Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat about 2010 World Series.
Jayson Stark has been a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com since 2000. His regular contributions include the newsy Rumblings and Grumblings column and his tilted look inside baseball's numbers and quirks, the Useless Information Department.
Send your questions now and join Stark Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (2:03 PM)
I don't know about you, but I'm still trying to digest what happened in Game 1 last night. Maybe you can help. I've only got a half-hour -- and I've got a World Series trivia question for you. So let's get started.
I am a lifelong Rangers fan and I love and support Ron Washington. That being said, what were you thinking about when you put Valdimir Guerrero in Right Field Ron? It is not like you don't have David Murphy (who it about .370 and provided clutch homeruns last month in relief of an injured Josh Hamilton) sitting in the dugout waiting to play. We should see Murphy in the pivotal game 2 tonight and this Rangers fan predicts he will have an impact and the Rangers win game 2 and take the series in 6.
Jayson Stark (2:04 PM)
Too bad you're not chatting with the manager instead of me, because Ron Washington says Vlad will be out there again tonight. If so, what he should think about is playing him in left. That's the biggest RF in the league, with a huge gap to cover and bullpen mounds in foul territory. I love Vlad, but he's not up to patrolling that kind of turf anymore.
Tony (West Chester)
Game 1 aside, does Cliff Lee have an outside shot at the Hall of Fame in the same way that Koufax got in? Obviously his stretch of awesome isn't been as awesome as Koufax's, but if he sustains it for like 5 more years?
Jayson Stark (2:06 PM)
Cliff Lee has had two great Octobers, and he's been arguably the greatest midseason pitching acquisition of all time. But it's a little soon to start nominating him for Cooperstown, don't you think? 102 career wins doesn't get it done. Get back to me if he puts up five dominating years in a row like Koufax did.
Rob (Alexandria, VA)
It wasn't just Vlad that shocked me last night (this was the first time I saw the Rangers this year). I don't know that I've ever seen someone go around the basepaths slower than Molina, I think that guy who broke his leg on the home run might have gotten around faster. I am still kind of rooting for the Rangers, but after that game, it looks like a bunch of old guys on their last legs playing a young and energetic team in the Giants.
Jayson Stark (2:07 PM)
Gotta love the Molina brothers. They're in EVERY World Series. OK, close. Fun fact: Bengie scored on a sac fly exactly once all season - then did it last night, although he might still be "running." How'd he steal a base in the ALDS again?
I think the Giants' lineup gets a bad rap. Can they compete with the Rangers every night? No way - but they have quietly assembled a roster of veteran, "professional" hitters. I think we're starting to see their expertise and experience show through. To be fair, though - they could go score 0 runs for the next 4 games straight, too. Thoughts?
Jayson Stark (2:09 PM)
The strength of that lineup is its interchangeability - and its knack for getting The Big Hit. But face it, Scott. This is one of the shakiest offenses to reach the World Series of all time. The only one that compares in my experience is the '88 Dodgers. But that Dodgers team had what this team has -- pitching to make offense almost irrelevant. They don't score runs, but then they don't need to. Do they? And that's on this pitching staff.
JaySta,Give an Astros fan reason for optimism in 2011....or 2012.....or 2013......
Jayson Stark (2:10 PM)
One word: P-I-T-C-H-I-N-G. Look at how that rotation pitched in the second half. More proof that Brad Arnsberg is one of the most underrated pitching coaches alive.
What was the key to the Giants pounding Cliff Lee in Game 1?
Jayson Stark (2:12 PM)
They had a great game plan - look fastball/cutter, ignore the offspeed stuff and assume the guy was going to keep coming at them with strike-strike-strikes. Of course, they're not the first team to do this, but Cody Ross made a great point about why it may have worked for them as opposed to the Yankees. The Yankees take a lot of pitches. The Giants attack strikes. Maybe they were Cliff's worst nightmare. But I still think he wasn't happy with the mound. He kicked and poked at the dirt around his landing point all night.
If Crawford signs with the Yankees, do they trade Swisher or Gardner and who would be a good trade partner? I'm thinking the Braves for Jurrjens.
Jayson Stark (2:14 PM)
Carl Crawford isn't that high on their shopping list. Maybe that changes if they can't sign Cliff Lee, or if they want to keep Crawford out of Boston. But their shopping list right now looks like this: Cliff Lee. Period. Everything else depends on what happens with him.
Molina SB: The element of surprise.
Jayson Stark (2:15 PM)
Surprise? Shock is more like it. I'm thinking the catcher must have blacked out for several minutes, then Bengie still just beat the throw.
Chuck G (Ham lake, MN)
I thought Cliff Lee looked tired last night. Is he running on empty?
Jayson Stark (2:16 PM)
He had no command. But tired? That doesn't make sense. He had eight days rest. He threw a ton of pitches in his previous start, but the time off never seemed to bother him before. Just had one of those nights, against all odds.
I'd love to see Crawford in a Sox uniform...but i don't think he has enough pop to hit 3 in their lineup and would love to see him atop of it. But then you'd have to move ellsbury because he obviously would throw a huge fuss in the dugout about moving down in the lineup despite being moved back to CF. What say you?
Jayson Stark (2:17 PM)
I don't see Crawford as a No. 3 hitter, either. But he's a great player who impacts the game in every way, on and off the field. I also agree with you that if he lands in Boston, Ellsbury would become very available.
Bret (Walnut Creek, CA)
The most startling thing to me is that 90% of the country obviously hasn't been following the Giants the past couple of months. Not a whole lot surprised me last night. Yes the Giants hit Cliff Lee, but they've been hitting lots of great pitchers lately and no one gives them any credit at all. Still on ESPN.com I see the entire nation (except for CA) saying the Rangers will win it all. Don't you know this is playing right into the Giants' plans? Anyone who thinks this team is an underdog hasn't been paying attention.
Jayson Stark (2:18 PM)
Hey, I've been covering them for two weeks now, and I really love watching them. But I had a tough time picking them, too. They've got something special going, though. And they've won games started by Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe. So the stars are lining up for this team. No doubt about it.
What do you see the Phils doing with the Werth situation?
Jayson Stark (2:21 PM)
I don't know if there's a zero chance he'll be back, but it's slim and slimmer. When I hear people speculating on this, I ask one question: "Who'd he hire as his agent?" Answer: Scott Boras. And Scott's going to try to sell him as a $100-million player. No chance the Phillies do that. None. The question is: How can they possibly replace him and still be the same team? I don't see anybody out there who gives them what Jayson Werth gave them - power, speed, defense and, most important, balance.
Kevin (Los Angeles, CA)
Did anyone think of this? AT&T Park is a huge homefield advantage for the Giants with the best atmosphere in the game and truly crazy fans that are wild all game long. Texas played its 2 series at Tampa Bay (the most sterile environment in baseball) and at Yankee Stadium (where there were lots of empty seats right behind home plate and a fan base that had basically given up because they're used to dominating). I thought the road environment last night really changed the game and caused Texas some major fits.
Jayson Stark (2:22 PM)
There is absolutely no doubt that the atmosphere in that park is electric right now, and the size of the park is a big problem for the Rangers, offensively and defensively. But even though the new Yankee Stadium isn't the same place as the old Stadium, I've never heard anybody say before it's easy to go in there and win in October - because it's not.
What do you think of the Sandy Alderson hire?
Jayson Stark (2:24 PM)
I like it. I think the Mets badly needed somebody with the stature and experience of Sandy to come in there and restore credibility. I think it's also an important sign that Sandy is going to call the shots, not Jeff Wilpon or anyone else above, below or sideways. Sandy would never have taken that job without assurances he can do his thing.
Better get to that trivia!! Enjoying it here in SF? Will the Giants have any lineup changes tonight?
Jayson Stark (2:25 PM)
Hey, thanks for reminding me. And no cheating here! Only one player has ever hit more than 50 homers for both the Giants and Rangers. And only one pitcher has ever won more than 40 games for both teams. Here's your chance to name them.
Don't leave me in the dark, no. Know anything about the finalists for the Brewer's managerial job (Cora, Melvin, Valentine)?
Jayson Stark (2:27 PM)
They've been playing this very close to the vest, so that other teams looking for managers don't get in their way. My gut tells me is that Bobby probably wants more money and control than they'll be comfortable giving. Bob Melvin seems like Doug Melvin's kind of guy. But again, they haven't sent many clear signals through the industry about what way they're leaning.
Dave Kingman as the HR guy??
Jayson Stark (2:27 PM)
Jayson Stark (2:27 PM)
Comedians out there!
Kevin brown pitcher?
Jayson Stark (2:27 PM)
Jayson Stark (2:27 PM)
Burkett and Clark?
Jayson Stark (2:28 PM)
You're half-right. Will Clark is the hitter. Burkett only won 32 games for Texas.
Gaylord Perry as the pitcher.
Jayson Stark (2:29 PM)
Excellent work, John! Actually had quite a few correct answers. Just wanted to draw out the suspense!
Robert (Santa Barbara)
The thing I like best about these Giants is that the opponent doesn't know who to stop. Every day it's a new guy stepping up. If you stop Uribe's bat, Ross steps up. If not those two, it's Freddy Sanchez. Get those three out and you're facing Huff and Posey. And those are just the hitters! Giants pitching has been brilliant for the most part with only minor hiccups. Isn't that the key here? The Giants are the most well-rounded team in the game right now.
Jayson Stark (2:30 PM)
Good point. When you come to the park every night, you have no clue who the heck you'll find in the lineup. I always say this isn't a lineup, it's a multiple-choice quiz!
Jayson Stark (2:32 PM)
Oops. Sorry. My internet went down. Hate to break this, but I can only take one more.
The Giants won't win because of the ex-Cub factor...Fontentot and DeRosa are on the team. DOOMED, just like in 2002. Just saying.
Jayson Stark (2:33 PM)
Hmmm. Hadn't factored that in. DeRosa is off the roster, though. And I'd be shocked if Fontenot starts another game. So does it still count if they don't actually play? If that's their only hope, I'll be sure to pass that along to the powers that be. Somebody should alert them!
Jayson Stark (2:33 PM)
Thanks to everybody who checked in. Gotta run. Seeya down the road in Chat Land.