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Roundtable: NLCS Game 5

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday October 21, 2009 8:00 PM ET NLCS Game 5 roundtable.
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Roundtable Administrator (3:22:25 PM PT): Welcome to the NLCS Game 5 roundtable, where BP authors engage in a live chat during the event and answer our readers questions. This roundtable does not start until 8:00 PM ET on October 21, but you can submit questions for our authors any time before or during the roundtable by submitting them using this roundtable chat interface.

Steven Goldman (5:05:28 PM PT): Good evening, campers. Stevie G here. Other BPers will be along in a spell, a jiff, or faster than you can say, "Jackie Robinson." Take your pick.

Steven Goldman (5:06:31 PM PT): I just want to pledge to all of you, that although, as Steve, I am always tempted to behave badly and just play the "It's Steve being Steve" card, I will absolutely not take a shower until the game is solidly over, AT EARLIEST. I could be much, much later, perhaps even days or weeks.

Steven Goldman (5:09:15 PM PT): Also, in this chat, it's very simple: if you're standing on the base when tagged with the ball, you're SAFE. If you're not standing on the base, you're OUT. We don't improvise. Also, as a matter of policy, as it's impossible for me to watch both the baserunner and the outfielders at the same time, ALL runners are considered to have left early on any sacrifice fly. Sorry.

Dan Wade (5:09:48 PM PT): Steve, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: personal habits are not chat fodder

Steven Goldman (5:10:38 PM PT): Dan, I would take that as disrespect, but I understand that you don't mean it that way. It's just Dan being Dan.

John Perrotto (5:11:36 PM PT): Rafael Furcal is having a worse week than Steve Phillips.

Steven Goldman (5:13:27 PM PT): At least Phillips scored a few times.

John Perrotto (5:15:06 PM PT): LOL. Very true on Phillips' part. Cole Hamels certainly looking like the 2008 version in the early going.

Steven Goldman (5:15:53 PM PT): nhcohen (NY): Can I just say that, in general, BP has kicked their coverage up a notch for the playoffs? I mean, I always love it here, but chats, roundtables, analysis...a ton of stuff, and higher quality than usual. So just a general thanks (although not sure my employer agrees...)

Thank you very much, and we've got more coming during the World Series. This is a fun time of year for all of us.

David Laurila (5:16:55 PM PT): Good at bat for Ethier, to say the least.

John Perrotto (5:17:01 PM PT): Well, I guess I jinxed Cole Hamels. Speaking of post-season coverage, I'm hoping to be on site for at least part of the World Series.

John Perrotto (5:20:03 PM PT): Hamels' pitches seemed to start catching a lot more of the plate as the inning went on.

David Laurila (5:20:05 PM PT): The single by Manny reminds me that 10 years ago, in the ALDS, Manny was an Indian and the Fenway Park crowd chanted "Manny's hitless, Manny's hitless" during Game 4. He finally got his first hit in Game 5, finishing the series 1 for 18. Time flies.

Matt Swartz (5:20:10 PM PT): Pretty high pitch count for Hamels-- 23 pitches in the first. Ethier was obviously the culprit there.

Steven Goldman (5:23:32 PM PT): His high for this year was 123, so... 100 to go?

Steven Goldman (5:24:00 PM PT): It's hard to believe the Vincente Padilla is the last hope for a Dodgers World Series.

Matt Swartz (5:25:07 PM PT): He loses effectiveness before that, maybe 110ish. Manuel's scared of the pen (probably wisely) so he tends to leave him in a little long now and then.

Steven Goldman (5:25:45 PM PT): Sorry for the misspelling of Padilla's first name. I guess I had him confused with the director of "Gigi."

John Perrotto (5:26:50 PM PT): It is indeed hard to believe that Vicente Padilla is the Dodgers' last gasp. Who could have ever predicted that just two months ago as I wrote in On The Beat today. I'll give Ned Colletti credit. He did his due diligence and believed Padilla wouldn't be a problem like he was in Texas.

Steven Goldman (5:26:58 PM PT): I am morbidly fascinated by the idea of these Phillies lefty sluggers blasting away at the short right field in Yankee Stadium II.

Steven Goldman (5:27:40 PM PT): Do you think those problems were exaggerated, John?

John Perrotto (5:28:11 PM PT): Padilla walks two in a row, equalling his total for his first 14 1/3 innings of the postseason.

John Perrotto (5:30:03 PM PT): Steven, I'm not trying to stereotype here but it I long found that it isn't fair to draw assumptions about Latin players. The language and cultural barriers are real and, many times, the American players and media don't ever really get to know some of these guys. I've heard bad things about Padilla but Randy Wolf, who I really respect, gave him a glowing recommendation when asked by Colletti.

David Laurila (5:30:30 PM PT): I still find it hard to believe that Werth used to be a catcher.

Steven Goldman (5:32:55 PM PT): I suppose the Dodgers aren't thinking too much right now about the fact that he used to be a Dodger as well.

Matt Swartz (5:33:12 PM PT): It's about time for Jayson Werth to get mentioned in the same breath as other Phillies superstars.

Matt Swartz (5:34:44 PM PT): Padilla at 23 pitches through one inning as well, but he tends to lose effectiveness circa 2003.

Steven Goldman (5:35:21 PM PT): Kind of hard to believe the Orioles traded him for John Bale, but I don't know if you can totally blame them for that, as his game was slow to coalesce in the minors.

Dan Wade (5:35:29 PM PT): Padilla and Hamels end up with the same number of pitches and same number of HRs allowed. Just goes to show that walks can kill you.

John Perrotto (5:35:47 PM PT): It's hard to believe the Dodgers released Werth (who Jim Tracy felt was nothing more than a bench player) and that the Phillies were playing Geoff Jenkins ahead of him at the start of last season.

John Perrotto (5:39:28 PM PT): That's about as far as James Loney can hit a ball.

John Perrotto (5:44:07 PM PT): Seems odd to see Hamels struggling so much against LHBs.

Steven Goldman (5:45:22 PM PT): Ken (NY): Regarding Phillies hitters in YS III (YS II closed last year), I'm quite excited to see how many of them Sabathia can strikeout in one game. He's going to be a really tough match up for them. Pettitte could be too.

Yeah, I know it's really YS III, but not everyone in the general audience makes that distinction. For awhile I was referring to it as Yankee Stadium: the Sequel or Yankee Stadium Deluxe or anything else I could think of, but eventually I gave in... The Yankees lefties will have some advantages (though Pettitte used to have more of a reverse split) but I don't think they can totally negate the park. Fortunately for the Yankees, the same thing goes for the Phils' lefties as well.

Steven Goldman (5:47:10 PM PT): Okay... Who turned off the gravity in Philadelphia?

Steph Bee (5:47:13 PM PT): A homer for each half inning...this game absolutely won't be a slugfest.

David Laurila (5:47:23 PM PT): Quite the power explosion to right field tonight. Is this game being played in New York?

John Perrotto (5:48:03 PM PT): I'm going to say something really profounds here: The ball seems to be carrying at Citizens Bank Park tonight.

Steven Goldman (5:51:19 PM PT): Skeptic (LA, Toronto): In many ways, isn't Werth in the ideal situation (park, handedness in that line-up, late peaking...)? He's 30 now. Will have a nice run like Ibanez, or have a three year peak and then turn into Geoff Jenkins?

There's something to what you say, although I think Werth's better selectivity and defensive abilities will keep him valuable for longer.

Matt Swartz (5:52:45 PM PT): CBP overall doesn't play so home run friendly to right field (definitely a LOT to left though), but it really varies. Sometimes nothing goes out to right and sometimes it seems like routine fly balls go out there. It has a lot to do with the shape of the park and the wind patterns at the time, I've heard.

Matt Swartz (5:53:22 PM PT): CBP overall doesn't play so home run friendly to right field (definitely a LOT to left though), but it really varies. Sometimes nothing goes out to right and sometimes it seems like routine fly balls go out there. It has a lot to do with the shape of the park and the wind patterns at the time, I've heard.

Steven Goldman (5:54:11 PM PT): Okay, Matt, but how does the food rate?

David Laurila (5:54:13 PM PT): In the "It helps to have your star player perform well in a post-season series" category, Mike Schmidt went a combined 4 for 31, with no home runs, against the Dodgers in 1977-1978. In 1983, he went 7 for 15 with one long ball.

David Laurila (5:55:49 PM PT): That wasn't timed for Furcal's AB, by the way.

Steven Goldman (5:56:26 PM PT): David, I counter with George Brett, just about any postseason series he was in.

Matt Swartz (5:56:40 PM PT): The food at CBP is great-- I went to Games 3 & 4 and I think I put on 5 pounds during each of them!

Steven Goldman (5:58:59 PM PT): You have the makings of a rate stat there that would apply to many Americans. IOR: Incipient Obesity Rate (Ballpark Adjusted).

John Perrotto (6:03:09 PM PT): Thanks to the cheesesteaks at CBP, I gained about 10 pounds covering the postseason last year.

Steven Goldman (6:06:54 PM PT): tooci4 (swarthmore): Is Sheehan coming?

We have a policy of not commenting on Joe's amorous adventures during these chats. You might want to send him an email.

John Perrotto (6:10:57 PM PT): It's kind of hard to post anything after that remark, Steven. LOL.

Steven Goldman (6:11:16 PM PT): Rich "Dubee" conjures up "Romper Room" associations for me that most of you are probably too young to get... And lucky you are.

John Perrotto (6:13:08 PM PT): I wish they'd have Charlie on for the in-game interview. It might take two full innings. I say that lovingly, Phillies fans.

Steven Goldman (6:16:35 PM PT): If Padilla gets up this inning, Torre has to PH, right?

Steven Goldman (6:20:07 PM PT): Let me try that again. Padilla bats second next inning, so this coming frame should be it for him, right? That's assuming he pitches well.

Matt Swartz (6:22:05 PM PT): The police in Philadelphia greased all the poles along the streets in Philly today because fans climbed them in celebration last year when they won the World Series. My wife commented: 'Apparently, Philly police get their public safety advice from Home Alone.'

Steven Goldman (6:22:14 PM PT): Mountainhawk (Salem, MA): To Ken (NY): Sabathia wasn't that tough a matchup up a year ago in the postseason for the Phils.

Good point that, though Sabathia had a very different end to the season last year than this year. He had been worked a lot harder.

John Perrotto (6:23:19 PM PT): I would think so. They have to take a shot at scoring some runs sooner rather than later.

Steven Goldman (6:24:06 PM PT): The British did that when they had to vacate occupied Manhattan after the Revolutionary War. As such, the ceremonial flag-lowering/raising that we had anticipated didn't go off with quite the dignity we were anticipating.

Dan Wade (6:24:11 PM PT): That's still just the second non-home run hit of the game so far.

John Perrotto (6:24:27 PM PT): Brett Myers wore Sabathia out in the game at Philly with two long plate appearances if you'll remember. He kept fouling off pitches. It was amazing.

Steven Goldman (6:25:11 PM PT): What's interesting about removing Padilla is that Torre won't want to burn a pitcher on this -- he's not going to double-switch out Martin.

John Perrotto (6:25:45 PM PT): They grease all the flagpoles in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

David Laurila (6:26:20 PM PT): They greased the poles? Why would there be wild celebrations after an NLCS win when you're the defending champions? I understand why the city of Boston went nuts after the 2004 ALCS, but those circumstances were quite different.

Steph Bee (6:26:32 PM PT): Steve - Definitely. Last season, Sabathia was up to 253 IP before the playoffs even came around. This year, he's holding at 252.2 IP (playoffs included) with tons more rest and days between starts that he had last year.

Matt Swartz (6:26:57 PM PT): Myers is a .121/.167/.147 hitter career, but he went 4 for 5 with a walk in the postseason last year.

John Perrotto (6:28:55 PM PT): I covered that game Brewers-Phillies game and I'm also certain Myers had 10-pitch and nine-pitch ABs. It was something to behold and it really frustrated the big lefty.

Steven Goldman (6:29:05 PM PT): No one can know just how many "greased pole" jokes I'm holding back right now. And Padilla is greasing Joe Torre's pole to the World Series (how's that for a segue?) as he fails to get through the inning. Now the Dodgers will have to not only stop the bleeding but burn a reliever and pinch-hitter on this transaction.

David Laurila (6:29:07 PM PT): As Padilla walks off, Rangers fans nod knowingly.

Matt Swartz (6:30:46 PM PT): As a Phillies fan, I'm very happy that Torre loves his small sample sizes. It's been nice facing Belliard instead of Hudson, and I'm really glad we didn't have Kershaw today too.

Steven Goldman (6:33:13 PM PT): Torre was a good fit for the Yankees in the 1996-2000 years, never as a tactician but as a professional baseball personality in an organization that got pulled in too many directions by its owner. However, sometime after that, not only did the owner recede and that aspect of things became less important, but Torre's thinking ossified.

Matt Swartz (6:35:25 PM PT): David (Delaware): There will be wild celebrations after the Phillies win the pennant (if they win the pennant) because it's Philadelphia, and the fans still haven't quite gotten their head around the idea that the team is even in the postseason, never mind defending a title.

This is my impression as well. The city started to feel excited before the Eagles played in the NFC Championship Game last year, I think buying into the whole curse being removed thing, but then got deflated again with the loss to the Cardinals.

Steven Goldman (6:36:00 PM PT): He's also 69 years old, and you'd have a hard time finding managers who were learning new tricks, or managing at all, at that age.

David Laurila (6:41:10 PM PT): I fully realize that the series isn't over yet, but if it ends tonight without heroics, who is the NLCS MVP?

Dan Wade (6:42:17 PM PT): Matt - You may see Kershaw yet, looks like Torre is serious when he said all hands on deck.

John Perrotto (6:42:37 PM PT): It will be interesting to see what kind of contract Werth commands on the free-agent market this winter. Holliday and Bay are the top OFs but there figures to be a pretty good market for Werth, too.

Matt Swartz (6:43:34 PM PT): Maybe Chooch would be the Series MVP. It IS Choochtober after all. Maybe Howard. On WPA, it's Rollins for sure.

Matt Swartz (6:44:10 PM PT): John, Werth is signed for $7MM in Philly next year.

John Perrotto (6:45:35 PM PT): Matt, that's right. I got my years mixed up. I was thinking his contract was up this year. Well, he's a bargain at 5M this year and 7M next year.

Dan Wade (6:47:15 PM PT): That's probably the most excited I've ever seen someone be about getting hit by a pitch

Steven Goldman (6:47:50 PM PT): Is Sherrill in because Torre thought he was the only guy he could trust (debatable) or because he wanted to turn Victorino around? Because turning Victorino around wasn't the greatest idea.

Matt Swartz (6:47:56 PM PT): Yeah, definitely a bargain. Gillick probably nullified the entire Eaton and Jenkins signings with that shrewd pickup.

Matt Swartz (6:48:43 PM PT): Steven, seriously a bad idea to turn Victorino around, so true. He was a righty originally and just couldn't hit RHP so they made him learn to switch.

Steven Goldman (6:51:13 PM PT): Jon (San Diego): Um, does this mean AROD is a "True Yankee" now?

For the lunkheads who subscribe to such arbitrary distinctions, we should probably wait until after the World Series.

John Perrotto (6:51:22 PM PT): Hard to believe George Sherrill had a 0.65 in his final 30 appearances in the regular season with the way he's pitched in October.

John Perrotto (6:52:17 PM PT): You have to win a World Series to be a True Yankee. It's in the company handbook.

John Perrotto (6:54:33 PM PT): How about that odd statement by Buck Martinez about how pitchers are more likely to tighten up when they sit in 90-degree weather? Say what?

David Laurila (6:56:19 PM PT): Hudson says, "See that Joe?"

John Perrotto (6:56:20 PM PT): Well, that's one more home run than Ronnie Belliard has hit in this series.

John Perrotto (6:58:33 PM PT): Well, just like Ted Williams with the Red Sox, Orlando Hudson homers in his last at-bat with the Dodgers.

John Perrotto (7:00:28 PM PT): Some proactive managing here by Charlie Manuel.

Steven Goldman (7:00:57 PM PT): Buck Martinez's suddenly-evinced fascination with turning things over is getting to me. He could be flipping pancakes. And this: "Shows how much respect Charlie has for the Dodgers" on pulling Hamels. It could also be that Hamels isn't pitching well. Finally, can even Bobby Cox explain what Martinez contributed in that long platoon with Ernie Whitt?

John Perrotto (7:03:21 PM PT): Would you trust the Phillies' bullpen to get 15 outs?

Steven Goldman (7:03:58 PM PT): No, but I might give them a shot at figuring out a workable solution to healthcare reform.

Jay Jaffe (7:08:25 PM PT): Greeting from my NYC bunker, where I've been huddled with a pitcher of beer and some writerly types while braced for the seemingly inevitable end of the Dodgers' season. have to say that the one path to survival goes through the Philly bullpen, and Manny As the tying run at the plate is the faintest glimmer of hope.

Steven Goldman (7:09:44 PM PT): I wish managers understood something that Casey Stengel, the originator of a lot of modern platoon thinking, understood (I brought this up in one of the other roundtables we did). Getting the platoon advantage is important, but you don't go after it to the extent that you switch out a good pitcher for a bad one. In other words, while I understand that you don't let Ramirez hit against a lefty, I do worry about burning Happ so frivolously at this point in the game.

Steven Goldmanq (7:13:25 PM PT): Manny might want to shower away the pain of that foul ball.

Steph Bee (7:14:16 PM PT): Or he may want to take some tips from Bucky Dent.

Christina Kahrl (7:14:52 PM PT): I was intrigued to see the whole Belliard-hook angle play out (or not), so believe it was an interesting inning.

John Perrotto (7:14:58 PM PT): I honestly thought that pitching change had no chance of working out. Score one for Big Chuck.

Jay Jaffe (7:15:53 PM PT): Overheard from one Joe Sheehan: if the answer is Chad Durbin, you've asked the wrong question.

Manny's inability to take the HBP or sell the foul off the foot norwithstanding.

Matt Swartz (7:16:20 PM PT): Lost (the island): Who is Chooch, and what is WPA?

Chooch = Carlos Ruiz's nickname
WPA = Win Percentage Added, measures the % chance of winning before and after at-bats and sums them up.

David Laurila (7:17:59 PM PT): Two questions: 1. Should Gabby Cravvath be in the Hall of Fame? 2. Was Cravvath better than Ryan Howard?

Steven Goldman (7:21:04 PM PT): Short career in a tiny park. I don't buy it. Neat post-career work as a judge in California.

Christina Kahrl (7:25:10 PM PT): There probably isn't a stathead--of a certain age--in the room who isn't thinking Kershaw in relief and being reminded of Danny Jackson in the '85 ALCS.

Jay Jaffe (7:25:31 PM PT): I don't have my spreadsheet here at the bar- I tried it in the last round and had to defend against wet willies (not actually true) but Cravath has never come across the radar as a potential VC selection.

Christina Kahrl (7:28:30 PM PT): To revisit my previous point, I'm disappointed that Torre didn't keep Hudson and burn Belliard, and double-switch. Not simply for the tactical elegance, but because three at-bats from Belliard against LHPs seems like enough effort to get value out of him against receiving value for O-Dog's glove and preserve pinch-hitting options for later.

Jay Jaffe (7:28:45 PM PT): First plus play Martin has made this postseason.

John Perrotto (7:35:29 PM PT): Chad Durbin, Phillies' bullpen stabilizer. Who woulda thunk it?

Christina Kahrl (7:36:26 PM PT): F. Leghorn (Denver): Is it too early to mention how excited I am about a Phillies-Yankees matchup? Pretty clearly they are the two best teams in the league. These crowds in Philly are electric.

Well, I don't think so, but my family pre-plans funerals. So, looking at the possibility--for argument's sake--I can't say there's a better way to frame the Phillies' bid for becoming the first NL repeater since the Machine than to have them go up against Mammon in pinstripes. Or for the Yankees to take their most recent shot at tally-adding than run up against the defending pennant-winners. So rock on, it's a better narrative than seeing Manny and Joe Torre become the new superfriends to go up against the pinstriped menace.

Steven Goldman (7:36:29 PM PT): Bringing up Gavvy Cravath led to my missing most of that last half-inning while discussing another former Phillie--Ed Delahanty--with my wife.

Jay Jaffe (7:37:48 PM PT): For an NL manager, Torre has failed Double Switch 101 in this series, particularly re Hudson and Belliard.

Steven Goldman (7:37:49 PM PT): As I remarked in today's Pinstriped Bible, it's also a better World Series than we would have had given the inevitable tearful/resentful Joe Torre homecoming stories.

Jay Jaffe (7:40:12 PM PT): And as we all know, there's nothing that gets a woman going like a discussion of Ed Delahanty.

Christina Kahrl (7:41:02 PM PT): Miguel Cairo, the horror. I mean, really, with nobody aboard? And with his "ability" to reach base? I know a burn-worthy PH has his place, but this strikes me as another reminder that, when you play in a bandbox, best to find someone who has an instrument. Andy Tracy > Miguel Cairo.

Steven Goldman (7:42:02 PM PT): Well, you've met my wife, Jay... She's from Mississippi. Drunk guys wandering off of open drawbridges is a part of the culture down there.

Steven Goldman (7:42:47 PM PT): As we said earlier, turning Victorino around is just not a good idea.

Jay Jaffe (7:42:56 PM PT): And fade to black on the Dodgers' season right there. Call the Rabbi.

Steph Bee (7:43:46 PM PT): Well, it ain't over til it's over, but that sure helps nail down the coffin.

Christina Kahrl (7:45:21 PM PT): Amen, Stephanie, that's just glum for anyone hoping to avoid writing a Friday "Kiss 'Em Goodbye" bit about the Dodgers.

Christina Kahrl (7:48:24 PM PT): On the other hand, this *is* a Phillies bullpen with shadows of '93 draped all over it. I remember only too well gnashing teeth on a Philly-phan-phriend's behalf that Jose DeLeon wasn't eligible for addition to the roster.

Steven Goldman (7:48:39 PM PT): John Foley (Los Angeles, CA): Steven, in the even the Yanks and Phillies play one another in the World Series what will John Sterling do if Miguel Cairo comes up in a crucial pinch-hitting situation? I predict a complete shutdown reminiscent of one of Mudd's women.

Chekov: This place is even better than Leningrad.

Or like NOMAD, to give you a Star Trek reference for a Star Trek reference. His fascination with Cairo's godlike powers really borders on fetishism. He really sees things in that guy that no one else can. It's like he owns stock in the guy, the degree to which he shills for him.

Before the ball flew out, I was going to say what Christina said: there's NO ONE in the Phillies organization that has more vitality than Cairo?

Christina Kahrl (7:51:11 PM PT): And here we see Juan Pierre batting when Orlando Hudson was due, in a bandbox that rewards people who get balls to the gaps, and that's just not Juan Pierre any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

Matt Swartz (7:54:14 PM PT): As I said before, Phillies phans are very appreciate of what Joe Torre is doing for us this series. Wasn't it Torre who hit ARod 8th in a playoff game a few years ago or something, or am I remembering that wrong?

Christina Kahrl (7:54:42 PM PT):
patrick (mpls):
With tomorrow possibly being Vlad's final game with the Angels, what do you think his future looks like? Where is he playing next year?

He'll be DHing with an AL contender if he's wise, which really limits the possibilities to the White Sox, Twins, and Tigers in the AL Central, maybe the Angels if the price is right, and I'd throw the Mariners in there if the money's on the low end.

John Perrotto (7:55:19 PM PT): It is utterly astounding that Miguel Cairo has played this long in the major leagues.

Steven Goldman (7:56:01 PM PT): Yes... That was 2006, the same year that Torre left Rodriguez totally exposed in an SI article by (IIRC) his collaborator Verducci.

Steph Bee (7:56:08 PM PT): Torre did indeed hit A-Rod 8th in the playoffs against Detroit in the final game of that series.

Steven Goldman (7:57:08 PM PT): Christina, I bet Omar Moreno bids on him.

Matt Swartz (7:57:34 PM PT): David (Evanston, IL): So, does Pedro get a World Series start against the Yankees? For those who like storylines, that certainly wouldn't be a terrible one . . .

The only way this doesn't happen is with the Dodgers or Angels pulling off comebacks. Pedro vs. Pettitte, game three.

Christina Kahrl (7:57:57 PM PT): A reminder, a la Tony La Russa in 1990, that managers are just as capable of punk moves as players have ever been accused of.

Steph Bee (8:01:14 PM PT): So who is responsible for the wrap of tonight's game?

Matt Swartz (8:03:04 PM PT): BBBill (Hamilton, Ohio): Several points raised about batting order in these chats. I thought studies had demonstrated that batting order has negligible impact on runs scored. Is the attention being paid to lineups based on the idea that in a short series it matters more?

I think that if someone smart could make their opponents' lineup, they could probably screw it up enough to cost their opponent a run. Between realistic lineups that managers choose, there's maybe a less than 10 runs difference per season as I understand it. Certainly the Phillies do well to put a high OBP guy like Utley in front of a high SLG guy like Howard, but I doubt that lineup effects are more significant than that from what I've read.

Christina Kahrl (8:04:01 PM PT): BBBill (Hamilton, Ohio): Several points raised about batting order in these chats. I thought studies had demonstrated that batting order has negligible impact on runs scored. Is the attention being paid to lineups based on the idea that in a short series it matters more?

I think it depends a lot on what studies you refer to. A lot of people refer to research done two decades ago on the subject, using old simulators and projected across massive spans designed to indicate relative unimportance. Me, I buy into the Weaver/Stengel argument that playing for percentages matters as much on offense as it does on defense, and making sure that you get you minimize the number of at-bats where players are charged with doing things outside of their skill sets makes complete sense, especially in a situation when every fraction of value matters, as it does here.

Matt Swartz (8:05:27 PM PT): Mountainhawk (Salem, MA): @Matt: Pedro vs Pettitte, game 7?

I assumed Sabathia goes 1,4,7. It might be Pedro vs Sabathia if it goes to 7 games.

Steven Goldman (8:07:21 PM PT): What really needed debunking was the old ideas about the batting order in terms of Player A protecting Player B, or the interactions between a speedy leadoff hitte, a "bat-handler" at #2 and so on. Those things were always meaningless. I do think that whatever those old studies show, it's common sense that if you can get your best player 30 extra PAs a year by moving him up in the order, or get your worst hitter 30 less PAs by moving him down, you're doing something beneficial.

Matt Swartz (8:08:28 PM PT): Actually, check that-- Sabathia goes twice instead of three times if he is called on to win a game 7 for the Yankees vs. the Angels, because he couldn't pitch game 1 on two days rest. There's something that could move the WS odds a lot.

Christina Kahrl (8:08:58 PM PT): This is where I've decidedly disagreed with sabermetric orthodoxy, but here again, I think sabermetric orthodoxy has underrated the tactical nimbleness of a genuinely aggressive offensive manager. The coincidence of the "sabermetric revolution" of the '90s or the present, in contrast with the relative absence of aggressive big-inning managers over that same period, hardly helps, and nonsensical exercises like Bill James' study of bunt effectiveness from the Abstracts of the '80s (regurgitated, cheat for cheat, in his managers book), does little better. There's still a lot of work to be done on evaluating the real impact of managers, and much of it rides on effectively valuating elective decision-making, instead of plonking along, following outcomes alone.

Christina Kahrl (8:14:44 PM PT): AJM (Lone Star State): What about Vlad going to Texas to DH, replacing the dynamic duo of Andruw Jones and Hank Blalock?

What is this, an Enron joke? Dynamic:Hank Blalock::Sparklessness:Batteries.

I figure a reunion of Ron Washington's Rangers and Milton Bradley still makes a lot more sense, especially if you get the Cubs to eat cro^^^^HHHH... money on the exchange.

Steven Goldman (8:16:27 PM PT): And here comes the Phillies bullpen... This place is even better than Leningrad.

David Laurila (8:16:35 PM PT): A faint glimmer of hope for Joe Torre and crew.

Dan Wade (8:19:08 PM PT): It'd be a shame for Loney to take a pitch or two in these situations, no?

David Laurila (8:19:47 PM PT): One more baserunner and you need to get Jim Thome up this inning.

Steven Goldman (8:21:03 PM PT): bobbailey (Canada): Steve, I see your point about batting order, but doesn't maxing out PAs for your best hitter (putting him leadoff) mean that he will be batting with many fewer men on base, even with the extra PAs? Especially in the NL. Batting Pujols leadoff just doesn't seem like a good idea.

I think that you would lose in that transaction, but there are all kinds of other ways to skin that cat. I point to Billy Martin's 1985 Yankees, which often batted Rickey Henderson and Don Mattingly 1-2. Maybe Mattingly would have seen more runners if 75-90 walk guy Willie Randolph batted second, but Randolph also had no slugging, so he wasn't going to move Henderson more than one base, whereas Mattigly hit a lot of doubles and home runs.

Steven Goldman (8:23:26 PM PT): You know, if you told the average guy on the street that next year is Russell Martin's age-27 (IE theoretical peak) season, he wouldn't believe you.

Matt Swartz (8:24:05 PM PT): The other thing about batting order is that the leadoff hitter doesn't get much of a chance to drive people in, so you need to consider that when remembering the general rule that more PA for better hitters is good. You want higher leverage PA too.

Steven Goldman (8:26:04 PM PT): Matt, that's absolutely right, but there are all kinds of situations -- look at the Mets during their injury phase this year. If your batting order is Cheese, Cheesy Cheese, David Wright, and Rancid Cheese, you might as well move David Wright up, no?

Steven Goldman (8:27:39 PM PT): I bet Joe Torre is really missing Bernie Williams just now.

Matt Swartz (8:28:18 PM PT): Stephen, yes, true. You need to put guys who have good OBP in front of David Wright. Since the Mets didn't really have any of those guys, they might as well have pushed Wright up I guess (though I don't know if that's as true even in the NL with the pitcher being even worse at getting on base).

Matt Swartz (8:29:33 PM PT): BBBill (Hamilton, Ohio): On the subject of batting order, please provide perspective on the La Russa "strategy" of batting the pitcher eighth.

It's probably a good idea if it doesn't change the behavior of the players. Getting Pujols up more PA and also putting three guys who get on base 30-40% of the time in front of him at 9-1-2 is better than a guy who gets on 10% of the time and than two guys who get on base 30-40% of the time.

Dan Wade (8:30:47 PM PT): Steven and Matt — In that situation aren't the Mets damned if they do, and damned if they don't? Given that Wright saw a decrease in HRs this year, it's the difference between hoping someone gets on ahead of him so that he can drive them in, or getting Wright on and hoping someone else dives him in. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't see there being a huge difference.

Matt Swartz (8:31:49 PM PT): Mountainhawk (Salem, MA): OK, now that the fire is out, does it make sense for the Phillies to push Lee back to game 2 of the WS assuming Sabathia is going to go in game 1. The path to a championship against the Yankees almost has to include 2 Lee victories, so keeping him away from Sabathia would seem to be good.

I would guess that putting Cliff Lee over the average pitcher increases the odds of winning by 8% and putting CC Sabathia over the average pitcher increases the odds of winning by maybe 12%. I'm not sure that the Phillies do better by using that 8% on game one when the baseline would be lower versus game two when it would be higher.

Matt Swartz (8:33:38 PM PT): Dan, good point. I guess the concept has to do with a theoretical medium-OBP high-SLG guy. For Wright this year and in that park, that clearly isn't true.

I suppose the real optimal strategy for the Mets after the ASB would have been to bat Wright 9th and see if they could help their draft pick situation.

Jay Jaffe (8:34:33 PM PT): Sorry to chime in after the fact but the discussion in the bar here is whether Thome should have hit for Blake. I'll concede that it it's the right move but if you can find an active manager with the cojones to pull Blakein that situation i'd be surprised.

Will Carroll (8:38:19 PM PT): Is it too early to start calling the Phillies a dynasty? 3 straight division wins, a World Series title, and a chance at another. They have virtually everyone back next year and all the significant players locked up for '11, though Cliff Lee might be pricey (and risky past '10.) There's no contract where you say "oh crap, that's bad" or worry about someone declining too much. Ruben Amaro could essentially coast until the '11 off-season and have a solid chance of winning, plus a decent farm system. No one talks much about this organization, but it's pretty solid in every respect and the results bear that out.

Dan Wade (8:42:05 PM PT): I think at least part of the reason they aren't viewed as a dynasty is the way they won their first two division titles. The Mets collapse in both 2007 and 2008 was as much the story as the Phillies being there to slide past them. Whether it's right or not, I think that goes a long way toward explaining why they don't get mentioned as a dynasty—they simply haven't been dominant in the way we normally think of. If they win the Series this year, well, that changes things.

Matt Swartz (8:42:20 PM PT): Music to my ears, Will!

Steven Goldman (8:49:10 PM PT): Although Torre could have made small moves like the one Jay describes -- and also never bothered with Belliard -- I wonder if the story of this series has to be that the Dodgers just didn't pitch and didn't hit? They're going to finish with a staff ERA around 7.00 and OBP/SLG under .300/.400. If you just get dominated like that, there's not much the manager can do.

Jay Jaffe (8:51:46 PM PT): Well, congrats to that the Phillies ona well earned pennant and to the Dodgers on an exciting season that came up a few games short. I think there's plenty of fodder for us to debate regarding Torre's managing in this series, but props to the Phils nonetheless.

Steven Goldman (8:54:07 PM PT): Does that start with the decision not to go back to Kershaw for this game?

Steph Bee (8:54:28 PM PT): So we've got the Phillies for the World Series...a match-up against the Yankees would be interesting, especially given the ballparks and the dearth of lefty pitching, switch hitters and lefty hitters...in any case, it should be a good one. Congrats to the Phils.

Steven Goldman (9:02:08 PM PT): Barring any final thoughts from the team before we wrap this up, I want to thank everyone out there in the cloud for watching this ballgame along with the Kids from Baseball Prospectus.

Matt Swartz (9:02:23 PM PT): Phils in six! If I'm wrong, it's because the number's too high ;-)

Steven Goldman (9:03:19 PM PT): Matt, is that against the Yankees, or the Angels?

Matt swartz (9:04:03 PM PT): Probably against Joe Sheehan :-) Just joking around, though. I'm too happy right now to care!

Steven Goldman (9:06:42 PM PT): Is Manuel now the most accomplished manager in Phillies history? I think he has to be.

Steven Goldman (9:10:02 PM PT): Once again, on behalf of Christina, Matt, Jay, John, Will, David, Steph, Dan, and myself, thanks for spending the last four-plus hours with Baseball Prospectus. We'll be back with another postseason roundtable ere long. Have a good night, everybody!


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