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Open ALCS Thread: Dovetailing Day

I loved this post yesterday by baseballgirl because it echoed the way I felt about the 2007 MLB playoffs.

I'd just like to add a few things to what she mentioned. I imagine that if the Indians bounce the Red Sox from the playoffs, expect this World Series to be one of the lowest rated ever. Joe Casual Baseballfan probably doesn't care about a Rockies and Indians World Series. But for someone like myself who has built an entire network of sports blogs based on the premise that too many small market teams are regularly ignored by the "Worldwide Leader" and other instruments of sports coverage, I think this is just awesome. People are always surprised when they talk to me about SportsBlogs Nation to learn that our Red Sox and Yankee blogs are smaller or about the same size as our blogs for teams like the Indians and Rockies. It's simple, there is never a lack of information about media darlings like the Sox and Yanks. Where the media fails on the larger scale is getting anyone to know who the hell Asbrudal Cabrera or Troy Tulowitzki are until they are actually FORCED to.

I love seeing David take down Goliath. That's one of my favorite moments in sports (well, when MY team isn't the favored one). And honestly, I'm not sure who would be David and Goliath in an Indians/Rockies World Series matchup. The Indians would probably be the underdog even if the Rockies are sitting around playing Halo 3 for nine days. But I also wouldn't count the mammoth payroll of the Red Sox out yet. They have Beckett going tonight and Schilling backing that up. Sure Sabathia and Carmona are the opposition, but neither one of them faired very well against the Sox the first time around. I wouldn't be shocked to see this series go all seven games. The Red Sox obviously don't die really easily as the Yankees learned the hard way in 2004 and their rotation is set up to go to a game seven.

Finally, to continue the discussion about Justin Duchscherer possibly joining the rotation in 2008, I just wanted to offer my take on it. I think the A's learned last year that they can take a good reliever who was a former starter and have success with it. Chad Gaudin's move to the rotation wasn't exactly perfect especially considering how he wore down in the second half of the season, but the A's front office knows that Duke has wanted to return to starting for a while now. My fears are related to Duke's health. He doesn't exactly seem all that durable and coming off major hip surgery isn't going to be easy. Even if Duke has success in spring training as a starter, there is no guarantee that he'll hold up for 30 starts...or even 20 for that matter.

At the same time, starting pitching is at such a premium on the open market that if you can find a cheaper solution that works in-house than you do it. I actually don't doubt that Duke would be successful as a starter because even though he's a soft-tosser, he's got one of the best curveballs in the game and his cutter can be lethal. I think most hitters probably couldn't hit these two pitches even if they knew they were coming if Duke was healthy and getting his normal break on the ball. Plus, his pinpoint control makes him ridiculously effective. So if I had to make the choice, I'd keep Duke as Street's setup man and sign someone to be the fifth starter. But I'd also not want to lock myself into a Loaiza-type contract just because we need a fifth starter. The more realistic (and smarter) option might just be putting Duke in the rotation. You just do really weaken the A's pen by removing a healthy Duke and replacing him with someone else. Remember that before Duke got hurt this year, he and Scot Shields were really the best setup men in baseball. How many games might you lose because you have Andrew Brown or someone like that in the eighth inning instead of Duke versus how many more games do you win having Duke as a starter versus the Braden/Windsor/DiNardo/Halsey/Meyer/Komine monster? That's probably what it will come down to and how the A's front office judges that equation is anyone's guess.