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September 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jayson Stark

Jayson Stark
  (1:02 PM)

What's up, Chat Nation? I've got limited time today, so we'd better get started. There will be a trivia question at half past the hour. Then I'll have to bolt. So let's get rolling.

Brian (Charlottesville)

Do you agree with your buddy Buster Olney that it's almost guaranteed now that the Cy Young will end up in the Phillies clubhouse?

Jayson Stark
  (1:04 PM)

I was actually very surprised to read that. At this point, I'd vote for Clayton Kershaw, actually. He'd be the pitching triple crown winner if the season ended today. And he's barely behind Cole Hamels for the lead in WHIP. No pitcher has ever won a pitching triple crown and not won a Cy Young. There's a reason for that. But these guys all have two starts left, at least. So I'm not casting any votes till we reach the finish line.

Al (Beamsville, ON)

Jayson,What's the deal with Miguel Cabrera flying totally under the radar in all MVP discussion? The guy continues to put up 'Cabrera' type numbers and is in the top 3in almosty every single offensive category, and the guy isnt even getting a sniff. Put him in the Yanks or Red Sox lineup and his #'s would eb out of this world. Let Ellsbury, AGon, Grandy, hit behind Austin Jackson, Ryan Raburn, and Brennan Boesch for most of the season and see how big of numbers they put up. Last year the big knock on him was great numbers, not on a contender. This year he is leading his team in every category AND is on a contender making a push for the #1 seed and still no respect!What gives???

Jayson Stark
  (1:06 PM)

He's got to be in the conversation. He might be the closest thing to Albert Pujols we've got in the American League, and he's had a great year and a tremendous finish. But to be honest, when I've asked people around the league -- and even on the Tigers -- who that team's MVP is, they've almost unanimously said Justin Verlander. And I'm not sure they're wrong.

Anthony (NYC)

could this be the first yr that a pitcher from each league won the Triple Crown?

Jayson Stark
  (1:06 PM)

First since 1924!

Matt (Boise)

Speaking of Kershaw, what was your thoughts of him getting tossed in his last start. He's was rolling and he's got to have the inside part of the plate. Even if he meant it...what ever happened to old fashion baseball? Seems like umps have a quick trigger finger these days.

Jayson Stark
  (1:08 PM)

That was absurd. Absurd. I don't blame Bill Welke for anticipating the Dodgers might send some sort of message after what happened the night before with Parra. But even if that's what that pitch was, it basically grazed the guy. It wasn't a fastball at his head. So let the players police themselves, the way they have for 100 years, unless things get out of hand. That's how Bill Welke should have looked at that. Beyond that, every game Arizona plays has huge implications on the postseason seeding and who plays whom. It was a total overreaction to eject Kershaw in that setting, for that pitch.

Mark (DC)

Why does it seem like nobody likes Bautista for AL MVP because his team isn't contending, but yet Kemp seems like the frontrunner for NL MVP?

Jayson Stark
  (1:10 PM)

I don't agree that Kemp is the frontrunner. I sense exactly the same reservations about voting for him that I do for Bautista. As I've mentioned in the past on these chats, I have an NL MVP ballot this year, so I've thought about this a lot, and asked everybody I speak with about it. There's some Matt Kemp support out there. But is he the frontrunner? No way.

Ryan (Dayton) [via mobile]

Jayson, what is the perception of yonder Alonso around the league. Does he still project enough upside that the reds could build a package around him for a top starter or middle of the order bat?

Jayson Stark
  (1:11 PM)

Absolutely. But I'm not convinced the Reds are thinking that way, not with the likelihood of possibly of losing, or having to trade Joey Votto, hanging over them. They have a tough call to make on that front. But people I talk to love Alonso's bat. And what's not to love?

Mike (San Diego)

Tonight is a pretty huge game in Boston, right? I'd assume Lester beats Nieman and Price beats Wake, but if we are getting the real Josh Beckett, it seems like Beckett/Shields is a toss up. If you ask me, Boston can clinch a playoff spot tonight because it means a split and no ground gained by Tampa.

Jayson Stark
  (1:13 PM)

This is absolutely the game of the night. I don't make any assumptions about any of these games, even Lester-Niemann, because Niemann has totally shut down the Red Sox this year. But I do agree this is a pivotal game in the Red Sox' (and Rays') season. Beyond what it means in the standings, it would be a devastating psychological blow for the Red Sox to lose tonight, especially if Beckett isn't himself.

Rick (DC)

Are the Tigers the team to beat in the American League?

Jayson Stark
  (1:14 PM)

They'd be my pick for team to beat in the AL right now. I ask everyone I speak to, and they're now the overwhelming choice.

Kent (NY)

How high would you rate this collapse if the Red Sox don't make the playoffs? As high as the Mets dropping 7 games up?

Jayson Stark
  (1:16 PM)

They weren't 7 up with 17 to play, but they were 9 up less than two weeks ago, so it's still an all-timer. No team has ever blown a September lead larger than 7 games. So if you're asking whether this group would hear about this one for the rest of their lives, you know the answer - especially in New England!

Bill (ATL)

Jayson, can the Tigers trust Max Scherzer in the playoffs? He's been so up-and-down this year.

Jayson Stark
  (1:18 PM)

"Trust" is a very important word in October. And as much as the Tigers talk up Scherzer's talents, starts like last night do undermine that trust. One of our other chatters called him the Tigers' A.J. Burnett. Ehhh, I don't know if I'd go THAT far. But Scherzer's inconsistency is one of the Tigers' few worries heading into October.

Kyle (PA)

Between Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon, which closer will be in higher demand this off season?

Jayson Stark
  (1:20 PM)

Papelbon. I don't even think there's much dispute on that. Heath Bell will have no trouble getting paid, but his strikeout rate is down massively, his opponent batting average and slugging are up, and people wonder about the PETCO factor. Papelbon has had a season much more in keeping with his career performance level.

Bawb (Fairview, UT)

Even if the Braves went 4-8 down the stretch the Cardinals would have to go 9-4 just to force a one game playoff. Should I have any worries as a Braves fan?

Jayson Stark
  (1:23 PM)

The worries I would have are about how they line up in October, not whether they'll get there at all. The Braves would have to just about lose them all to miss the playoffs. Check our standings page. Coolstandings estimates they have a 96-percent chance of getting in. The problem is, what kind of shape is their pitching going to be in, how healthy will they be and can they score enough against good pitching. A month ago, I thought they were a team that could win the World Series. Not so sure now.

Brian Sabean (San Francisco)

With Buster, Freddy, Sandoval we can through those positions out, plus the pill/belt fight for 1st, crawford at SS, Nate the Grate in the OF should I sign Beltran and be done, or should pursue another bat and if so power or leadoff?

Jayson Stark
  (1:25 PM)

Hey Brian, you'd better pick up a copy of the San Jose Mercury News. Andy Baggarly has an interview with Beltran in today's editions, in which he says he'd need to see your team do more to upgrade its offense around him before he'd be interested in coming back. I think that's a cover, since he's a Scott Boras client, so it's going to be about the $$$$$$$. But if you're interested, you'd better start chasing Jose Reyes, too.

Bobba (Denver)

Re: Kyle in PAChances Madson gets a better deal than either of them?

Jayson Stark
  (1:26 PM)

I'd say no chance that happens. Papelbon and Bell have done it longer. Bell can use arbitration for leverage. And Madson only has a one-year track record. Most people see him in the range of three years, for $21-24M. Papelbon and Bell will get eight figures a year unless Bell takes a huge hometown discount in San Diego.

Jeff (OH)

In a previous chat this week, David Schoenfield was entertaining Votto trade offers and the one he thought seemed most realistic was Votto going to SF for a package around Bumgarner and Belt. Seem realistic to you?

Jayson Stark
  (1:27 PM)

Fun idea. But I detect zero interest from the Giants in trading Baumgarner - for anybody.

Jayson Stark
  (1:27 PM)

Oops. Meant Bumgarner. Deduct 2 points for spelling!

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

How crazy is it that the biggest concern Phillies' fans have heading into the post-season is who is going to be the FOURTH starter? And can you calm some of these nuts down and tell them that Worley is headed to the pen?

Jayson Stark
  (1:28 PM)

Worley is heading for the pen unless Oswalt isn't healthy. That simple. Calmed down now?

Vincent Smith (Union, SC)

Can my Yankees win it all

Jayson Stark
  (1:29 PM)

Yes. People are discounting them way too easily. Biggest run differential in baseball. Can score against any staff. Can shorten any game they lead.

Matt(Albany ga) [via mobile]

Does Craig Kimbrel win the Rookie of the year in 2011?

Jayson Stark
  (1:29 PM)

Seems like I've been asked this in every chat for a month. I think Kimbrel is a lock. Case closed.

Mike (NY)

Which team will surprise everyone with a big free agent acquisition like the Phillies did with Cliff Lee last year?

Jayson Stark
  (1:30 PM)

Here's a name you might not expect: The Marlins. Check out today's Rumblings and Grumblings.

Jayson Stark
  (1:31 PM)

All right, I've gotta run. So it's trivia time. This one isn't that tough, so I expect you guys not to whiff. There are five active players who have gotten 2,000 hits for one team at some point in their careers. Go get 'em!

Kevin (Severn, MD)

What's your take on Valverde? I know he like 44 for 44 in save opps but he seems to make things so close sometimes. Does he still have what it takes to get through the playoffs shutting down the best teams late in games and not just AL Central foes?

Jayson Stark
  (1:32 PM)

He's a little scary, even for the Tigers. But it's hard to argue with 44 for 44. Still time to bring back Todd Jones!

Jayson Stark
  (1:32 PM)

OK, let's take those trivia answers. And by the way, I meant six active hitters, not five. Sorry!

Chris (Chicago)

Chipper

Jayson Stark
  (1:32 PM)

Good one. That's one down.

Charles (San Jose)

Jeter

Jayson Stark
  (1:33 PM)

Easiest one on the board. That's two.

Charles (San Jose)

Ichiro

Jayson Stark
  (1:33 PM)

Yup. That's three. Three to go.

Bob (Lowell)

Albert

Jayson Stark
  (1:33 PM)

That's four. Good work.

JoeC (Illinois)

Rollins

Jayson Stark
  (1:33 PM)

Oops. I was waiting for that guess. "Only 1849" hits as a Phillie for him. So incorrect!

Ross (Work)

Michael Young

Jayson Stark
  (1:34 PM)

Good work. Newest member of this club. That's five. One to go.

Otis (Reading, PA)

Berkman and Oswalt

Jayson Stark
  (1:34 PM)

Thanks for getting that Oswalt guess out of the way. Berkman doesn't have 2,000 for his career yet, believe it or not.

Ryan (NY)

Konerko

Jayson Stark
  (1:35 PM)

I was waiting for that guess, too. It would shock most people to learn that all 2,000 of his hits have NOT been for the White Sox -- only 1,971 of them. Also got 32 for the Dodgers and 16 for the Reds. So that's a swing and a miss. Sorry!

Dave (Fredericksburg, VA)

Pudge?

Jayson Stark
  (1:35 PM)

Good try. But only 1,747 fof Texas

Kevin (Severn, MD)

Juan Pierre

Jayson Stark
  (1:36 PM)

For what team? Doesn't have 1,000 for any team.

JoeC (Illinois)

Big Papi

Jayson Stark
  (1:36 PM)

Nah. Doesn't have 2,000 in his career yet.

jj (salem,ma)

vizquel?

Jayson Stark
  (1:37 PM)

Sorry. I know he's the answer to every trivia question - but not this one. Only 1,215 for Montreal, 1,034 for the Angels.

Andrew (Pittsburgh)

It's always Helton

Jayson Stark
  (1:38 PM)

Bingo. You got it, Andrew. I know you weren't the first to guess him, but you phrased it perfectly. Thought somebody might guess Omar Vizquel or Posada, too. But I've gotta run, so I'm out of time to check. Thanks for playing!

Jayson Stark
  (1:38 PM)

Thanks to everybody who checked in today. Great topics, as always. See you down the road in Chat Land.