): C.C. is not a pitch count guy -- doesn't matter. You can say that about less than five guys and it's one of the reasons he's so valuable. He goes until he can't no more.

Steven Goldman (7:45:21 PM PT): Kevin, I've quoted this thought from Casey Stengel many times, but he said that as much as he focused on getting the platoon advantage, if you had were facing a lefty batter who loved the high fastball, and your lefty reliever's best pitch was the high fastball, you'd be better off forgetting about the platoon and going with a right-hander who could do something else besides throw a high fastball. (I paraphrase). I feel like that essential nuance has been forgotten, and matchups have been reduced to simple binary thinking.

Christina Kahrl (7:45:41 PM PT): And goes on three days' rest to boot, I'd expect.

Christina Kahrl (7:46:53 PM PT): Couldn't agree more, Steven. There are times when it seems as if data overload is getting in the way of watching what's going wrong in individual batter/pitch sequences. The batters let you know when a pitcher's done, in essence.

Steven Goldman (7:47:21 PM PT): "That would have been a home run in Yankee Stadium." -- Charlie O. Finley.

Jesse Behr (7:47:53 PM PT): Does that ball leave the yard if we weren't at Target Field? I assume so.

Kevin Goldstein (7:48:07 PM PT): Boy I was sure that was gone, and boy I love Delmon's hands.

Steven. You wrote the book on the guy, don't you think a guy with Casey's mindset would be groundbreaking today as well with the data that's available? I totally agree that pitcher type is is important as pitcher arm.

Steven Goldman (7:48:17 PM PT): Very well put, Christina. It's an oddly passive way of doing things.

Dan Wade (7:49:31 PM PT): Kevin, I was sure it gone was too. Tough not to when the camera pans out so far.

Kevin Goldstein (7:51:26 PM PT): And now C.C.'s command has slipped, but seems to be more overthrowing than tiring.

Dan Wade (7:51:37 PM PT): Safe to say that the Twins won't be scoring another run on a passed ball here.

Christina Kahrl (7:51:53 PM PT): Thome on first base, doesn't score on a dive-and-miss in left. No film at 11.

Steven Goldman (7:52:10 PM PT): Kevin, yes I think he would be, just because he went by his own book instead of working with received wisdom. Today, all the managers have access to the data that Casey tried to keep in his head and Earl Weaver kept on index cards, but the difference would be that somewhat like what we do here, he was able to depart from the most basic conclusions and exploit that information in unexpected ways. I wish I knew who that manager was today. I don't see him.

Kevin Goldstein (7:52:51 PM PT): C.C.: Want to chase this slider?
Kubel: Nope.

Repeat 3x.

Ben Lindbergh (7:52:52 PM PT): KG, what's the giveaway that it's one and not the other?

Ben Lindbergh (7:53:39 PM PT): It's not Joe Maddon, Steve?

Dan Wade (7:53:46 PM PT): I feel like no matter what happens here, it's safe to say this is a critical--if not turning--point in the game.

Jesse Behr (7:54:27 PM PT): This is a great postseason AB: Danny Valencia, rookie, v. CC with the bases-loaded. The excitement is too much to handle!

Christina Kahrl (7:54:38 PM PT): Valencia might be exactly the guy the Yankees shouldn't want to face here... and yet, pull Sabathia?

Steven Goldman (7:54:55 PM PT): Ben, Maddon seems to be the closest. He certainly uses his whole roster.

Kevin Goldstein (7:55:28 PM PT): Sabathia became less effortless, there was more oomph to the latter half of his arm action, and now he's just lost in the weeds.

Dan Wade (7:55:32 PM PT): Looks like both managers are guilty of leaving the starter in for too long.

Steven Goldman (7:56:02 PM PT): J.J. Hardy had a very good second half.

Jesse Behr (7:56:50 PM PT): Jerry Crawford's squeezed CC on a couple of those pitches to Valencia. Just look at Gameday . . .

Steven Goldman (7:57:27 PM PT): Sabathia had nine starts this year when he walked one or no batters, but now his command has flown.

Christina Kahrl (7:58:42 PM PT): There have to be higher criteria than that; several skippers use their whole roster. I was looking at some of the transition inning data Eric generated; unsurprisingly, Mike Scioscia's Angels did better than most in the innings where a starter opens the frame but needs to be hooked mid-stream when it comes to runs allowed.

Colin Wyers (8:00:50 PM PT): Marc and I were talking the other night and I cooked up a measure of how long a leash a manager tends to give his starting pitchers. I haven't had a chance to write it up yet, though.

Jesse Behr (8:02:07 PM PT): I'm interested to what that looks like, Colin. Especially with regards to managers using their SPs in the postseason.

Steven Goldman (8:03:12 PM PT): Christina, that leash discussion cameo out of Marc and I trying to think of a way to measure the way managers react to high-leverage situations. Colin tells me that this brings us into Isaac Asimov territory.

Colin Wyers (8:04:09 PM PT): I think what I said was a total evaluation of a manager's value (in a strategic sense) would be something akin to sabermetric's Manhattan project.

Steven Goldman (8:05:26 PM PT): Okay, so Robert Oppenheimer territory.

Kevin Goldstein (8:05:59 PM PT): Sabathia with excellent arm action on that glove throw in the dugout . . . good follow through.

Steven Goldman (8:06:11 PM PT): Hey, you readers still awake out there? We haven't had any chatter from you guys in awhile.

Jesse Behr (8:07:09 PM PT): What was the MPH on that glove throw, Kevin?

Steven Goldman (8:07:43 PM PT): If you look at Teixeira's season, from May through August he was the same guy he always is. In April and September he went away, the former apparently because he always stinks in April (though he was worse than ever this year) the latter because of various injuries.

Steven Goldman (8:08:31 PM PT): Speaking of Oppenheimer, that was nuked. An upper-deck job in the Bronx.

Jesse Behr (8:08:38 PM PT): That Teix message was raked. Who though that was foul?

Steven Goldman (8:09:09 PM PT): Andy (Chicago): @Steve Goldman Still here...was just out getting hooked up by my local bartender as we're wont to do in the Windy City...yet still checking your chat updates on the trusty iPhone!

Yeah? What are YOU drinking?

Kevin Goldstein (8:09:23 PM PT): I complain a lot about every home run getting assigned to pitchers as bad pitches instead of hitters as a nice piece of hitting.

That said, that was about the worst place to put a fastball when pitching to Mark Teixeira.

Ben Lindbergh (8:09:44 PM PT): Like the cowboy yell in the dugout from Swisher. I guess that's what good chemistry sounds like?

Steven Goldman (8:09:48 PM PT): Peter (Kingston, ON): I'm reading your chat while watching a simpsons re-run.

Not watching the game, Peter?

Steven Goldman (8:10:41 PM PT): myshkin (Santa Clara, CA): Still awake, not sure what to make of a game without a dominant pitching performance. Year of the Pitcher, indeed!

This game has been compelling in a different way. There are certainly managerial moves to first- and second-guess, as we've been doing.

Jesse Behr (8:11:59 PM PT): How about this one for Professor Parks - Deep in the heart of Teixas!

Steven Goldman (8:12:32 PM PT): Kevin, at this point I get frustrated when any hit on a grounder through the infield gets blamed on the pitcher.

Kevin Goldstein (8:12:45 PM PT): Oh yeah, Brian Fuentes pitches for the Twins.

Colin Wyers (8:13:23 PM PT): Okay, through the first two games I thought TBS did okay on the announcers.

Then... this.

Steven Goldman (8:13:44 PM PT): Andy (Chicago): Well, the bar doesn't have the best Whiskey selection, but I've been enjoying some Woodford Reserve bourbon. Now were I at my home bar I'd be downing Templeton Rye or Four Roses bourbon (preferably their "mariage" blend). But you can't complain about drinks when the bartender is giving you free swill and you're paying less than $5 for Burgers and tots! Now the better question is: What are the BP writers drinking?!?!?!?

Tea, sadly. Been a long day and any loaded libation would lay me out.

Kevin Goldstein (8:14:40 PM PT): Much like last night during podcast recording, I have sangria here.

Steven Goldman (8:14:46 PM PT): benrosenberg02 (boston): i'm still here (much like joaquin phoenix)

You see Marc Normandin anywhere around there? Check under the carpet. And lock up your women.

Steven Goldman (8:16:04 PM PT): Kevin, bought or made?

Love sangria.

Ben Lindbergh (8:16:20 PM PT): ddanyc (nyc): Predictions for Yankee bullpen usage? Joba to start the 7th with Logan to face any lefty tying-run?

That's what I'd guess.

Kevin Goldstein (8:16:58 PM PT): B.

You know, I know hating Alex Rodriguez is the hip thing to do, but I really do think he truly loves playing baseball, and I've always liked him for that.

Steven Goldman (8:18:03 PM PT): ddanyc (nyc): Predictions for Yankee bullpen usage? Joba to start the 7th with Logan to face any lefty tying-run?

I really hope not. Joba has been depressing of late. I'd rather Dave Robertson. BTW, as my pal 'n' colleague at the Pinstriped Bible, Cliff Corcoran pointed out today, so much about what seemed good about the Yankees bullpen lately might have just been a BABIP fluctuation.

Ben Lindbergh (8:18:54 PM PT): Actually, switch-hitter and two lefties coming up, maybe Logan to start the inning? Didn't see who was warming.

Colin Wyers (8:18:56 PM PT): I'm just hoping to not see Kerry Wood pitch in a Yankees uniform. I don't know if I'm ready for that yet.

Steven Goldman (8:19:22 PM PT): So if you're in a restaurant, and you've got a glass of sangria, and you've finished the glass, is it couth or uncouth to fish out the bits o' fruit?

Christina Kahrl (8:19:45 PM PT): Hating A-Rod is hip? If the herd's already been milling around in a particular room for a decade, isn't that an automatic disqualifier for hip-ness?

Jesse Behr (8:19:47 PM PT): Alright amigos and amigas, watching the rest of the game with my hall buddies. Have to do the whole college thing . . . Kevin still doesn't quite get it.

Colin Wyers (8:20:19 PM PT): All I know is, I ain't got no sangria, I ain't got no crystal ball.

(And yes, I know that's not the lyrics.)

Steven Goldman (8:20:36 PM PT): Christina, you will recall the time we went to dinner after a Boston signing, and I had a 101 fever, some cold medicine, and two glasses of sangria and nearly face-planted into the fajitas. Learned a valuable lesson that day.

Steven Goldman (8:21:08 PM PT): Hating A-Rod is the new disco.

Christina Kahrl (8:21:17 PM PT): But you got better, right?

Colin Wyers (8:21:31 PM PT): Keep the fajitas off to the side?

Christina Kahrl (8:21:54 PM PT): Good call, Ben and Joltless Joe, we're into the Boonies.

Steven Goldman (8:23:12 PM PT): No, if you have a cold, skip the medicine, keep the sangria.

Christina Kahrl (8:25:00 PM PT): There's vitamins in sangria. Or ice. And some other stuff. Anyway, it's good for you.

Ben Lindbergh (8:25:01 PM PT): Apparently the owner of the tiny disturbing giraffe has a Twitter account.

Dan Wade (8:26:06 PM PT): I'm just hoping no one makes an account for the giraffe.

Christina Kahrl (8:26:33 PM PT): Of course he does, Ben. We all loved him in Lord of the Rings and Eastern Promises.

< ducking >

Steven Goldman (8:27:48 PM PT): Seems like Jorge gets nailed by a foul a game lately. He's a magnet for those--as opposed to pitches in the dirt, which he repels.

Steven Goldman (8:28:31 PM PT): myshkin (Santa Clara, CA): If there are no runs in the 7th from either side, Mariano in the 8th?

Not unless someone gets on, maybe not then.

Christina Kahrl (8:29:28 PM PT): Now I know I'm of a certain age. Whenever I hear "local hero," I think Pete Riegert and Burt Lancaster.

Kevin Goldstein (8:29:53 PM PT): Gotta love Posada's "I'm fine, I'm a catcher face."

Dan Wade (8:30:26 PM PT): We're closing in on the three hour mark for this game. Somewhere, Joe West is furiously angry and he doesn't know why.

Christina Kahrl (8:30:33 PM PT): No surprise to see Logan hooked, but no faulting Girardi's using him as he did.

Kevin Goldstein (8:30:52 PM PT): Not ideal, but you have to think that if Girardi was told that Logan would go out, out, Mauer single, he'd be thrilled.

Ben Lindbergh (8:31:30 PM PT): "Subway: where winners eat." Losers eat at Quiznos.

Kevin Goldstein (8:33:14 PM PT): Delmon looks ready to swing out of his shoes.

Christina Kahrl (8:33:34 PM PT): Steve, I wonder if Posada's playing time spread isn't going to lurch over into a 50/50 split between catcher and DH duties, plus perhaps first on Tex's days off. Has to be better than lurching from the Unavailable (Nick the Stick), the Unmemorable (Lance Berkman), and the Unforgivable (Jason Giambi).

Christina Kahrl (8:33:35 PM PT): Steve, I wonder if Posada's playing time spread isn't going to lurch over into a 50/50 split between catcher and DH duties, plus perhaps first on Tex's days off. Has to be better than lurching from the Unavailable (Nick the Stick), the Unmemorable (Lance Berkman), and the Unforgivable (Jason Giambi).

Dan Wade (8:33:39 PM PT): Delmon wakes up ready to swing out of his shoes.

Colin Wyers (8:34:01 PM PT): Memo to MLB: I would be willing to pay some amount of money to have the multiple camera angles in the regular season. I am growing attached to this.

Steven Goldman (8:35:20 PM PT): Seems likely, Christina. The question is how/when you give Montero a shot, whether you have to carry a third catcher as a result of using Posada that way.

Steven Goldman (8:36:53 PM PT): Twenty-three UBB for Young all year... And here's where you can first-guess the Yankees for not having another lefty in the pen. Not that I'm a big Royce Ring fan or anything, but this was something that was an apparent problem as early as Damaso Marte getting hurt.

Steven Goldman (8:37:09 PM PT): ...But they didn't pay for it that time! :)

Steven Goldman (8:37:50 PM PT): ddanyc (nyc): Joe pretty much ruled out 2 full innings for Mo in the pre-game presser. Said he would reluctantly use him at all in the 8th.

Right. Hence my answer.

Kevin Goldstein (8:38:09 PM PT): At some point in a Top 11, I'll note that some guy is equally effective in throwing his breaking ball for strikes or using it as a chase pitch. Robertson just demonstrated what I'm talking about.

Christina Kahrl (8:40:16 PM PT): True, but they can use the famous people in the eighth, and then after Kerry Wood and Jobamarama, they hand the game to Death in cleats. If having just Logan spares us La Russian obsessiveness, I'm not convinced the outcomes all bad news for the Yankees, in terms of tactical outcomes or wins.

Colin Wyers (8:41:02 PM PT): "Noel (Chicago): If Conan let himself go, would he look like Donal Logue?"

I think the greatest upside to Postseason.tv so far is how I risk no accidental exposure to promotions for TBS programming.

Steven Goldman (8:42:26 PM PT): ddanyc (nyc): Steve, if the Yanks really thought Montero could catch, would they have been willing to trade him for 3 months of C. Lee?

They're highly enamored of Cliff Lee. Note they didn't make the same offer, insofar as we know, for Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt or anyone like that--given that no one as good as Montero moved in those deals, I think it's safe to guess he wasn't on the market anymore. So they made a valuation that getting Cliff Lee would bring them another ring, and for that you trade away Montero who (A) is a really good-looking hitter but (B) not an easy fit on their roster as currently constructed. Once the Lee deal fell through, they had to go back to trying to make the best of their square peg/round hole situation and see if just maybe Monty could catch.

Colin Wyers (8:42:47 PM PT): Interesting question (to which I don't have an answer) - if a batter takes a pitch because he thinks it's a strike, and the umpire calls it a ball, who's more likely to be correct?

Steven Goldman (8:43:24 PM PT): Christina, normally I'm right with you on your point, but Thome was so scary this year I wonder if you make a special exception for him and embrace your inner Tony.

Kevin Goldstein (8:43:44 PM PT): Hi Noel! Sorry, just wanted to say hello to one of my favorite readers and a damn fine poker player.

Fuentes delivery is so weird.

Colin Wyers (8:45:32 PM PT): I must admit, J.J. Hardy is a guy I've always kind of liked, back to his days as a Brewer. I thought he got something of a rough deal when he got pushed out there, and I'm glad to see he's latched onto a team and has a job in the playoffs.

Christina Kahrl (8:46:45 PM PT): As far as Thome in the eighth or later, just say Mo, or call him Mr. IBB.

Kevin Goldstein (8:47:00 PM PT): Hardy is a good dude. Hung out with him and if I remember right Dave Kryzel after the Futures Game in Chicago.

Steven Goldman (8:47:40 PM PT): Brett Gardner was hitting .321/.403/.418 when he hurt his wrist on June 27. Thereafter he hit .232/.363/.340. His OBP stayed in a good place because he seemed to be protecting the wrist by doing as little swinging and as much taking as possible.

Ben Lindbergh (8:47:40 PM PT): Not too many players inspire that kind of fear at age 40. Glad that Thome's turned out to be one of them.

Ben Lindbergh (8:48:23 PM PT): Hey, regular-sized giraffes in that commercial! Not sure how to feel now.

Dan Wade (8:48:38 PM PT): It will be interesting to see if he can inspire the same fear at 41, and who he will do it for.

Christina Kahrl (8:48:43 PM PT): Maybe Yankees fans are still hyperventilating over memories of Thome's LCS against them as an Indian a decade ago? I could understand that...

Steven Goldman (8:49:19 PM PT): They're afraid that if they call 40-year-old Mo in the eighth, he shatters like a glass goblin. They were inclined that way, then they used him for two innings late in the year and he struggled thereafter, so they made an inference that may not be correct but certainly had the appeal of satisfying their confirmation bias.

Colin Wyers (8:50:34 PM PT): No no no. Didn't I say this was what I didn't want to see? Thanks, ballgame.

Jay Jaffe (8:51:00 PM PT): I know I I still get nightsweats over Thome's LCS vs. the Yanks, Christina, and so does one Nick Stone, who just chimed in to that effect.

Christina Kahrl (8:51:14 PM PT): Wood looks so much skinnier as a Yankee. How did that happen?

Kevin Goldstein (8:51:35 PM PT): Wood was quite good with the Yankees as far as missing bats, it was just wildness problems. I think he really likes pitching for the Yankees, was unhappy in Cleveland and that makes a difference.

Steven Goldman (8:51:53 PM PT): This will have an impact on tomorrow's game -- Coffee Joe is real twitchy about using relievers in back to back games.

Ben Lindbergh (8:52:04 PM PT): I thought that too, CK. Can't even say it's the slimming effect of pinstripes tonight.

Steven Goldman (8:53:05 PM PT): Another blow to Jorge, who missed some time in September with concussion-type symptoms, though he wasn't concussed IIRC.

Ben Lindbergh (8:53:12 PM PT): Maybe getting smacked in the mask repeatedly is the baseball gods' version of electroshock therapy for passed-ball-itis.

Colin Wyers (8:54:01 PM PT): The Twins announcers of course bring up Mark Prior. I checked the minor league stats, and he only had the one game since joining the Rangers. I guess that's not too surprising.

Steven Goldman (8:54:15 PM PT): Or continence.

Kevin Goldstein (8:55:10 PM PT): Colin: He wasn't signed until the very end of the year and pitched in just that one game. I'm totally rooting for him, but certainly not optimistic.

Colin Wyers (8:56:24 PM PT): I drove up to Peoria once just to watch Mark Prior pitch two innings of rehab. I, um, own a Mark Prior jersey. I am cheering for Mark Prior more than I think any one person should, but it is what it is.

Steven Goldman (8:56:25 PM PT): Kubel's late '04 leg injury (in the AFL, right?) had a huge impact on his career, wouldn't you say? It seemed like he was going to be a very different kind of player than he was after.

Dan Wade (8:57:35 PM PT): Steven, it was the AFL. He came in on a ball and had the second baseman take out his knee, IIRC

Ben Lindbergh (8:58:49 PM PT): Anyone else notice the guy 4 seats to the right of the aisle behind home plate, in the second row, making that weird two-thumbs-up framing motion before every single pitch? I'd love to know what that means.

Steven Goldman (8:59:00 PM PT): I still havent forgiven Ozzie Guillen for doing that to Tim Raines.

Christina Kahrl (8:59:12 PM PT): It's OK, Colin. I have an Eric Chavez jersey that sits in the closet, an artifact both cautionary and nostalgic.

Kevin Goldstein (8:59:17 PM PT): That was ALMOST a Jeter ALDS vs. A's play by A-Rod there. Let's hate him for not getting the out.

Colin Wyers (9:03:48 PM PT): Um, what just happened?

Steven Goldman (9:04:04 PM PT): I don't wear living player or active franchise jerseys. I figure I'm supposed to be objective. I'd wear a Goose Goslin jersey if I could find one... On my recent vacation I wore a Boston Bees T-shirt and three people stopped me to ask who the hell the Boston Bees were.

Christina Kahrl (9:04:13 PM PT): Will the door get shut? Mo-be, and Mo-be not.

Steven Goldman (9:05:45 PM PT): As I said earlier, Mo has had some problems recently, so there are a whole lot of New Yorkers who are feeling nervous right now.

Colin Wyers (9:06:45 PM PT): The Twins radio guys made it sound like there was some confusion over whether or not the Yankees were making a pitching change or not. Could someone clear this up for me?

Christina Kahrl (9:07:00 PM PT): My Chavez jersey was a gift, sort of like my copy of LeRoy Neiman's McGwire portrait. If I want a portrait of any player that I might buy for myself, it would be Dave Stewart, who really would make for a great subject.

Kevin Goldstein (9:07:12 PM PT): That's five pitches in exactly the same location.

Christina Kahrl (9:07:52 PM PT): Funny, Steve, I thought New Yorkers' natural setting was panic with a patina of hauteur.

Steven Goldman (9:09:47 PM PT): Sometimes it's the other way around, hauteur with a patina of panic.

Kevin Goldstein (9:10:16 PM PT): Goldman's a New Yorker?

Steven Goldman (9:11:32 PM PT): I lived there for the whole first four years of my life. But I love the Garden State.

Christina Kahrl (9:13:44 PM PT): In contrast to Wood, Rauch's gotten heavier as well as tatt'd up.

Steven Goldman (9:14:32 PM PT): BR (NYC): Patinas occur naturally, just add oxygen.

After three ballgames, I can't tell a patina of panic from pantone 3242.

Ben Lindbergh (9:15:20 PM PT): Well, this reminds me of going to past bottoms of the 9th with Rivera on the mound. Most with happy outcomes, a few with decidedly unhappy ones.

Colin Wyers (9:15:50 PM PT): Ah, Pantone swatches. The memories.

Kevin Goldstein (9:16:14 PM PT): Wow. Greg Golson in the post-season.

Colin Wyers (9:17:38 PM PT): BR (NYC): Did I mention how impressed I am that you've been at this all freakin day?

I'm paranoid that I'm going to wake up tomorrow, look at the chat transcript and see that I've been talking out of my gourd for the last third of this thing. It's been a long day.

Steven Goldman (9:17:51 PM PT): Mo's small-sample September: 12.1 innings, 12 hits, six runs, two walks, seven strikeouts.

Kevin Goldstein (9:17:58 PM PT): I guess between Golson and Desmond Jennngs, the Yankees and Rays just watched a lot of tape of that Dave Roberts stolen base and said, "what if we need one of those?"

Steven Goldman (9:18:22 PM PT): Colin, I feel that mostly I've talked about tiny giraffes.

Ben Lindbergh (9:19:36 PM PT): More impressive: Roy Halladay, or our marathon roundtable? Approaching 12 hours.

Ben Lindbergh (9:20:14 PM PT): I'm disappointed that the Cole Porter references petered out early.

Steven Goldman (9:20:37 PM PT): Oh hell, Roy Halladay is Man of the Year.

Him or Jesse Behr.

Steven Goldman (9:21:21 PM PT): They didn't peter out, Ben. I just figured we should have mercy on the readers.

Christina Kahrl (9:21:47 PM PT): The toy giraffe breeders have to feel really good about today, except for the fact that they're about as for real as missile defense, Tony Mandarich, and guilt-free calories, and only slightly less expensive.

Steven Goldman (9:22:54 PM PT): That was NO TRAP!!!

Kevin Goldstein (9:23:49 PM PT): Um, I think he caught that.

Ben Lindbergh (9:23:51 PM PT): Catch.

Steven Goldman (9:23:55 PM PT): That was an AMAZING BLEEPING CATCH.

Christina Kahrl (9:24:03 PM PT): What are you looking for, Ben? Anything goes. ;)

Dan Wade (9:24:28 PM PT): Yeah, that was a definite catch.

Steven Goldman (9:24:30 PM PT): Over at the Pinstriped Bible the other day, Jay Jaffe said that the sooner the umpires are replaced by robots the better. I wholeheartedly agreed with him then, I wholeheartedly agree with him now.

Kevin Goldstein (9:24:51 PM PT): One extra pitch because of that.

Christina Kahrl (9:25:15 PM PT): Human fallibility wins another victory over higher standards, all to achieve a dead PA and a broken bat.

Christina Kahrl (9:25:16 PM PT): Human fallibility wins another victory over higher standards, all to achieve a dead PA and a broken bat.

Steven Goldman (9:25:18 PM PT): No damage, but still pissed at the umpires.

Steven Goldman (9:25:41 PM PT): Next, Carl Pavano. Payback is a bitch.

Colin Wyers (9:26:00 PM PT): Well we all know how *I* feel about entrusting that kind of important work to human beings.

Steven Goldman (9:26:22 PM PT): Resistance is futile.

Ben Lindbergh (9:26:29 PM PT): How I long for a Pavano playoff game in the Bronx.

Christina Kahrl (9:26:32 PM PT): Pavano had a great game against the Bombers last year...

Steven Goldman (9:27:48 PM PT): And Bud doesn't want more instant replay.

Steven Goldman (9:28:02 PM PT): Shall we say goodnight, folks?

Ben Lindbergh (9:28:30 PM PT): 25,000 words' worth of chatting in the books.

Christina Kahrl (9:29:03 PM PT): So, tomorrow is Pavano vs. Pettitte and Shields vs. C.J. Wilson... any strong feelings about how that's going to turn out?

Ben Lindbergh (9:29:13 PM PT): Let's play two! Wait, we've already played three.

Steven Goldman (9:29:30 PM PT): And on that note, we will ring down the curtains. To those who dropped in, to those who stayed, thank you so much for spending a hell of a long time with the kids from Baseball Prospectus.

Ben Lindbergh (9:29:49 PM PT): I like the Rays to walk a bunch and beat Wilson.

Steven Goldman (9:29:55 PM PT): I vote Pettitte and Wilson.

Jay Jaffe (9:29:55 PM PT): Unbelievable that even with a dedicated ump down the lines, they can't even get that call right. Why not just have a single ump who won't see everything and is just guessing at times anyway? Save the labor costs.

Steven Goldman (9:30:06 PM PT): Didn't mean to cut you guys off.

Steven Goldman (9:30:30 PM PT): I quoted you on robots, Jay.

Christina Kahrl (9:30:32 PM PT): I'm feeling good about the Rangers, obviously; I won't be surprised if the Twins knot things up.

Ben Lindbergh (9:31:03 PM PT): C'mon, Steve, we're just getting started.

Yeah, you can pull the plug when ready. We'll resuscitate soon enough.

Steven Goldman (9:32:16 PM PT): If the Colonel says it then it must be so. Once again, thanks to all for watching these three really special, nay, historic ballgames with us. No doubt we will be back as soon as our fingers recover. For the rest of the gang here, I say thee: good night.

Christina Kahrl (9:32:40 PM PT): Aye, many thanks to Colin for being the iron man, but to Ben and Steve and John and Jesse and everyone for putting in the time.

Steven Goldman (9:32:53 PM PT): If the Colonel says it then it must be so. Once again, thanks to all for watching these three really special, nay, historic ballgames with us. No doubt we will be back as soon as our fingers recover. For the rest of the gang here, I say thee: good night.

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