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October 26, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Rob Neyer

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

Rob, who would you say has had the bigger breakout into the national baseball consciousness, Elvis Andrus, Colby Lewis, or Nelly Cruz?

Rob Neyer
  (12:06 PM)

Close one, but I'm going with Colby Lewis. That 12-13 record during the regular season should be long forgotten by now.

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

Rob, the Yankees #1 need to address this off-season (outside of re-signing their stars) is starting pitching. I'm starting to sense that Cliff Lee might stay in Texas. Who else would they go after? Would a Jesus Montero and Joba Chamberlain deal for Zack Greinke make sense?

Rob Neyer
  (12:07 PM)

Not for the Royals, who have two outstanding catchers in their farm system. But yes, the Yankees might wind up going the trade route.

John T (Eagan, MN)

Seems fundamentally unfair to the NL team to ask them to take a backup player and make him the DH while the AL team has specifically planned for such a position all year (indeed, in the case of certain players, such as Ortiz or Thome, players who wouldn't really be useful in the NL outside of pinch hitting duty). And the flip side, that the NL has an extra backup infielder or middle reliever, doesn't seem to make up for the lack of a starting DH at all. Agree?

Rob Neyer
  (12:09 PM)

What's the alternative, John? At least the NL finally is the home team in the Series ...

Matt (DC)

Mr Neyritz, do you remember your article, back in the day, questioning the years and dollars on Bruce Bochy's contract extension?

Rob Neyer
  (12:10 PM)

I don't, but then I've written too many foolish things over the years to remember them all.

Caleb VanZee (Fowler, MI)

Next year, if the Tigers stay healthy and their starters are consistent, do they have a shot at beating the Twins to the AL Central title?

Rob Neyer
  (12:12 PM)

They've always got a *shot*, Caleb. But they went 81-81 this year, and apparently they achieved that .500 record on merit. I don't see much room for improvement next year unless they get some better players.

Rob Neyer
  (12:12 PM)

They've always got a *shot*, Caleb. But they went 81-81 this year, and apparently they achieved that .500 record on merit. I don't see much room for improvement next year unless they get some better players.

Rob Neyer
  (12:13 PM)

They've always got a *shot*, Caleb. But they went 81-81 this year, and apparently they achieved that .500 record on merit. I don't see much room for improvement next year unless they get some better players.

James (tx)

I am a lifelong Texas Rangers fan and have watched the overwhelming majority of their games this year. That leaves little time to watch other teams, so I know very little about the Giants (outside of Bochy and linsecum). However, looking at statistics, I don't see how the Giants will be able to match up with the Rangers offensively and our pitching looks comparable. I would say that the Rangers should be the overwhelming favorite to win the World Series in 4 or 5 games. Am I being too confident?

Rob Neyer
  (12:13 PM)

Yes. The actual number, just based on the way baseball works, is 6 games. Or 5.7 or something.

John (Dallas)

Who would you have picked to start G4... Hunter or Holland?

Rob Neyer
  (12:14 PM)

Based only on what I know, I would have chosen Holland ... but in Game 4 of the World Series, I think Hunter's the slightly better choice.

John (New York, NY)

Rob, the sample size of batter/pitcher matchups is of particular interest to me. Obviously a sample size of 5-10 PAs against a single pitcher does not yield any useful data. However, when you consider that in those 5-10 PAs, a single batter is only facing the repertoire of a single pitcher, my question is how many PAs are required before the data becomes significant? 20? 50? More? What do you think?

Rob Neyer
  (12:17 PM)

More than 20. I'm not sure if 50's enough. I'm not sure if any batter has ever faced a pitcher enough times to show us anything truly meaningful. I think what makes more sense is looking at how a hitter has fared against *types* of pitchers.

Andrew (Santa Clara, Ca)

After the Giants pitching staff had the lowest ERA and highest number of strikeouts in baseball, and then shutting down the Braves and Phillies in the playoffs, why is there the sentiment amongst ESPN pundits that the Giants staff is somehow not as good as the Rangers staff? A lot of people are talking about Cain's low BABIP, even though C.J. Wilson's BABIP is more uncharacteristically low in line with his career.

Rob Neyer
  (12:20 PM)

That's a lot of stuff for one chat question ... I'll just say this ... A comparison of Cain and Wilson is less interesting to me than Sanchez vs. Wilson or Cain vs. Lewis. And the Rangers do just fine in either of those. The Giants' pitching might be as good as the Rangers' pitching ... but their hitting is not. That's the bottom line.

Bubba (Hayward, CA)

Nobody will be surprised if the score of Game 1 is 1-0. Who do you think wins a 1-0 game in San Francisco?

Rob Neyer
  (12:20 PM)

The team that gets luckier?

Andreas (Hamburg)

Any non-baseball preferences for the WS champion like city, food, friends.. ?

Rob Neyer
  (12:23 PM)

Me? I've become somewhat attached to the Bay Area over the last couple of years. If anything, though, my sentiments are with the Giants because I love their uniforms and their ballpark.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

Rob, haven't read the link yet, but the one regarding small sample sizes in batter v pitcher touched a nerve with me yesterday, as I heard someone on my favorite baseball radio show say that the Ranger batters are 0-19 vs Brian Wilson all time. I wanted to scream, because I'm guessing a majority of those AB's are from Jorge Cantu and Jeff Francouer.

Rob Neyer
  (12:24 PM)

Or whoever. That number should not even be mentioned by a professional. It's utterly meaningless.

Ryan (San Jose)

Rob, I just spent $660 for game 6. Am I crazy for thinking I might see the Giants finally win the series?

Rob Neyer
  (12:25 PM)

Of course not. I haven't seen the actual results of a simulation yet, but even as underdogs the Giants have something like a 45 percent chance of winning this thing. I would say that's well worth your $660.

Nick (Santa Cruz)

Will Jonathan Sanchez start for the giants in the world series? If so, in what context?

Rob Neyer
  (12:28 PM)

Sanchez is starting Games 3 and 7. As I've written, I think he should start Game 4, with Bumgarner taking 3 and 7. But Bochy's been right a lot more often than not this month.

Damon (Santa Ana, CA)

Rob, you wrote the other day that the Giants have unattractive DH options. Considering that Pablo Sandoval is still their best offensive option at 3rd base, and has mainly been kept out of the lineup for his defensive shortcomings, wouldn't he be the natural choice? (Especially since the first two games in Texas are vs. righties).

Rob Neyer
  (12:29 PM)

Yeah, for sure. He's almost the only option.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

Do you know any more than any of us do regarding the Dave Eiland firing? Seems to this observer that Girardi would carry more blame. Maybe Cashman is going to try to save Girardi from himself, similar to Dusty Baker with Brian Price.

Rob Neyer
  (12:31 PM)

I think someone had to take the fall for Burnett and Vazquez, and the pitching coach is always the easiest guy to fire.

Jeff (NY)

While I agree that 0-20 from one batter against one pitcher is too small of a sample size, aren't the odds higher that the batter will continue to struggle than if he were 0-2? I don't think varying degrees of samples, with regards to educated predictions, is talked about enough. For example, 0-5 is meaningless, 0-10 is less meaningless, etc. Does this make any sense? Is there any research I can read on it?

Rob Neyer
  (12:32 PM)

I don't know of any research, but yes I would assume you're correct: 0-20 is more useful than 0-2. The question is whether or not 0-20 is useful enough to use.

Rob (Portland)

Rob - Not sure if you've watched much of the Giants this year, but as far as the eye test goes, I think Sanchez has look much more dominant (even after walks) than Bumgarner - While Game 6 obviously did not follow this, do you disagree?

Rob Neyer
  (12:33 PM)

Sanchez is more likely to throw a no-hitter. He's also more likely to get knocked out in the fourth inning because he can't throw strikes. You choose.

Wayne (Tx)

In your opinion who fields the best defense, Giants or Rangers?

Rob Neyer
  (12:41 PM)

I don't actually know. By the numbers, the Giants are slightly better. Just looking at the individual players, the Rangers seem to have an edge.

Andrew (Santa Clara, Ca)

Fair enough. What player do you guess pulls a Cody Ross/Benjie Molina and unexpectedly plays a large role in this series? Travis Ishikawa? Jeff Francoeur? Guillermo Mota?

Rob Neyer
  (12:41 PM)

Jose Guillen or Frank Francisco.

Dave (Virginia)

How far do the Rays fall next year, assuming they lose all their FA's because they've said they won't/can't pay them?

Rob Neyer
  (12:42 PM)

Let's wait and see what they do, but the loss of Carl Crawford is really going to hurt (Soriano and Pena, they can replace).

Paul (NJ)

Isn't Desmond Jennings supposed to have a good chance at replacing some of Crawford's production?

Rob Neyer
  (12:44 PM)

Yes. Some. But did you see Jennings' numbers in Triple-A this season? Not all that hot. Crawford was one of the dozen or so best players in the league. Jennings is years away from that. At best.

Mr. SKIA (Chicago)

Rob, do you think the insight Molina can provide on the Giants' staff will provide the Rangers any sort of advantage, or is the advanced scouting so sophisticated anyway that Molina's insider info doesn't amount to anything substantial?

Rob Neyer
  (12:49 PM)

I think if Molina's able to express himself with some lucidity, his knowledge could be useful. If only because it will carry a bit more weight, coming from him.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

I think it's kind of funny Bengie Molina is guaranteed a ring either way. I wonder if that situation has happened before.

Rob Neyer
  (12:50 PM)

Jim Bruske, 1998. One big difference, though: Bruske didn't actually play in the postseason.

John (Philadelphia)

Are the Phillies still the NL favorite in 2011??

Rob Neyer
  (12:52 PM)

Sure. It's possible that might change between now and April. But you have to figure them for 92-95 wins, with nobody else quite that high.

Morgan (Baltimore)

The Giants' ERA for the year was 0.57 better the Rangers'. Their FIP was 0.43 better than the Rangers'. Their xFIP was 0.25 better than the Rangers'. And, to top it off, they had an absolutely dominant last month or so of the season (including the playoffs). Why does anyone think the Rangers pitching is comparable to the Giants? Boggles the mind.

Rob Neyer
  (12:54 PM)

So much good information, but still so much missing ... The teams' No. 4 starters are only half-relevant, and their No. 5's aren't relevant at all. You're also ignoring the ERA difference between the leagues. And you're ignoring that Cliff Lee was a Ranger for only half the season. Try again next week, maybe?

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

I think Cliff Lee throws 2 complete game shutouts. What odds would you give me?

Rob Neyer
  (12:54 PM)

I think he'll win one game 5-2, and lose another 2-1.

Rich (NYC)

As per Andrew Baggarly: "Jose Guillen is not an option to join the World Series roster as a DH, Sabean said. Guillen is no longer with the team."

Rob Neyer
  (12:55 PM)

Yes, I know. Francisco's out of action, too. I was attempting to make a point, obliquely.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

It's been awhile since you wrote a book, since you've been hot on the presses with the blog daily in the last few years. When do we look for another Rob Neyer volume to add to our shelves?

Rob Neyer
  (1:00 PM)

Have you heard about the book business lately? There's not much room for people like me anymore. Plus, there's all this blogging to do ... Someday, I hope. I have four books in my head, but I wouldn't bet on any of them actually getting written. Thanks for asking.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

What is your opinion of Sabean as a GM? Seems to me he drafts well (good scouts maybe?) but his trades (Liriano, Nathan, Bonser for Pierzynski) and FA signings (Zito, Rowand, Alfonzo, etc.) have been horrendous.

Rob Neyer
  (1:01 PM)

Well, one might quibble with his drafts, too. Considering that Buster Posey is the first outstanding position player to come out of the system in quite a long time (unless you count Panda, in which case *he* was the first in quite a long time). Sabean's obviously doing something right, and I guess that's drafting pitchers.

Matt (San Jose, CA)

Along with the information regarding PA's going 0-2 and 0-20. Isn't Cliff Lee's 7-0 record in 8 starts little information. He isn't perfect in the regular season I don't see how we see him that way in the postseason.

Rob Neyer
  (1:02 PM)

I don't expect him to win every postseason start for the rest of his career, Matt.

Ryan (PA)

Rob, I have kind of a rules question for you. This happened in my nephews little league game the other day. There was 0 outs with the teams faster player on 1st base. The next batter popped up to the SS who dropped in on purpose to force out the runner at 2B and replace the fast runner with a much slower kid. Is this allowed in MLB?

Rob Neyer
  (1:04 PM)

First off, I'm a little agog that a Little Leaguer was thinking about the speed of the other team's baserunners. Second, in MLB you're not supposed to drop balls on purpose. If the umpire thinks you did, the batter's automatically out.

Darryl (Oakland, CA)

Why did East Coasters (espn analysts) have Jason Heyward winning the rookie of the year award ahead of Bosey despite Posey having better numbers across the board and playing a more difficult position? Is there something in the water in the East Coast that makes people not think clearly?

Rob Neyer
  (1:04 PM)

Yes, that's exactly it. Finally we've gotten to the bottom of this vexing issue.

David (Overland Park, KS)

Rob, Rob, Rob! You should tell them about how Heyward had better numbers and about how Posey only caught for like 2 and a half months. Tell 'em!

Rob Neyer
  (1:07 PM)

Nah, that's okay. If they don't know already, it's because they don't want to know. Fans are funny that way.

Dominic (Santa Clara, CA)

Is there anything to be taken from the fact that the Giants had two more wins than the Rangers even though the Rangers played in by far a worse division (second place finished 500 in AL West as opposed to 556 in NL West) as well as the Giants having a higher run differential?

Rob Neyer
  (1:10 PM)

Please read my blog, my friend. I go over all this in some detail. And until next time, "Be joyful though you have considered all the facts."