Welcome to the Rob Neyer Marathon Chat!
Welcome to The Show! On Monday, in honor of Major League Baseball's Opening Day, ESPN.com MLB Insider, Rob Neyer, took your questions in chat for a record 12 hours straight.
Neyer started with the first pitch of the day in the Royals-Tigers game, starting at 1:05 p.m. ET, and continued through the last game of the day between the Padres and Astros.
Neyer's chat lasted 12 hours, 1 minute, breaking the former SportsNation individual chat record of 7 hours, 4 minutes, held by Bill Simmons.
Neyer's new book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Join the Chat
Buzzmaster: Rob Neyer is crazy! But in a great way! He's going to chat from the first pitch to the last on Monday! He'll be here all day and night answering your questions! Join the marathon chat starting at 1:05 p.m. ET!
Rob Neyer: Well, here comes the first pitch in Detroit ... and I arrived home a few moments ago to find a nice surprise ... Extra Innings apparently is offering BOTH broadcasts -- the home team's and the away team's -- this year. I don't know what took so long, but it would be crass to complain now, right?Zac (Bos via Cle): Ok Rob, easy one to start with...Can the Indians use their underdog status in the Central to overtake the sexy pick that is the Tigers?
Rob Neyer: If they're underdogs it's very slightly... And there's the first pitch, a low fastball from Verlander to DeJesus (don't worry, I'm not going to be running much play-by-play over these next dozen or so hours).Todd (Kansas City): I know you're not buying into the Royals being much improved this year, but what do you think is a reasonable win total for the boys in blue this year?
Rob Neyer: I think 75 is reasonable and 78 would be one heck of a season, setting the Royals up for topping .500 next year.Jake (VA Beach): How cool was it that Zimmerman had a 9th inning walk-off the opening night of the 2008 season and the new stadium?
Rob Neyer: No matter what else he does, he'll always have that. But I happen to think he'll do a lot more than that. I think he's going to be a superstar, George Brett to David Wright's Mike Schmidt.J.B. (Dunmore, PA): Mr. Neyer: I'm hearing a lot about the Braves winning the NL East and a lot about them winning around 87 games. Can they win the NL East with 87 wins?
Rob Neyer: I had them winning 87 until Smoltz got hurt, at which point I came to my senses and dropped them all the way down to 85.John (D.C): Is it just me or was the new Nationals park not as impressive as other new stadiums?
Rob Neyer: One thing I've learned over the years is that it's really hard to get a good read on a ballpark until you're actually there. I love TV (!) but it does distort proportions. And really, for me Wrigley's the only ballpark that looks fantastic on TV.Scott: (Atlanta, GA):: How much of a problem is the clubhouse divide in Los Angeles between the young guys and the veterans? Will Juan Pierre become a clubhouse cancer due to his benching? With Kent and Nomar at the end of their careers do you think Torre will put all his eggs in the younger player's basket?
Rob Neyer: I don't think it'll be a problem at all, because that's exactly why Torre's there. Anyway, Kent's still plenty good enough to play and Nomar usually won't be healthy enough to play.DEREK (Grand Rapids, MI): Strikeout Verlander
Rob Neyer: Yeah, but it was an absolutely brutal call. I don't know who's behind the plate, but he's off to a pretty lousy start to the season.Efrim (Connecticut): Are you suprised how many analysts are picking the Braves to win the NL East?
Rob Neyer: Are there many? If so: Yes, I'm surprised. I'm not sure why, except from force of habit. Yes, they once won 13 out of 14 or whatever it was. But that team is gone.Lloyd (Longville): Any thoughts on this new baseball genius the folks at 60 Minutes discovered?
Rob Neyer: I predict big things for the kid.Ray, Burlington, NJ: Rob-thanks for the marathon chat today. Now that Torre has made the right decision to play Ethier in LF, how many extra wins will LA get from this decision? Can they now win the West without the 500-out Pierre in the lineup?
Rob Neyer: Honestly? It's maybe a couple of wins over the course of six months. I know I've been hammering on this all spring, and two wins is significant. But Pierre's an outstanding baserunner and Ethier's really not a great hitter, and the difference between their overall value is not huge. But you have to take the wins where you can find them. And these are easy to find.Tony (Missoula): How did you prep for this marathon? Did you eat spaghetti last night?
Rob Neyer: I stayed up until midnight, then I got up at 4:30 to catch a flight. Smart, huh? (I did eat some noodles at the Formosa in Hollywood. That's sort of like spaghetti.)John, NY: Do you know of an estimated start time for the Yankee game?
Rob Neyer: Sorry, no idea; I'm watching the Royals and Tigers. Will switch over at the next break for an update.Gary (Glendale): Why is nobody talking about the D-Backs? They were a playoff team last year and added Dan Haren and possibly a healthy Randy Johnson.
Rob Neyer: Well, I wanted to pick the D'backs, especially considering that I picked them last year. But for whatever reason the numbers just didn't add up, at least not for me. I love Haren and I think RJ will be real good for 15-20 stars. But I just can't push them past 85 wins. Which isn't to say they won't explode (in a good way) if two or three of the young players develop suddenly.Brandon (Colorado Springs): If not the D Backs who do you have in the west
Rob Neyer: I have the Dodgers. But that was mostly a "feel" thing, as they and the D'Backs, along with the Padres and the Rockies, were bunched up pretty good.Matt (Westfield): Do you think the Tigers are for real, or are their 'pen problems going to get them in the end?
Rob Neyer: I don't think it's an eithor/or sort of thing, Matt. I think they do have bullpen problems that will keep them from winning 95 games, but they're still good for 88-92 and I have them winning the WC.Tom (California): With an up and coming rotation and an exciting line up, would you be surprised to see KC win 85 games or so? I would not. I love Bannister and Bale. Gordon and Butler, this is a good young team.
Rob Neyer: I love Bannister and Bale, too. But with my heart rather than my head.Closet As fan (NY): over/under on the number of questions submitted today? Will you hit 100k?
Rob Neyer: I don't have any idea, but at our current pace we'll clear that mark with ease. I suppose they'll slow down after work, though. ;-)Joe (San Diego): Yanks game update? Should I call the wife and have her adjust the DVR or will this one get rained out? What a letdown!
Rob Neyer: Not looking good, Joe; it's still overcast and pouring, so it's going to be quite a while before anything happens in the Bronx. Back to Detroit for the Royals!chip (boston): over/under on the number of wins for Meche this year?
Rob Neyer: 13.Blake (Ann Arbor): I'm sitting in class right now and not by a Tv, but can someone tell me why Brandon Inge is playing center field?
Rob Neyer: Sure. Granderson's on the DL and Inge is Superman.David (Gainesville): I thought the Rays had stopped being cheap..why would they send Evan Longoria down to the Minors? Just to get one more year out of him before arbritration and free agency? Or, do you think it was a baseball decision?
Rob Neyer: Depends on how you define "baseball decision" ... For me, saving -- potentially -- five or six million bucks is a pretty good baseball decision.Kev (NYC): Rob, do you believe the Sox pitching is way better than the Yanks? In the regular season, Wang has been very close to Beckett. IMO, Pettitte is way more solid than DiceK. Mussina and Wakefield are both oft injured and questions marks. Lester has 11 career wins, so is he that much better than Hughes/Kennedy? and Schilling is out until at least the All-star break. They both have excellent back ends of the bullpen. Do you agree or is it more one-sided and for which team
Rob Neyer: Way better? I don't know that it's better at all. That's why I have the Yankees winning 95 and the Red Sox 89. Well, one of the reasons why.Stephen (Seattle): Do you think the Mariners have a shot at getting past the Angles this year?
Rob Neyer: Hey, everybody's got a "shot". But one of my odd predictions is that the A's will finish ahead of the M's. Unless Billy Beane conducts a fire sale during the season.Carl (Lansing, MI): I did not know that superman bats 9th.
Rob Neyer: That's how good this lineup is!Rustyn (Phoenix): Any realistic idea on when Bruce or Headley might come back up?
Rob Neyer: I figure Headley gets a month or so to work on his defense in left field, and if that's not a disaster he's up. Bruce, I don't know; probably depends on what Corey Patterson does.Jay (Burke, VA): Rob, how many wins do you have projected for my O's? I say 65...
Rob Neyer: I think I have them with 67, but that's a distinction without a difference.Corey (Nashville, TN): Is Bedard going to get his act togther in Seattle or what?
Rob Neyer: Didn't he already have his act together? I expect him to pitch brilliantly when he's healthy enough to pitch. And it's not hard to imagine the M's with two Cy Young candidates this year.Kev (NYC): What's the % breakdown as to why Bonds can't get work? 80% steroids, 20% attitude?
Rob Neyer: I'm not sure how to separate those things, Kev. Nobody would care much about the steroids if he wasn't a pain in the posterior, and nobody would care about the latter if not for the former. He's an imperfect storm.Brent (Laguna Beach, CA): Do you think that the Padres could be a darkhorse and claim the NL West or the WIld Card?
Rob Neyer: Considering that they came roughly one pitch away from going to the playoffs last fall, I hardly consider them a dark horse. They're about as good as anybody else in their division.ROD (BOSTON MA): Do you have the NNY Winning the EAST?
Rob Neyer: I do. And by a healthy margin this time.Joe (Madison): Ok, so Yost is really going to go through with batting the pitcher 8th. Let's be honest, how much is that really going to help the Brewer offense when it comes to scoring runs and if you were a manager would you do it?
Rob Neyer: I would do it, if the guy batting ninth wasn't too freaked out. You can gain an extra couple of runs, which isn't many but -- like I always say -- you take your runs where you find them. Pile up enough of these one- and two-run edges and you'll actually win a few extra games.Shaky (Detroit): Verlander is looking good so far. How do you think he will do this year?
Rob Neyer: Well, he's my Cy Young pick. That's pretty good.Ryan (Kansas City, MO): What happened with DeJesus? Why did Gathright come in the game?
Rob Neyer: It's not clear, but he seems to have perhaps tweaked his ankle while running down a double in the bottom of the second. He was limping around in the dugout, didn't look too serious.Rich (Pittsburgh): Why would hitting the pitcher eighth add extra runs... wouldnt it just increase the chance he was up in an RBI opportunity in the early innings?
Rob Neyer: Well, again, we're talking about a truly tiny difference here. But if memory serves it's because you'll have more runners on base for the No. 3 and 4 hitters.Douglas (St. Louis, MO): More importantly: why don't more teams go with the most efficient line-up? That is, why doesn't any manager try highest OBP to lowest OBP?
Rob Neyer: That isn't necessarily the most efficient lineup, Douglas, and in fact usually it wouldn't be. Do you want Ted Williams leading off? Frank Thomas? I once had Mike Scioscia leading off for Strat-O-Matic team, and trust me: that doesn't work.Jared (Irvine, CA): Do you see the A's winning 81 games this year?
Rob Neyer: Exactly 81, actually.Drew (St. Louis Missouri): What kind of year is Billy Butler going to have?
Rob Neyer: I'm a HUGE Billy Butler fan, and probably too optimistic about him. But I see him turning into a slightly blockier version of Edgar Martinez within the next two or three years.Dustin (Stockton, CA): A blockier version?
Rob Neyer: Blockier. You know. Like Dan Blocker.Nick (NY, NY): I like KC a lot. They have a different body language. Hillman is a vast improvement over Buddy Bell at the helm. Meche will have 15-16 wins by the time it's done. But, whoa is that Tiger lineup gonna rake.
Rob Neyer: Well, "vast improvement over Buddy Bell" is setting the bar pretty low. Everybody seems to like Hillman, but let's see if he can win some games.Josh (Jonesboro, AR): If you were to pick one surprise team that will make the playoffs this year such as Detriot in 2006 and Colorado last year, who and why?
Rob Neyer: I think the Blue Jays have a legitimate shot, because their rotation and their defense are outstanding, and Vernon Wells is poised for a nice big bounce. Rolen going down obviously doesn't help, though.Tom (Overland Park, KS): Are the Royals going to lead the league in hit-by-pitches again this year? Seems like this every year.
Rob Neyer: Probably, if only because DeJesus and Gordon are both baseball magnets. BTW, I'm not sure this is a good thing. What you gain in OBP you might wind up losing in DL.David (Denver): When you make your season predictions, you always say you run numbers. Once you've established the eight postseason participants, do you run a separate set of playoff numbers, or are your World Series picks more of a random but educated guess due to the nature of the short series?
Rob Neyer: The second one of those; my playoff picks are guesses, pure and simple.Mike (NJ): Good to see you picking the Dodgers to win the WS... Any chance we see Kershaw with the big club by June? What are the chances he has a Liriano-esque breakout?
Rob Neyer: Liriano's first dozen starts were a once-every-decade thing, but there's no obvious reason Kershaw won't be in the majors this summer. Well, except for that he just turned 20, and hasn't quite conquered his K/W ratio yet.Ben (Boston, Mass.): What were your thoughts on Bill James on 60 minutes last night?
Rob Neyer: I haven't seen it yet, but it's saved on my DVR and I'll probably watch today during a break in the action (if there's a break). What did you guys think?Nick (Cleveland): Is Gordon really as good as advertised? He doesn't look to have that much power, wasn't that good defensively, I don't know maybe I'm spoiled watching Zimmerman, Wright, etc or maybe I know a Casey Blake and Andy Marte when I see one.
Rob Neyer: Gordon's college career was fantastic. He was fantastic during his short stint in the minors. Last year he didn't play well, and didn't *look* well. History suggests he'll come around. I'm not convinced it'll happen right now.Chris (Portland): I thought it offered little insight to what he actually does. I have no idea why Bob Costas spoke more than James. In addition, I thought 60 Minutes made the Sox sound so desparate after 86 years that hiring James was a last resort option.
Rob Neyer: Yeah, well, that's TV, right? You have 12 minutes and you have to hit the themes you think the viewers expect. That segment really wasn't made for people like us, who already know who Bill James is.Cosmo (New York): Rob What is your most memorable baseball moment OFF THE FIELD
Rob Neyer: I don't spend any time thinking about them ... Brunch with Curt Flood and Marvin Miller was pretty great. I was young, and kept my mouth shut. Dinner with Jim Bouton. I've been lucky.Tony (Philly, PA): My favorite part of the Bill James segment was when he said if he could have any player on his team, it'd be David Wright. Do you agree?
Rob Neyer: Tony, my affection for David Wright is well-documented. And yes, Wright is No. 1 on my list (literally; I had a list last week).Ryan (Philadelphia, PA): In reference to that list, why did Cole Hamels not appear?
Rob Neyer: I still have questions about his durability. I don't think I'm alone. And I was very conservative with pitchers; I think I had 44 hitters and 6 pitchers on the list.Justin (Redlands, CA): Speaking of your list, I noticed you left off Howie Kendrick? Care to explain why?
Rob Neyer: Wouldn't you like to know! Actually, I'd like to know, too. I started with WARP -- from Baseball Prospectus -- and unless I missed something, Kendrick just doesn't do too well. Perhaps because of his defense, perhaps because he doesn't walk much, and probably both. I think he might have been the least defensible omission.Bob (Pittsburgh): Where is Jason Bay... he still has a lot of petential, especially if the Pirates trade him
Rob Neyer: Too old for a next-five-years list. Especially considering his 2007.Derek (Minneapolis): Since we're talking about your list, can you explain to me how Pedroia is 24, and Delmon Young doesn't even appear on it?
Rob Neyer: Because Young has not been even average yet. Maybe that's a poor reason for leaving him off, but if I had room for Delmon Young, I'd have found room for Chris Young and Stephen Drew, too. Maybe I should have. But I want to see the guy do *something* in the majors first.Jon (NY): If you get tired, do you think you'll give into the temptation and consume some PEDs?
Rob Neyer: Sure, if green tea counts. By the way, I've been asked to mention, every hour or so, that I started chatting at 1:05 Eastern and plan to keep going for roughly 12 hours. Hope to have you along for a good chunk of the ride.Steve (Richmond): Rob, what do you think about the order of the Yanks lineup as announced by Girardi?
Rob Neyer: If it's the same one I saw last night, it looks pretty awesome to me. Matui batting eighth, right? I questioned Damon at the top, but then I saw that his projected OBP is in the .350-.360 range, which ain't bad.Michael (AZ): Rob, did I get that right? You think Pedroia has done "something" in the majors but a guy like Chris Young hasn't?
Rob Neyer: Chris Young's OBP last season was .295; his OPS+ was 89. That's not good, my friend. I do still think he might be a star. I just want to actually see that potential on the field for a whole season.Ryan (NASHVILLE): Pedroia has done much less than either Young. Just because he was on a team that won a world series, surrounded with talent, doesn't make him better thean either one of those two.
Rob Neyer: Ryan, can I just say that you're nuts? I mean, quite frankly?Ronaldo (Detroit): What would your "walking to the plate" song be if you played?
Rob Neyer: I already have one: Elvis Costello's "Everyday I Write the Book". You can hear it every Friday night or early Saturday morning on ESPN Radio. Too dated, though? Then my choice is "American Idiot".Brett (Arlington, VA): Are you still watching the Royals-Tigers game? Does Tim Welke know there are guidelines for what constitute the strike zone, and they don't change from pitch to pitch?
Rob Neyer: No, he doesn't seem to. That said, Welke's strike zone seems to be bothering Meche quite a bit more than Verlander.Mitch (Phoenix): Do you pick the questions to be answered? You are refusing to answer the difficult ones, specifically why King Felix was not on your top 50 list of up and comers. What a joke.
Rob Neyer: Yes, I pick them. So many are coming in that I don't actually get to see all of them, as the screen can hold only so many. But King Felix wasn't on my list because I didn't think he was one of the six best young pitchers in the majors. I could be wrong.Jeff (Chicago): Isn't J Gathright just Juan Pierre without 44 million dollars? But is a starter for a MLB team? ;-)
Rob Neyer: Gathright's a lot of fun, but he's come nowhere close to demonstrating Pierre's baserunning skills, and never will.Zach (Cincinnati): Why didn't Brandon Phillips make your list?
Rob Neyer: He's not all that young, but the real problem was that I just don't quite believe in him yet. Might be different in six months.Mike (Milwaukee): Rob, I say the Cameron signing was more significant signing than Fukudome. I say this because I'm considering the defensive effect it had on the crew, and I love all the fastballs he's going to see batting in front of Prince and Braunie. Thoughts?
Rob Neyer: I don't know about that, but I would agree that the Cameron signing has been terribly underrated, in terms of its positive impact.Dave (Granby, MA): Going for the record today Rob?
Rob Neyer: Dave, I just try to take 'em one question at a time, and the Good Lord willing good things will happen for the ball club. Maybe someday when I'm retired I'll have time to think about records and stuff.Steven (tulsa): what does bill simmons think about you trying to take his record?
Rob Neyer: Why didn't anybody ask me what I thought when he was trying to take mine?Brian (Omaha): Do you think that Alex Gordon and Billy Butler will be playing in KC after their 1st contracts expire?
Rob Neyer: Leaving aside the possibility of extensions that take them past six years, I suspect Butler's defensive limitations -- he doesn't play defense -- will make him the easier to retain, since there are effectively 16 teams that simply won't have any interest at all.Jeff (Boston): what's going on in the KC-DET game?
Rob Neyer: Gordon just hit a laser into the RF stands to make it 3-2, Tigers.Schultz (Virginia Detroit): Rob, want do you think about the Tigers this year. Better then the Indians line-up wise?
Rob Neyer: Sure. By a little bit. But I have the Indians with an edge pitchers-wise, and acing the Tigers by a game or two in the Central.Orley (Florida): I think Alex Gordon disagrees with those that say he has no power. A no doubter off Verlander. What kind of power numbers can we expect from him this year?
Rob Neyer: He hit 15 bombs last year, so 20 seems like a reasonable guess for this year. Obviously, considering his pedigree we shouldn't be shocked by 25-30.seano (boston): Hi, Just entered. What list are we speaking of?
Rob Neyer: I came up with a list of the 50 best players, 2008-2012. I can't really drop links into this space -- or if I can, I don't know how -- but if you dig around a little bit you can find the list. Not that I want to argue about it ALL afternoon (a lot of people had a lot of issues with it, which is cool).Zach (Marinette): Rob, who do you have winning the NL Central?
Rob Neyer: Cubs by 3 or 4 over the Brewers.Bill W (Brooklyn): If you were a Hollywood exec who could greenlight one baseball book for a movie adaptation, what would it be? My choice is "Veeck as in Wreck," tho Bill Murray is too old to do it now.
Rob Neyer: Where's the story, though? How about "The Pitch That Killed"?Dave (Boston): By the same token, where is Joba on that list. I'm sure you have your reasons... I'm just curious what they are. You are aware that he had a .38 ERA last year right?
Rob Neyer: Yeah. Are you aware that he's pitched the grand total of 112 innings as a professional? Do you know how hard it is to project a pitcher with that little pro experience? For me, at least.Andrew (Shoreview, MN): Is Joe Mauer the best all around catcher in MLB?
Rob Neyer: My choice is Russell Martin. Durability counts.Zach (Cincinnati): So you believe in Kelly Johnson more then Brandon Phillips? They are the same age, Phillips has more major leagyue experience then Johnson and their 2007 season aren't even comprable. Can you explain? if its just a "gut feeling" thats cool, I just want to know how much credence I should put into said list.
Rob Neyer: Zach, you're way, way, way off. Johnson's OPS+ last season was 117; Phillips' was 105. Let me repeat: 105. Granted, Phillips is better with the glove.Alec, Chicago: The Brewers have Kendall batting 9th. How embarrassing is this? Is this the right way to go? Isn't his WARP negative?
Rob Neyer: Alec, we discussed this a couple of hours ago. Not your fault; nobody can be expected to follow along for 12 hours (well, except maybe me). But just as a general guideline, if there's some burning issue in baseball and you're not seeing anything about it, it's quite possibly because we've already trod that ground. So when you get some time, feel free to RTFC.Rob Nielsen (Chicago): Hey Rob, as I sit waiting for the rain to stop (at least it's not snow!)...what's your thoughts on Felix Pie? Legit everyday player, or Corey Patterson, Part Two?
Rob Neyer: A platoon (or semi-platoon) is advisable this season, but eventually Pie should be a good everyday player.Jason (Ventura, CA): Wait a sec, if you think Martin's is the best catcher, then how is Mauer ranked 20+ spots higher on the list?
Rob Neyer: He is? That just seems wrong, though I'm fairly sure I had some reason. Specious though it might have been. By the way, the Royals just tied the game. And they're threatening to go ahead. Baseball's a funny game. Youneverknow.Tyler: (Brooklyn, NY): enough about the stupid list already- trying to boil down every good young player into a list of 50 is a fine exercise in futility. It's fun, sure. But if you want to spend the rest of eternity fielding questions about it, that's your call.
Rob Neyer: Dude. I've got 10 more hours to kill. Don't take away one of my lifelines.Ian: I know you're a big advocate for Tim Raines into the HOF but outside of maybe six years (being generous) he was never healthy enough to be a HOFer. Hell, his last 11 years he had ONE season where he played more then 101 games. It's not like he was overlooked - he got MVP votes and AS appearances when he should have. But he was top 5 in runs only 4x. Most years he was in the league he wasn't a top 100 player, due to limited playing time.
Rob Neyer: Those are some points, Ian. Good points. But I have a lot more good ones that argue for Raines being one of the dozen greatest left fielders ever. Google Tim Raines Hall of Fame and see what you find.Brian (L.A.): Rob, PLEASE EXPLAIN your earlier statement that EI is offering home and away broadcasts. The published schedule lists only one broadcast for each game, and the televised menu lists the same thing. Thank you.
Rob Neyer: I'm watching the Tigers' broadcast at this very moment, and for most of the game I've been watching the Royals' broadcast. Haven't checked other games because there haven't been any.Corey (Los Angeles): What pranks do you have up your sleeve for tomorrow?
Rob Neyer: I told the guys in Bristol that I would do another chat tomorrow. Fools!Brandon (Colorado Springs): Matt Holiday 41? People still cant give the Rockies respect
Rob Neyer: He almost didn't make the list because he's 28 and plays in Colorado.Wayne (Burlington VT): Jeez, two hours in and not a single compliment on the new book. Once again, nice work, Rob. Thanks.
Rob Neyer: Thank you, sir. But 1) people don't have to like the book if they don't want to, and b) very, very few people have seen it. I believe it's not available in most stores until tomorrow, and while I know Amazon's delivered some copies, I haven't yet received the one I (pre-)ordered two months ago.Drew (Mpls): Is there a trend more annyoing than the "no one respects us" angle? Me and my people are pushing the new "everyone respects us and knew we could do it" angle. The problem is no one respects us enough to listen. Seriously, they don't think we can do it.
Rob Neyer: It's sometimes a good motivational tool for coaches and players. When fans say that, they're just being immature. I mean, quite frankly.Monte (Tampa): Brett Tomko??? Really? You get the lead and decide to give the ball to Brett Tomko? Why do I feel a five run inning coming on?
Rob Neyer: Yeah, I know. Tomko's a joke. After six-plus innings I'm not impressed with Hillman, who left Butler on the bench when they had a chance to blow the game open.Tyler (Boston): Hey Rob, any advice for an enterprising young mind looking to make a mark in statistical analysis? In what area do you think the next big movement will come? Quantifying defense?
Rob Neyer: Nah, most of that work's already been done. I think it'll have something to do with video analysis.Shaun,Detroit: Left Butler on the bench? he started at DH!
Rob Neyer: Oh. I knew I should have checked before I said that. It's weird, I've been watching the whole game while chatting, and I swear I've heard every name in the Royals' lineup at least once. But somehow I've completely missed Butler's at-bats.Andy (San Diego): Papelbon not on your list? Buchholz, Hughes nor Joba? Why no spots for the young Sox/Yanks pitchers? What more could they do to make the list?
Rob Neyer: Papelbon? If he were on the list he'd be the only closer. As for the other guys, all they have to do is pitch well in the majors for a whole season. Or two. Seriously, do you know how many young pitchers have looked incredible for a few months, and not won 50 games in the majors?joseflanders (chicago): Since when did Brett Tomko start throwing 96 with movement??
Rob Neyer: Well, I'd chalk it up to throwing in relief, but he's been a crappy reliever in the past, too. Anyway, Hillman's looking pretty good today. ;-)Will (Minny via AZ): I know it's about 4 hours before game time...but what have Twins fans have to look forward to? A glorious 2006 or disheartening 2007? I know that Detroit and Cleveland are the powerboys...but what can the young Twins accomplish?
Rob Neyer: They can accomplish .500 if a few extra things go well. It's not a lousy team to watch, though. Between Mauer, Morneau, and the young guys in the outfield they should be at least be interesting.Chris (Phoenix): Who will be better this year, Upton, Drew or Young.
Rob Neyer: I'm going with Drew by a nose over Upton.Jeff (New York): Is this chat for the cubs game?
Rob Neyer: This chat is for every game, my friend! I'll be flipping around quite a bit once the Tigers and Royals finish up. Promise.Rob (Philly): Fleliz's first at bat in Philly... 6-4-3 DP. Yay!
Rob Neyer: Yeah, well, he'll lose one every week or two, too. Nobody's perfect.Zach (San Diego): What are your thoughts about the Oswalt Peavy match up? I remember a few years ago Roy said he wanted to pitch more to contact. This seems to be around the time his K rate started to decrease. Do you know anything about this, and could he reverse this trend or is his stuff just in decline.
Rob Neyer: You probably know I'm not a big fan of the "pitching to contact" meme, but as Oswalt's strikeouts have dropped he's precisely maintained his ERAs. So whatever he's doing seems to be working just fine.Ross (Auburn, AL): I think it has to be pretty embarrassing for Jason Kendall to be batting below Ben Sheets in the lineup.
Rob Neyer: Kendall's talked about this, and doesn't seem at all miffed. I think with most players it's just a matter of explaining to them why you're doing it. It's not an insult and shouldn't be taken as one.Russ (College): Are you one of the many off the Homer Bailey bandwagon?
Rob Neyer: No, I'm not. If we thought he was going to be great last June, why wouldn't we still think so? Assuming he's not hurt, of course.Kevin (Indy): Rob, do you think that Wood is going to be the closer for the entire season? I just picked him up and I thought he would be good for a couple months.
Rob Neyer: I'll be surprised if he doesn't spend at least a month on the DL. The trick is to realize he's hurt before he blows more than one or two saves.Bryan (Queens): Mark Buehrle isn't very good. When will the mainstream realize this? He's the definition of one of those guys who gets praise because of his reputation, not his stats.
Rob Neyer: Boy, I don't know ... He's good for 30-odd starts EVERY year -- at least he has been, for seven straight seasons -- and he's got a 3.80 career ERA in a hitter's park. Granted, his K-rate these last two seasons is worrying...Eddie (Atlanta): Does anyone other than me outside the tampa bay area believe that the Tampa Bay Rays are going to be a good team this year and I believe a very dangerious team in the years to come. Do you believe that the Rays have a shot at the wild card or am I just over doing it a little too much
Rob Neyer: This has been one of the top five topics of this spring ... I like the Rays but I don't love them, as their young starters are just not likely to push them more than a game or two past .500 this season. I do see them contending for the playoffs within three seasons.Jonny (Los Angeles): Tampa is getting better and may even get to .500, as far as winning the wild card they will have to have better records than Boston or New York, now that's just not happening
Rob Neyer: I disagree, Jonny. The Yankees and the Sox simply won't win 90+ games EVERY season, and we saw last year that low-payroll teams will occasionally win 90.Ben (Virginia): What do you think the Orioles can expect from Adam Jones this season? I've heard the whole 5-tool prospect and such, but I would like to know what we can realistically expect from him in the near future.
Rob Neyer: He's not ready to hit .300 yet, but 20-25 homers is reasonable.Joe (New York): How did Verlander look today?
Rob Neyer: I was mostly watching my computer screen, but he looked pretty good to me. He did groove that pitch to Gordon, who hit it a long ways.Bob (Vero Beach): Does Chipper Jones have a shot at NL MVP and do you think he'll be in Hall of Fame?
Rob Neyer: MVP -- Exceptionally unlikely, give his injury history and the Braves' probable second- or third-place finish. Hall of Fame -- Exceptionally likely, for all the obvious reasons.John (Detroit): American Idiot? By Green Day? I would have thought someone as cultured and intelligent as you are could come up with something better than that from the last decade...
Rob Neyer: It's not my favorite song. Not even from that particular record. But it's anthemic, and you want anthemic as you're striding plateward.Amanda (Seattle): So I am watching this game on MLB.TV and Victor martinez (my favorite player) goes down. How does this hurt the Indians if he is out a while?
Rob Neyer: Shoppach's a solid backup, but obviously no Martinez. What happened to him? (I'm still watching the Royals and the Tigers. They're in the 10th.)Stephen (Louisville): Yeah, I think all Green Day's songs are anemic, but why would you...oh, sorry.
Rob Neyer: Ha. Good one. Honestly, I was shocked when I loved their last record, as I'd paid them little mind before. I'm not sure what this means.Warren (Painesville, OH): Jim Thome just hit his second two-run homer of the day against Sabathia, after being 0-for-11 against C.C. in his career. Also, Victor Martinez injured his leg trying to slide into second base. Despite the Tribe's 7-4 lead, many people in the stands seem to be more stunned than happy.
Rob Neyer: Wow. Weirdness in the Forest City, huh?Mike (Chicago): Why has Mark Buehrle looked so ineffective so far today? And why do I worry that he is not as good as he once was as he now enters the prime of his career?
Rob Neyer: As I mentioned, his falling strikeout rate probably should be a concern. It's hard to get away with that for long unless you've got a super-sinker.Joe (Detroit): Who is your pick for AL MVP? I'm a tigers fan, so make me happy. =]
Rob Neyer: Ummm, well, I have Sizemore winning. If it makes you feel any better, I think I had Sizemore winning last year, too. And look how that turned out. Aside from the American Central standings, I mean.Jason (San Diego): Who is your pick for NL MVP?
Rob Neyer: My main man, man.MATT (BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT PA): Who do you have going to the playoffs out of the American League?
Rob Neyer: Yankees, Indians, Tigers, Angels. Not many shockers in there, huh? (I can guess what your next question will be...)Chaz Moss (Philadelphia, Pa): No BoSox?
Rob Neyer: Ah, there it is ... I basically have the Tigers and the Indians and the Red Sox all bunched up, a rung below the Yankees. So, forced to drop one of them out of the playoffs, I chose the Sox. Just a gut feeling, really. They look just a little old to me.Kevin (Santee, CA): The Red Sox look a little old, but the Yankees are the best team in the league? That, sir, is a contradiction.
Rob Neyer: Contradictions? I contain multitudes, sir.AARON (SEATTLE): Rob, you are not one for the Mariners? Many are at least taking them for the West. I am sure the wild card will nt be attainable.
Rob Neyer: Sorry, Aaron, but I have the M's finishing behind the A's this season. Other than my Red Sox prediction, it's probably the only controversial opinion I've got right now.Steve (RI): Red Sox are old??????? Ellsbury, Youk, Pedroia, there whole pitching staff is young!!!
Rob Neyer: Youk's 29, which is not young. And "the whole pitching staff"? Did they trade Schilling, Wakefield, and Timlin when I wasn't looking? Yes, Buchholz is young ... so young, in fact, that he'll probably be limited to 160-180 innings. Lester has 11 wins in the majors and a league-average ERA. Look, the Sox are good. I'm just not convinced they're quite good enough.Kalvin (East Lansing, MI): Ok, back to the game at hand. Please talk about rating Sizemore over Granderson. I feel that last year Granderson proved himself to be the most complete outfielder in the game. His hitting and defensive together are better than any other player in the bigs. I take that back, Ichiro might be a little more complete, but I would still take Grandy.
Rob Neyer: I might take Grandy for this year, or I might not. But Grady's something like 16 months younger, which makes a difference when we're talking about their respective futures.Justin (Cleveland): Do you think Asdrubel Cabrera will be able to hold down the 2b job here in Cleveland
Rob Neyer: Sure, why not? As a hitter, he's better at shortstop.Spencer (Tecumseh Ontario): wow what a throw by inge did you see that?
Rob Neyer: I did see that, and it was indeed a wonderful throw.Kyle (Kansas): What do you think of the Royals new playing style of Hillman? I like it and I think they will do better than people think. And Alex Gordon had a blast earlier... I love it!
Rob Neyer: What's the new style, exactly? Asking Tony Pena to bunt, and watching him fail (again)? So far the only difference I'm seeing is that the Royals are ahead in the 11th. We'll see if Soria can hold the lead.Seth (Minnesota): I think the Royals will improve, but there's no way they finish ahead of the twins. Rob,what do you think?
Rob Neyer: Oh, they could definitely finish ahead of the Twins. The three teams at the bottom of the AL Central are bunched up like the four teams at the top of the NL West.Seth (St. Louis): I know no one picks the Cardinals to finish higher than 3rd in the division, but do you honestly think this offense won't score a ton of runs?
Rob Neyer: I do honestly think that. I also honestly think their rotation could turn into a disaster of biblical proportions. Or not; La Russa and Duncan are pretty good with pitchers, usually.Kyle (Toronto): Jays will finish 1st in AL east you heard it hear first
Rob Neyer: If it happens, they won't rank among the 25 most unlikely pennant winners.Jeff (Detroit): Could you talk about the Tigers' utilization of Inge as a super utility player?
Rob Neyer: CAN'T ... TALK ... MUST ... CHAT ...Aaron (New York): Who is Clete Thomas and why is he ruining my opening day?
Rob Neyer: I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd never heard of the guy until about 30 minutes ago when he came in for defense. And now he's doubled in his first MLB at-bat and might tie the game in a few seconds.Steven (Portland, OR): Rob: What do you think of Barry Larkin's Hall of Fame chances? Pretty good, right?
Rob Neyer: I think he SHOULD be in the Hall of Fame and WILL be in the Hall of Fame ... but then, I'd have said the same about Trammell 10 years ago.Bill (Alabama): Many "experts", including yourself, will look very foolish for writing the Sox off just because they had a very rough year last year. They were talented enough to finish above .500 before the offseason and all they've done is add Nick Swisher, Scott Linebrink, Octavio Dotel, Alexi Ramirez (who looked like the real deal this spring for what it's worth), and Orlando Cabrera (at the expense of Garlnad, but still).
Rob Neyer: Bill, you may be right about the Sox. But writing the Sox off has NOTHING to do with last year, except that what the players did last year does suggest what they'll do this year. All of my projections are based on ... projections, which have nothing to do with subjective thoughts of last year.Mike (Worcester): why is curt shilling so overrated when he is a notch above average
Rob Neyer: It's not that he's overrated. It's that he's old and apparently fragile.ryan (vegas): What do expect from Kevin Cash? Why did the RED SOX decide to go with him as a back up?
Rob Neyer: That's an odd one, isn't it? I'm guessing they figured they could get the same production for a third the money. Roughly speaking. Which makes sense, except it's hard to figure why the Sox would care about half a million bucks or whatever. That's a rounding error for them. Which makes you wonder if there's something here we're missing.Steve (Orlando): When is Evan Longoria going to see time at 3B for the Rays?
Rob Neyer: June 1 at the very latest, and quite possible by the middle of April.Aaron (Denver): What have you heard about Lariano returning for the Twins? Do you think he will pick up where he left off, or will he struggle? Thanks!
Rob Neyer: Major league hitters have not been kind to pitchers coming back from major surgeries. At least not in the short term. This is basically a rehab season for Liriano, which isn't to say he won't have some good games.David (Chicago, IL): Why do you think people are so enamored with Josh Fields at the expense of Joe Crede? Fields had 125 SO in only 373 AB. Am I missing something here?
Rob Neyer: Fields is a pretty good player, maybe as good as Crede. I know the strikeouts are off the charts, but his minor-league credentials suggest he's better than that.Dan (New York): Cliff Lee has repeatedly had struggles with the Indians, although he will inevitably string together a few quality starts. Is he the right person for the 5 spot in the rotation or was he put there because of his large contract?
Rob Neyer: I'm sure that didn't hurt, but Aaron Laffey -- my choice -- wasn't having a good spring, last I checked. I'll be surprised if Lee sticks around long enough to start 20 games for the Tribe.Chris (Eagan, MN): Probability that Rik Aalbert eventually gets his ticket stamped? If he does, I'll bring the champagne...
Rob Neyer: Eventually's a long time. I'd say there's a 75% chance he's elected in the next four years.Wes (Indianapolis): Is Kosuke Fukudome obviously better than Matt Murton? Are the Cubs making a mistake by not giving Murton a chance to play everyday?
Rob Neyer: Yeah, I think Fukudome obviously is better than Murton. I like Murton, but he's really a fourth outfielder on most teams. Not that there's anything wrong with that.Chris (LA): Why is Albert Pujols getting no love in pre-season MVP picks? Because of the elbow? He sure didn't look bad in spring and he already took one yard today. Sarah (Fort Lauderdale): What do you think Reed Johnson's impact will be for the Cubs, if any?
Rob Neyer: I wrote about this last week ... Johnson would be a solid platoon partner with Felix Pie in center field.Daniel (NYC): Zito gives up a 3-spot in the bottom of the first. When does this become a worse signing than Mike Hampton?
Rob Neyer: We're still a lousy season or two from that, I'd say. (Zito's given up another run in the second, by the way.)Tom (Boston): Johan's perfect season still intact...
Rob Neyer: Just flipped to that game, and Santana does have three perfect innings. Or three hitless, for sure.Doug (Scottsdale, AZ): Speaking of lousy season are the giants the worst team in baseball??
Rob Neyer: Sure feels like it, but I think they'll get a run for their money from the Nats or the Marlins.Joe (England): How do you think Utley will fare in the MVP ballot this year?
Rob Neyer: He'll be one of the five best players in the league, which makes him a candidate. But the Phillies would probably have to make the playoffs and I don't think they will.MIKE (PENN STATE): Why does Chris Young lead off for Arizona, he has a terrible batting average and an even worse on base percentage? Is it just his home runs and speed?
Rob Neyer: The speed more than the homers, methinks. And in his manager's defense, Young did do some impressive things in the minors.Billy (Australia): I know the A's always have a great farm system and young talent. Is there an outside chance of them being a suprise team out of the AL west?
Rob Neyer: If they get a few breaks they could win 85 games, but that sort of assumes they don't trade Blanton, and they get serious innings out of Harden.Zach (Mpls, MN): Rob - Gardenhire is starting Monroe tonite over Kubel at DH. I'm guessing that both Punto and Monroe take significant AB's (150+) away from Harris and Kubel, respectively. Any chance you can get it thru Gardy's head that being a hardworking veteran does not equal talented and deserves to play?
Rob Neyer: Monroe shouldn't have been signed in the first place. Once the Twins made that mistake, the next was nearly inevitable.Paul (Evansville): Rob, why do you say that Murton is only a 4th outfielder? He is coming into the prime of his career and had a .790 OPS last year. That's better than every outfielder on the Braves last year
Rob Neyer: Yeah, but he's not been real good against right-handed pitchers, and last I checked there were a lot of them in the majors.Simon (Edmonton, AB, Canada): Do you have any thoughts on the Reds and what Dusty is doing (Patterson leading off, Bruce to the minors, Votto on the bench)?
Rob Neyer: My opinion of his performance? You want my opinion of his performance?Lawrence (Los Angeles): Mr. Neyer, I noticed your prediction for the World Series is dodgers over the Indians. As a Dodger fan, I'm very happy to see this. What about the Dodgers do you like that makes them World Series Contenders?
Rob Neyer: I like the story. Seriously. In retrospect, it was a stupid pick because there's a pretty good chance they won't even make the playoffs. Safe pick is Mets.Ben (Missouri): Rob, what do you make of the Royals beating the Tigers? I know it's only one game but if the Royals pitching staff lives up to their potential they could make a push.
Rob Neyer: Sure. And if the Tigers live up to their potential, they could score 1,000 runs, etc. The likelihood is that Gil Meche will pitch well this season and the other guys will be up and down.Matt (Wynnewood, PA): How come Jimmy Rollins' clutch home run to tie the game has not been mentioned?
Rob Neyer: First I've heard of it, Matt. I'm watching the Mets because of Santana, but this game's getting out of hand already, as David Wright might blow this one wide open right now.JT (Lynchburg, VA): Nice call, Rob! Clears the bases
Rob Neyer: Yeah. Pretty predictable, huh? Wright against the tired left-hander? Not really a fair fight. Oh well. Time for another game. You guys let me know if Santana's still got his no-hitter through six, okay?Alejandro (Berkeley, CA): Rob, thanks for the chat today (and the Q&A with Posnanski). What is your one personal favorite "legend" from the new book?
Rob Neyer: That's like asking someone to name his favorite child ... I love all of them, as I left the unloved ones out of the book. Just off the top of my head, I do particularly love the story about Thurman Munson dropping three third strikes in one game, just to pad his assists. Did he really do it, though? For the answer you'll have to read the book...scott (the chi): Rob, what is the most scintillating MLB game you've ever attended? A near no-no? A walkoff dong? A 90 minute Maddux masterpiece?
Rob Neyer: The one that comes to mind is Jose Jimenez's no-hitter in '99.Tom (Boston): umpire just totally blew the perfect game... ump missed two pitches right down middle
Rob Neyer: That's a shame. But we still have the no-no, right?Gary (Sacramento): Is Bruce Bochy contractually obligated to play all of the crappy veterans that Brian Sabean signed to ridiculous contracts, or is he aware that he can lose just as many games by trying to develop what young talent the Giants might have?
Rob Neyer: I think he's contractually obligated to do as he's told. But you have to wonder why he took that crummy job in the first place.Edward (Denver): I saw Pedro Martinez's near perfect game in San Diego when he played for the Expos and they couldn't score a lousy run and he lost the Perfect game in 10 innings. What's the most heart breaking thing you've seen at the ballpark
Rob Neyer: I saw Charlie Leibrandt pitch a one-hitter and the only hit was a late-inning bunt. Boy, was I mad.Nic (DC): Although it's early, what do you think of Nick Johnson's return? He's legged out an impressive double in the first of the Opener last night and has hit two more doubles today against the Phils including one to drive in Milledge for the go-ahead run.
Rob Neyer: Yeah, he looked great. I was wondering when the last time was a guy who played as well as Dmitri Young did last year got beat out of his job the next spring.Amit (Chicago): I just saw the Carlos Zambrano has been pulled after 6 and 2/3 innings of brilliant work....I was wondering if he is the Cy Young frontrunner this year?
Rob Neyer: Frontrunner? You mean for No. 2 on the ballot behind Santana? He's definitely a candidate, but I think the line for runner-up forms behind Peavy and Webb.Chris (Los Angeles): Hey Amit and Rob, I think you forgot about Mr. Penny in that Cy Young discussion.
Rob Neyer: Penny's good, but he's not great. I doubt if he'd be in my top 10 if I were making a list.Brandon (Pennsylvania): Rob, honestly, exactly HOW bad do you think the Pirates will do this year?
Rob Neyer: They won't be that bad. LaRoche is decent, Bay bounces back, they have a couple of decent starters. They won't break their sub-.500 streak but they won't be a joke, either.Lee (Minnesota): Rob all critics are predicting the twins to finish last in the Central. But to be honest they drastically improved there line up compared to last year and if Lirano and some young pitchers can throw well they could be decent. What do you think?
Rob Neyer: All critics? Really? I doubt that. I'd guess that most everybody figures the Twins will tie for third with the Sox and the Royals.Sarah (Fort Lauderdale): Kerry Wood is in the game now. What is Lou Pinella thinking?
Rob Neyer: Sorry, I'm watching the other Chicago team. More weird stuff in Cleveland, as the Sox lost two chances to go ahead on two controversial calls, one of which was almost certainly wrong.shackk (chicago): rob what type of call did they lose on?
Rob Neyer: Well, they haven't lost yet. But the first call was a close play at the plate, and it didn't look like the catcher was quite able to get the tag on the runner, who was called out anyway. And on the next play, the batter was called out on obstruction by the runner sliding into second. I thought that was the right call, though of course the Hawkeroo and DJ disagree. Not that they're biased or anything.Zeke (Portland): You know, sitting on the couch all day typing some wisdom while watching games on TV does not sound like all that bad of a deal. Wanna trade jobs for a week??
Rob Neyer: No, no, a thousand times no. My mom didn't raise no fools.Paul (Champaign): Hawk and his sidekick DJ should be replaced. Their commentary adds absolutely nothing to the game.. but what is the ruling on the interferance (not obstruction, that's defense..) at second? As long as you hit the bag, are you allowed to slide whereever you want?
Rob Neyer: I'm not sure it's that clear-cut, and anyway the runner threw his hands out and sort of grabbed the shortstop's legs. That's not cool, is it?Matt (Chicago): Kerry Wood got shelled in the 9th -- 3 runs so far. Can he be a good closer?
Rob Neyer: I haven't any idea because I haven't seen him pitch since last fall. I mean, Lou Piniella's paid an awful lot of money to know such things ... which doesn't mean he does. Meanwhile, Octavio Dotel's getting killed in Cleveland. I wonder when he's going to stop getting such chances...Noah (NYC): The call at the plate was definitely wrong, but interference was the right call. What the Hawk can't seem to grasp is that the runner threw his right arm out long after the play with no other reason than to interfere. Casey Blake just made my day. It's like watching your game with two obnoxious friends yelling at you the whole time.
Rob Neyer: I have to admit, after listening to those guys bloviate about the Sox getting jobbed, it's hard to pull for their team.Cameron (Walnut Creek, CA): Rob-Can you tell me why Barry Zito is so ineffective now and why my Giants spent $126M on him?
Rob Neyer: That's two questions. My answer to the first is that Zito is not the same, physically, as he was. My answer to the second wouldn't fit in this space, but the basic theme would concern a fatal lack of intellectual rigor.John (Brooklyn): Rob, the Mets have obviously worked hard this off-season to improve the club and it's psyche after last seasons collapse. If there is a similar outcome this season, will Randolph take the fall and who do they hire to manage their stud starred lineup?
Rob Neyer: Sure, but they couldn't fall apart like that again if they tried. Forget about a collapse; if the Mets don't win 90 games this season, Randolph's probably gone unless he's got a real good excuse.Joe Spro (Chicago): How is it possible for both Chicago teams to blow the game at the same time? Its hard to be a fairweather fan in Chicago.
Rob Neyer: Hey, don't give up on the Cubs yet! Gagne's put his first two guys on, Cubs have tying run at the plate with nobody out...Loren Bland (Santa Barabara): Rob, can you tell me anything possitive about the Giants?
Rob Neyer: They have pretty uniforms. And a lovely view from behind the right-field stands. That's two things.Joe Spro (Chicago): WOW
Rob Neyer: Indeed. Fukudome-mania is off to a rollicking start, I guess. He might be even better than Tuffy Rhodes!Matt (Cleveland): Wow is Gagne bad. I can not believe they signed him.
Rob Neyer: It's only one game and the Brewers do a lot of smart things. I'm not yet convinced this was one of them.Justin (Chicago): I am not giving up on the Sox game either with Borowski in there.
Rob Neyer: Good plan, Justin. I'm switching back over there, too...Spizz (Queens): Is Crede going to strike out????
Rob Neyer: Nope; fouled out to third. Sox lose. Sox lose. Sox lose. By the way, just want to mention that I absolutely love the Indians' new alternate jerseys and caps.Zach (Greenwich, CT): How can you say Gagne is not awful? He is throwing letter-high 91 mph fastballs. No HGH = No soul.
Rob Neyer: I don't know about the HGH, but he just failed to cover first base, keeping the rally alive. Though Prince Fielder didn't acquit himself particularly well, either. Weird play that I won't try to describe here, and the umpire might have blown it. Anyway, winning run's now on first base with two outs.Matt (Chicago Chicago): Why isn't Pie running on Jason freaking Kendall???
Rob Neyer: I don't know, Matt. But he did come up lame on the play at first. Also, maybe they want to preserve the opening on the right side, but that shouldn't be a concern because Fielder's guarding the line regardless. So yeah: run!Jon (England): Marmol is looking pretty good as the choice for closer right now. I saw Wood pitch 4 times in Arizona and he was lights out to be fair to Lou. He was throwing 98-99.
Rob Neyer: Yeah, that seems inevitable, doesn't it? But then somebody has to pitch Marmol's innings. So if Wood's not effective the Cubs still have a problem to solve.Steve (las Vegas, NV): How come Erick Aybar isn't starting, yesterday he was listed as the SS, now he's second on the depth chart...he's easily better than izturis right?
Rob Neyer: I don't think there's going to be a real winner in that race, at least for a while. The Angels are going to carry both of them, and so both might as well get some real playing time.angelo (nyc): johan is gone after 7 innings 2 earned runs and 8 K's and 2 BB's, thoughts?
Rob Neyer: My thought is that we'll see that same line, roughly speaking, a couple of dozen times this season.Rick (Sheboygan, WI): Brewers take the lead!
Rob Neyer: They sure do.Patrick (Minneapolis): In the introduction to this chat, it says you'll be chatting "through the last game of the day, Angels vs. Twins," but the last game is Astros at Padres. Which is it? Go the distance, Rob!
Rob Neyer: Whatever the last game is, I'll be chatting through it. At least.Brett (Taipei): Top of the order for the Brew Crew. Any insight as to who the brewers are bringing on for those of us without TV?
Rob Neyer: That's already happened, Brett, and the Brewers went ahead by a run. Now David Riske (?) is on for the save.Shane (NJ): Rob, Guthrie got rocked today by a young TB lineup. Is he gonna be better than Villanueva? What do you see for him this year?
Rob Neyer: Better than who? Guthrie's okay, will pitch some good games. And TB's got a pretty good lineup, young or not.JT (Denver, CO): The Cards/Rockies game has just been postponed, erasing a lousy outing from Jeff Francis. Do you have any doubt that God is a Rockies fan?
Rob Neyer: That's definitely what they think. Let's check back in six months and see what God says.Paul (Chicago, IL): Cubs lose Cubs lose!! Holy Cow!!
Rob Neyer: They do. It's just one game, obviously, but I'm sure there are already people in Chicago screaming for Kerry Wood's job. I'd give him a couple more shots at it.Spike (Seattle, Wa): Too early to call the Jones/Bedard trade a bust for both sides?
Rob Neyer: Maybe just a little too early. But I'm chatting again tomorrow. Maybe we can make the call then.Matthew (Potsdam,NY): Can You Believe Gagne Gets a win can we put an * next to that.
Rob Neyer: Yeah, but he also got a BS. They sort of balance each other, right?Josh (Parker, CO): So does the postponement of the Rockies/Cards game mean that none of those 3 innings actually happened today? I am hoping those were all just a bad dream.
Rob Neyer: Yep, they're gone. Nothing counts. Which I think is a pretty dumb rule, but a rule's a rule, at least when it comes to the official figures.Erick (NJ): Any opinions on Ichiro's stats for this year after an 0 for 21 start to spring?
Rob Neyer: Sure. He'll hit .329 and score 111 runs. Not much mystery here.Erik (Oxford, UK): Thome had an impressive day today. Do you think he's a likely candidate for the hall?
Rob Neyer: He's got a fair amount of work to do, considering all the sluggers with whom he'll be competing. That said, if he finishes with 600 homers and 1700 RBI it's hard to see him not making it eventually. He doesn't really *feel* like a Hall of Famer ... but that doesn't mean he's not.Jake (Ann Arbor, MI): Don't you think it's unreasonable that so many of your colleagues are putting the Mets to finish 3rd in their division? Do you think they're being serious, or is it just a race to pick the most unlikely team to win in case it actually does happen?
Rob Neyer: Depends on your definition of "unreasonable," right? The numbers suggest that the Mets are the best team in the National League. But my colleagues have all spent much of this month at spring training, soaking up all sorts of information to which I'm not privy. I guess we'll see who was reasonable and who wasn't.Justin (LA): Zito gives up 4 ER in the first two innings. Should the Giants be concerned about more outings like this?
Rob Neyer: I'm going to assume that's a sick sort of joke, and that you're merely trying to agitate Giants fans. (Nice job!)
Okay, I have to vacate this chat room. Those of you following along in GameCast won't be affected, as we'll roll right along in there. But if you're on a specific chat page, you'll have to move over to this one:
Hope to see you there!