Chat with Rob Neyer
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Rob Neyer (12:01 PM)
Man, we have a *lot* of chats here at ESPN.com. This is one of them ...
Bentos, Suwanee, GA
Rob, should Willits have been out? Don't you have to have a "voluntary and intentional" release of the ball to show control?
Rob Neyer (12:03 PM)
I didn't have a chance to check the rule last night (or this morning), but this is essentially the same as a middle infielder who drops the ball -- after forcing a runner at second base -- who drops the ball while making a transfer from glove to hand, right? I'm 99 percent sure that was the correct call.
Rob - How did Aybar miss that squeeze???
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
You ever try to bunt a 90+ fastball that's heading for your knee? Trust me: It's not easy.
Rob - if you are willing to take the chance on a suicide squeeze, should you really be upset as a player or manager if the outcome is negative, no matter what happened?
Rob Neyer (12:08 PM)
Yeah, I think that's right. You know you're rolling the dice and can't feel too bad if they come up wrong.
Do you think that Francona was managing to the save by not bringing in Papelbon to face Vlad? If Papelbon couldn't give much, Francona could have brought in Masterson or Delcarmen to get lesser hitters out in the 9th.
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
It's reached the point where we have to be careful about questioning the wisdom of Mr. Francona. But yes, I know a lot of smart people who couldn't figure why Papelbon didn't pitch last night.
Kokroc (NY, NY)
My comment in your mendoza thread notwithstanding about your employment by espn, why pull Lackey? Besides his defense not picking him up, he looked pretty good to me. Also, can't we just let questec (sp?) call games at this point? The umpires could have an itty bitty ear piece, but it is absurd that they control the outcome of many games.
Rob Neyer (12:14 PM)
Didn't see your comment yet, but I'm sure it was constructive ... Lackey was pulled after 96 pitches, so presumably could have gone another inning. But you have to think Scioscia knows his pitchers a little better than we do. As for the umpires, I only noticed one awful call. Granted, it was a big strikeout for Lester ...
What are your predictions for the ALCS?
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
I'm surprised to find myself picking the Rays, because the Red Sox right now are sort of the Yankees of the late '90s, where you just expect them to win everything. Objectively, though, I'm looking at a team with a gimpy ace, a gimpy right fielder, and a hole at third base. So I'm going with the Rays.
Rob, that was a nice piece about Edmonds and the Hall of Fame. What do you make of Jeff Kent's chances? He strikes me as a modern-day shadow of Rogers Hornsby.
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
The guy destroyed the record for home runs by a second baseman. Hard to figure how you keep him out of the Coop.
The idea of Questec is good but the execution was poor. Every league now though has officials to supervise and officiate the officials. Would you say MLB's is the weakest?
Rob Neyer (12:18 PM)
Yes, and probably because MLB's officials have the strongest union.
Why is nobody talking about Mauer's second batting title?
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
You got me. You've got one catcher who's now won more batting titles than all the other catchers, ever. Seems like a big story to me.
Is "pitching to contact" a legitimate strategy, or just something announcers say about a pitcher who doesn't strike anybody out?
Rob Neyer (12:22 PM)
I don't know that it's much of a strategy, or even a tactic. It's better used (as you suggest) as a description after the fact. A few teams really have promoted it as a strategy, with predictably unfortunate results.
Craig (New York, NY)
With Lowell out, what do the Sox do at the corners? Youk at 1st and Lowrie at 3rd, with Cora at short? Kotsay take over 1st and move Youk to 3rd?
Rob Neyer (12:24 PM)
Francona seems to be amazingly flexible, so we'll probably see both of those options and maybe one or two more. By the way, have you ever seen a first baseman with more range than Kotsay showed last night? I think that was the most impressive thing I've ever seen a first baseman do.
Hey Rob do you agree that Joe Mauer is a little overated? Granted the man won 2 batting titles but he doesn't hit for power, does not have great speed and have never played more then 150 games in a year.
Rob Neyer (12:29 PM)
In fact, I believe that he's terribly underrated. I believe that he was one of the two most valuable players in the league last year, and yet he finished sixth. I believe that he was one of the two or three most valuable players in the league this year, and yet he'll be lucky to finish sixth.
Steve (Issaquah, Wa)
Rob, What do you think about Lackeys comments saying "We are way better than they are. We lost to a team not as good as us."
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
I try to never hold someone's comments in the heat of the moment against them. Also, a week ago almost everyone said the Angels were the better team (even though they weren't). Can you blame Lackey for believing it?
I see you're taking the Phillies in 7. I always got the impression that you hated the Phillies so I'm really surprised (1980?). Even more surprised that you're the only analyst that picked them. What's your logic behind it?
Rob Neyer (12:32 PM)
I can't really be the only one who picked them. Can I? My logic is that they won more games, had a better run differential, and played tougher competition during the season. Oh, and they're the home team in the series. What's the logic behind picking the Dodgers?
Rob, are the Red Sox the new "Evil Empire." Have they become so good that the every fan either loves or hates the Red Sox?
Rob Neyer (12:36 PM)
I don't know, but they seem to me awfully hard to hate. Unless you're in New York, I mean. The Red Sox play the game the right way, they treat their employees well, and they play in a charmingly ancient ballpark. I can see not actively pulling for them, after all their success. But I'd have a hard time actively rooting against them.
The logic behind picking the Dodgers is that if they have Manny, Furcal and Blake for 162 games this year, they most likely win more games than the Phillies.
Rob Neyer (12:38 PM)
That's a fair point, Mike. But the Phillies are better with Joe Blanton than Adam Eaton, and they're better with the June-September version of Ryan Howard than the April-May version, etc. I do think they're closer than their overall records suggest.
The media depiction of the Angels is a solid fundamental, mentally tough team that grinds out wins. All I saw against Boston was poor defense, poor baserunning and pouting over umpires calls. Have the Angels always been as bad defensively and on the bases as they showed in this series? Hunter getting thrown out at 2nd and Vlad at 3rd were not aggressive baserunning, they were stupid mistakes.
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
I think the Angels are a lot better than they looked in these four games.
Stephen, San Diego
Rob, I've been waiting to see someone rip Buck Martinez for his comments during Sunday's game about what separates closers and setup men. How is it that 9th inning specialists have cultivated this very special and rare case of short-term memory?
Rob Neyer (12:42 PM)
Yeah, if I were live-blogging the game I'd have mentioned that. It's possible that some great relievers don't have that special something that would allow them to thrive in the ninth. But I believe the great, great majority of pitchers who can get three outs in the eighth can do the same in the ninth.
Kevin (Glen Rock, NJ)
So, after watching KRod in this series, why would anybody on planet Earth give him 5 years and 75 million?
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
That's an excellent question, Kevin.
So are the next 6 years of the Soriano contract going to be pretty?
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
The next two or three years might be okay. But those last three or four years ... Blurgh.
Rob, are any Angel fans apologizing to you today or are they still saying you're an Angel hater and a Red Sox homer?
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
Haven't heard from them yet. But I'm not going to hold four games against them. Could have gone the other way.
Rob, do you ever seeing a team going back to a 4-man rotation? The original reason was that in the 70's the Dodgers had 5 good pitchers (Claude Osteen, Don Sutton, Bill Singer, Al Downing and Tommy John), but nowadays few teams have 5 good starters and there hasn't been a whole lot of proof that pitching on 4 days rest actually protects arms.
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
No, I don't. Not as long as I'm alive.
Rob, let's assume Beckett is fully healthy here for a mintue could the Rays beat the Red Sox while having to face both Beckett and his left handed clone in Lester in 4 games?
Rob Neyer (12:50 PM)
Well of course they *could*. But no, I wouldn't think much of the Rays' chances if Beckett had been Beckett recently.
Ernie: Narragansett, RI
I know why K-ROD will get $75 million. Its because, even in this day and age, there are still GM's who overvalue the save statistic.
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
Absolutely. And it takes only one.
Jason (SF, CA)
Getting back to Buck Martinez, is it necessary to have a super talkative master-of-the-obvious broadcaster (McCarver comes to mind)? Martinez talked so much last night that he may have swallowed McCarver.
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
He does tend the broadcast, doesn't he? Which is particularly odd considering he's in a three-man booth. More Ron Darling, please.
Rob, in your opinion, is the Arizona Fall League worth checking out?
Rob Neyer (12:55 PM)
Aside from having amazing seats for a big game in the Northeast, I would say the AFL is my favorite baseball experience. As a fan, I mean. You get to see oodles of future stars from the front row. Every game.
Matias (Buenos Aires)
So the save statistic is overrated but still Francoma almost cost the Red Sox a trip back to LA to play game 5 and nobody says a thing about it.
Rob Neyer (12:57 PM)
Well, we said something about it earlier in this chat. Does that count?
Rob, all but Keith Law got the ALDS series prediction wrong between the Red Sox and Angels. What was the difference between the teams on paper and the live outcome?
Rob Neyer (12:58 PM)
I picked the Angels because of Beckett. I'm sure a lot of others had him in mind, and also the Angels' superior record (which did not impress me).
FWIW the Dodgers were several games ahead of the Phillies in both second and third order wins
Rob Neyer (1:01 PM)
Hey, that's worth quite a lot. May I change my pick? Before you answer that question -- and before I leave you, and join Chuck Wilson on XM Radio -- please consider what Charlie Dressen said: "If I can't squeeze when I want to squeeze, where am I?"
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