"One is the loneliest number."
The legendary rock group "Three Dog Night" might never have been more prophetic than when it sang a song with that title back in the late '60s, and not just because the primary competition is "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog." Turns out Jeremiah was actually a Surinam toad who was fronting to impress a chick.
We love the debate here at ESPN. From "Pardon The Interruption" to "Mike & Mike in the Morning" to "No, it's your turn to edit Matthew," the back-and-forth tag-team method pervades the Worldwide Leader.
The way it works, you see, is you need one person to ask the questions and one to answer. But if I ask the question, then who will answer? And I have answers, but who will ask the question? Um, let me rephrase that. If I don't want to do a mailbag, since I already beat that horse to death last Wednesday, then who will ask the questions?
How about me? How about I ask the questions? This guy, just me. "Three Dog Night" understands my plight, but no time to wallow. And so, in a wide-ranging interview, I ask myself the tough questions.
Q: So how geeked up are you that Diamondbacks prospect Max Scherzer was called up?
A: Pretty geeked up. Simply put, you want him -- no matter the league size. The kid had a 1.17 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in 23 innings this year at Triple-A, with 38 strikeouts in 23 innings. And only three walks. Gulp!
Q: Yeah, welcome to the bandwagon, pal. Don't you always say you generally don't like rookie pitchers?
A: Yes, but "generally" is not "always." Scherzer will start in the D-backs' bullpen, but I believe he will pitch his way into the rotation soon. And when he does, he'll have the best offense in the majors behind him and a very good bullpen to follow him. In case you didn't notice, Brandon Lyon quietly nailed down his seventh save of the year Sunday, Chad Qualls has not given up an earned run all year, and Tony Pena has six holds. I'd even use my No. 1 waiver pick on him.
Q: As long as we are talking about pitchers, you wanna take back the "Sell C.C. Sabathia for 75 cents on the dollar" comment?
A: Sort of. No question, he has looked great his past two starts, with only three walks and one earned run over 14 innings and 19 strikeouts. But before we throw a parade, please consider this: The first start was against the Royals, who are last in the majors in runs scored. And the second start was against the Yankees, who have mightily struggled against lefties. It's a good sign, no question, but I'd still take a good trade for him if I got it. The heavy workload (including 256 innings last year between the regular season and playoffs) and his bullpen still worry me.
Q: Did you realize Willy Taveras has eight stolen bases this year?
A: Yes, and did you know Emmanuel Burriss has three?
Q: Yes. I thought we agreed I would ask the questions.
A: I was just continuing the conversation. Do you even know who Emmanuel Burriss is?
Q: Yes. He's the Giants shortstop who hit .278 with 68 stolen bases in two different Class A stops last season, and he's only 23. He has three steals in six games, and his main competition is Brian Bocock.
Q: Exactly. Have you lost track of who is actually the "question guy" and who is the "answer guy?"
Q: Speaking of speed, that movie "Speed Racer" looks terrible, doesn't it?
A: It really does. I loved that cartoon as a kid. I'm so depressed.
Q: Scott Rolen came back for the Blue Jays and promptly hit a home run. Blake DeWitt came back for the Dodgers when Nomar Garciaparra suffered a pull in his well, does it even matter? It's Nomar. Name-game time: Which third baseman do you want the rest of the year?
A: Gimme DeWitt, who has a better chance of staying healthy and actually hitting well. DeWitt is nothing special, but he won't hurt you, and I really think Rolen, who has hit .202 in dome games over the past three years, will. In fairness, I'm really not a Rolen guy. Nate Ravitz and I argued about this very point on today's Fantasy Focus podcast.
Q:Speaking of arguing and podcasts, you have a lot of anger, don't you?
A: What would make you say that?
Q: I downloaded and listened the podcast you did with Bill Simmons, in which you argued for Kobe over K.G. as the MVP.
A: Yeah, I guess I am a touch bitter. If only we had taped that on Sunday instead of last Wednesday. Hey Bill, MVP candidates don't lose to Atlanta in the playoffs. K.G. an emotional leader? Sheesh.
Q: Gimme five stats that you like but you don't feel like writing individual questions for.
A: All righty then.
1. Throwing out his first (terrible) start, Mark Buehrle now has a 3.67 ERA over four April starts.
2. Through Saturday, Brandon Inge had 71 at-bats. Only five Tigers have more. He's getting a lot of time for a "backup."
3. John Lannan of the Nationals has allowed just one run in his last 20 innings pitched.
4. Milton Bradley has eight RBIs in his past four games.
5. Since last season's All-Star break, Adam Wainwright has a 2.73 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 138.1 innings pitched.
Q: OK, so Carlos Delgado hit two home runs yesterday. Before that, he looked more like you at the plate. What's the real story here?
A: I actually think the "two home runs Delgado" is closer to the truth. Consider this: Over the past three seasons, his worst month is April, in terms of the lowest batting average and home runs hit. In April 2007, he hit .188 with only one home run before finishing the year with 24 homers and a .258 average. In each of the past three years, he has hit between 30 and 40 points higher after the All-Star break. In short, he's traditionally a slow starter, so his warm-up is legit.
Q: Do you find it odd that you write "in short" after a long paragraph? At that point, hasn't the ship pretty much sailed on that?
A: Yes and no. Let's go one by one. Villanueva had his second straight quality start on Saturday and has now given up just four runs in his past 13 innings. But with only six strikeouts and four walks over that period, I'm not buying. Hochevar bounced back from a terrible start to hold Toronto to one run over six innings. He's a highly touted prospect and a former No. 1 draft pick. But he wasn't pitching well when he was recalled, he plays for a bad team, and the second part of his last name, when pronounced correctly, rhymes with "favor." As in, do me a favor and ignore him in mixed leagues.
I remain a believer of Edwin Jackson, who is now 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts. I'm not thrilled with how many walks he has issued so far, but there is something there. I've been on record as saying that I love Galarraga, who has a 1.50 ERA in three starts so far. Not only do I like him, I hate Dontrelle Willis. And finally, I'm still not sold on Kyle Lohse. I am sold on Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan's brilliance, but Lohse has only 14 strikeouts in 34 innings. Hitters are batting .248 against him, which is sure to increase with all those balls being put into play. I just can't bring myself to say yeah, I believe.
Q: Your father is Dr. Leonard Berry, a professor at Texas A&M University. How proud of him are you?
A: Pretty proud. What's the point of having a national column if you can't brag about your family members once in a while? Check this out, taken from a Texas A&M University press release:
Minutes ago, Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano visited Zale and Distinguished Professor of Marketing Len Berry while he was teaching his MBA-level Services Marketing class to inform him that he has been named a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence. Begun in 2003 by former Texas A&M president Robert Gates, those named a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence retain the title for the duration of their careers, are formally presented with the award at commencement ceremonies, and receive $25,000 (an amount that is among the largest in the nation for outstanding teaching).
In 1970, Len Berry won his first teaching award, the Cecil Puckett Award at the University of Denver. Since that time he has won additional awards, including national recognition recently from the Academy of Marketing Science (2006 Outstanding Teaching Award). In addition, Len was Texas A&M University's sole nominee for the highly prestigious 2007 Robert Foster Cherry Award that honors outstanding professors in the English-speaking world. His ability to seamlessly weave examples from his ongoing work in service quality into his classes must be observed first-hand to be fully appreciated. During his last sabbatical, for example, Dr. Berry studied service delivery and service quality at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and Scottsdale, Ariz. Dr. Berry is one of only a very few TAMU faculty who hold joint appointments with the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. This is a testimony to the integrative nature of Len's research on service quality, and to his exemplary teaching skills.
Q: Jesse Carlson got the save for the Blue Jays over the weekend. What's with that?
A: Well, let's start with what I do know. I picked up Carlson on Friday in Tout Wars because he has 15 strikeouts in just more than 12 innings. He has a 1.42 ERA and 0.79 WHIP so far and will be an effective middle guy. I don't expect B.J. Ryan to lose the gig, and Jeremy Accardo is in the mix as well, but stranger things have happened. Right now, I'd pick him up if you need middle relief help. Anything else is gravy.
Q: Mmmm, gravy. You hungry?
A: Yes. That's lunch, people!
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is ESPN's senior director of fantasy. He was just as surprised as you to find out it's a real job. He is a multiple award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He has been playing fantasy sports for more than 20 years, writing about it professionally for more than 10. He currently appears on or in ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile TV and, as soon as he learns to say "ground-ball/fly-ball ratio" in Spanish, ESPN Deportes.