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This week in the podcast:
The Outcomes get ready for Scoresheet playoff season. They take reader questions, decide whether to dump a contender, and then discuss budding superstar Tsuyoshi Wada. Then, the Outcomes describe what they look for in a playoff contender—strangely, no one ever suggests "a good team"—and compare building a playoff roster to setting weekly lineups. Finally, they take you through the best things they saw this week, featuring cyborg houseware, the vengeance of Erik Kratz, and the true feeling of anger and resignation that comes only after being forced to listen to Sean Casey and Billy Ripken for three hours. Playoff fever! It's probably not contagious!

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How many ways are there to spell your name, Jared Weiss? I know of a Jarrod Washburn and a Jered Weaver. Where does that name come from? When did it become a name?

OK, a Scoresheet play-off question: with Cliff Lee down, Kazmir becomes my no. 2 starter and Shields becomes my no.3 with, yikes, C.J. Wilson as my no. 4 guy. I could go with Bud Norris or take a chance that Drew Pomeranz returns to Oakland's rotation, but we don't have any lead days in September to see.

My thoughts are about having Shields as a no. 3. Should I trade for someone better? I can't find a taker for Lee. I loathe to trade picks and really good prospects for play-off pushes. I've seen it backfire so often.

I'm also wondering if getting cute by putting Shields in the no. 2 spot is really helpful towards the strategy that the series is likely to go 7 games and I'd rather have Kazmir or King Felix pitching that game. I think that would be a mistake. A series could end in the 6th game, while Shields might have had a better chance in the 7th game. Luck balancing in accumulative, so just as it is worth putting your best hitters at the top of you order not just for the advantage of getting them extra at bats, but adding to the expected run value right away, it works the same with pitchers. I'm sticking with 1. Felix, 2. Kazmir, 3. Shields, 4. ??? What do you all think?
Not to speak for my compatriots, but I think Shields is perfect adequate as a #3 starter for a playoff team. September being what it is, I think you could make a case for him as the #2 starter anyway, what with the Royals having an easier schedule and Shields having a stronger record of durability.

I think I'd go with Pomeranz as a low-hook #4, personally. He's built up the best banked performance, and I think the downside of Pomeranz not getting a start is just that you end up with one of your other lesser choices anyway, no? Granted, as a Scoresheet "expert," I should know this off-hand, but that's why there have to be three of us!
Thanks, Ian. Both those ideas are well worth considering. Likely I will take a chance on Pomeranz, except if he doesn't have a start, what happens to his innings? Scoresheet doesn't allow us to list the 4th starter as a reliever as I thought they used to. My understanding is that he would be the 5th reliever from both sides. Is that right?
I have confirmed that, indeed, if Pomeranz (or anyone else listed as a starter) only relieves the last four weeks of the season, Scoresheet uses him in your pen with an EI of 1 and a Rank against either sided batters of 5.