September started, rosters expanded, Adam Eaton made an immediate impression. We still can't beat the Padres, and division races continue, just not involving the Diamondbacks. Our panel discuss all these items, but no-one expressed interest in being a guest contributor this week, which probably says a lot about the way fans are viewing the season. If anyone is up for it, post in the comments and we'll send you the questions for next week's edition...
We're into the "lame duck" portion of the schedule. How do you stay interested?
Sonic: I'm always interested. I'd like to see the team finish strong and see the young kids do well to lock up positions for next year. All the young starters are interviewing for rotation spots yet year.
ZM: For me, it's all about rooting for players over results. Like ‘charmer, I want the babies to do well, particularly the baby pitchers. But I'm also rooting for: Upton to look enough like his 2011 self that I can realistically believe he's going to revert back to that in 2013, Miley to pitch well enough to solidify himself as ROY, Trevor Cahill to pitch well enough that the FO won't feel the need to make some sort of weird panic trade in the offseason, and Goldschmidt to continue Goldschmidting, just to irritate Keith Law and others.
soco: Baseball is baseball, I'll watch random Cubs games on WGN if there's nothing else on. Obviously with the season grinding to a finish there will be days when other things will take more precedence, but I don't need to manufacture interest for baseball.
Jim: There's something to be said for low-impact baseball: games where you can simply watch, without stressing about the result or being over-invested in "needing" to win. These games have a spring training feel to them, with individual performance more important than the actual result. As everyone else has noted, it's about the kids.
AZ took two of three in San Francisco, but reversed that in San Diego. We've lost eight of the last nine against the Padres: why do they cause us so many problems?
Clefo: Whatever witchcraft that Josh Byrnes and company have used to assemble this year's Padres roster just matches up well for them against us.
snakecharmer: Karma? I dunno...
ZM: Because we aren't that good, and sometimes teams that aren't that good end up losing to other teams that aren't that good. That, or space magic. One or the other, probably.
soco: Can't predict ball. Does it make sense that the D-backs have a winning record against the entire NL West except for the Padres? No, probably not, but that's how these things go sometimes.
Sonic: Because they have a good team and are playing free and easy. They have no pressure on them. Their young pitchers are really coming along and they are going to be a force next year, making the division all that much tougher. That's a scary looking team there. Imagine if they add another bat or two, yikes.
Jim: I keep saying it, but the Padres are really much better than everyone thinks. If I'd to pick a dark horse for the 2013 NL West, it'd be them. That said, eight of nine? They have a lot of players who have just destroyed our pitching this year: Chris Denorfia (OPS 1.202), Logan Forsythe (1.128), Carlos Quentin (1.000) and Chase Headley (.959). That'll take care of a lot of ills!
Adam Eaton has hit the major-league ground running. Will he be the Opening Day CF next year?
Clefo: The team has gotta like what they've seen so far. I would say it's dependent on whether Chris Young can be/is moved in the offseason. I imagine he's on the opening day roster in some form next year regardless.
snakecharmer: SSS. Yes, because I like him a lot and he's been impressive so far and I can't see us keeping CY for yet another disappointing year, but, keep in mind, it's only been a week for Eaton.
ZM: I'm really, really nervous about crowning a player as a starter after 21 ABs. That being said, you have to think that there's no reason for Parra/Kubel/Young/Eaton/Upton to all be on the team next year. And if one of them is going to be traded, then Young probably makes the most sense, given that his contract is going to start increasing while his play has largely held steady over the last couple years. I think CY will get traded, and Eaton will inherit the starting role. Although I will say that I wouldn't hate a Parra trade that leaves Kubel and Upton at the corners and allows for a CY/Eaton platoon in center.
soco: Let's not go chasing waterfalls. I like what I've seen, but I've been burnt enough times by giving too much hope to a young player.
Sonic: I believe he will be. He's a natural leadoff hitter which is something this team has not had in forever. At worst he'll be one of our four outfielders that plays a lot in CF as well as the other spots. I think he replaces Parra on the roster for next year. I know everyone thinks he'll replace Young but that's just my hunch.
Jim: "Signs point to yes," says my Magic 8-baseball. I think we will see one of CY or J-Up traded over the winter, because we need to fill those holes on the left-hand side of the infield. Of course, I don't see him hitting close to .400, but Eaton should be adequate enough as a replacement in CF, certainly a lot cheaper, and gives Arizona a genuine lead-off hitter, something they haven't had in a long time.
There have been suggestions the rules should be changed for September call-ups, to create a level playing field. Do you think it's necessary?
Clefo: Dunno about how it would level the playing field, since at this point all teams can also use 40 guys in September, but if it curtails games where Bruce Bochy makes 5,000,000 pitching changes, then I'm for it.
snakecharmer: I don't like the idea of the league micromanaging the game in this way. Yeah it's annoying and it has its downsides, but, leave it to the on-the-field personnel to do the micromanaging.
ZM: I really don't mind it. Teams can use the reinforcements, and it gives teams that are out of the race a chance to see a bunch of new young players.
soco: Is there any evidence that teams have gamed the system? It doesn't seem like to me it matters much.
Sonic: Absolutely! This is an outdated rule and I don't think there should be any roster expansion at all. Why allow all those extra players during the most critical part of the season? It was designed in the old days because very few teams would be in contention in September. But that is totally different now. I can't believe it's taken this long to address such an outdated rule.
Jim: I don't see the point of it to begin with. It's almost like the league suddenly switching to use the DH on September 1: vastly-expanded bullpens and a near-infinite supply of pinch-hitters. Stick to 25 for the whole year, I'd say.
What division races are you following down the stretch?
Clefo: I'm kind of interested to see if the A's can catch the Rangers (not totally out of the question.) and not to go all Lame-Stream media on you, but I'm also interested in the AL East, mostly to see if the Yankees can finish third.
snakecharmer: Yeah, the AL West and AL East are most appealing to me. Any day the Yankees lose is a good day.
ZM: I guess I'm still sort of interested in the NL West, if only because I'm still hoping for massive Dodger Schadenfreude. But other than that, go A's and Rays!
soco: Go White Sox?
Sonic: The AL East. I would love to see both the Orioles and Rays finish ahead of the Yankees. I'm also praying for the Dodgers not to make the playoffs. I love seeing teams spend oodles of money and fail. It's almost as much fun as winning. That logic also has me rooting for Oakland over the Angels.
Jim: Definitely hoping for Yankee and Giant fail, but otherwise, not really too bothered.
OT. Favorite TV show a) currently on, b) all-time.
Clefo: a) Community, b) X-Files.
snakecharmer: a) Downton Abbey b) West Wing
ZM: a) it's a toss-up between Community (seriously, everyone needs to watch this show) and Game of Thrones. b) I don't know, Arrested Development, maybe?
soco: a) Mad Men, I guess b) Mad Men, I guess?
Sonic: Currently on: Toss-up between HBO Real Sports and South Park. All-Time: Deadwood. Best television series I've ever seen.
Jim: a) Dexter. Pretty much the sole reason we retained cable [yes, I'm defining "currently on" as including "starting up again later this month"]. b) Fawlty Towers. Last episode was 33 years ago, still destroys me any time I watch it.
Odd week: two off days, a two-game set against LA and three against the Giants. Thoughts?
Clefo: Weather's getting nicer...
snakecharmer: T-2 weeks til they come back to SF.
ZM: Is anyone else getting really sick of all of these NL West teams?
soco: More days to not watch the D-backs lose, I like it.
Sonic: Just beat the Dodgers. Got to keep them out of the playoffs to give those new owners some perspective.
Jim: Hispanic Heritage Day! Kinda tempted to go watch the lucha libre, but not sure we can stand listening to three hours of norteno crap, because you know it'll be frickin' mariachis. The Cuban-descended Mrs. S would like a word with the D-backs about that whole "Hispanic music" thing...