10/07/06 6:48 PM ET
Mailbag: Who would start Game 5?
Rich Draper answers fans' questions about the NLDS
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
-- Andrew H. San Diego will go with Jake Peavy. That was established after Game 3. Their young ace got the nod in Game 1, and Padres manager Bruce Bochy said after Game 3 that he wanted to go with veteran Woody Williams in Game 4 and a well-rested Peavy if there's a Game 5. The Cardinals have made it clear that they'd bring back Jeff Weaver on three days' rest, but it would figure that Jason Marquis and Randy Flores will be waiting in the wings if he struggles. How does Padres management feel about manager Bruce Bochy and his lack of success in the postseason?
-- Jason V. Bochy is a favorite of general manager Kevin Towers and has one year left on his contract. Chairman John Moores, however, wouldn't commit on the manager's status recently. Bochy has led the Padres to four National League West titles and is the winningest manager in team history. Bochy has proven he can guide a club through the vagaries of a long season. The postseason is a crapshoot, and it's the makeup of a team -- especially pitching -- that usually determines the winners, not the skipper. Former Arizona manager Bob Brenly, preparing for the postseason in 2002, asked Tommy Lasorda the "secret" to winning in the playoffs, and Lasorda replied, "Lots of luck and a great bullpen." There will be a lot of players released after the season, and I am hoping that Cardinals announcer Mike Shannon will also be released. I've been a Cardinals fan since 1947.
-- Ed S., Jasper, Ind. Shannon is a Cardinals broadcasting institution, although detractors believe he should be institutionalized. With his folksy patter, verbal gaffes and colorful quotes, he's been compared with the late Harry Caray. Shannon was Hall of Fame announcer Jack Buck's sidekick for 30 years and became lead voice in 2002 after Buck's death. He even won an Emmy in 1983.
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A Missouri native, Redbirds player from 1962 to 1970 and owner of the aptly named Mike Shannon's Restaurant near Busch Stadium, the 67-year-old will remain the Cardinals' announcer as long as he's able.Home-field advantage should equal home-time advantage. Padres home games are typically at night -- it works for our city, it works for the meters, it works for the families, it even works for our traffic and it works for the commentators. These times are favoring the American League and the East Coast. I don't agree with the media time choices -- this is a competition, and their rating preferences shouldn't have the advantage. And now we're hearing that the Padres may be playing at 5 p.m. PT on Sunday and then have to fly home to play a day game on Monday?
-- Kristin S. That's been a longtime Left Coasters' lament. Networks always want the largest audience possible, and that means East Coast teams get the preference because -- you guessed it -- it's a bigger money-maker for the TV networks. That's why the Mets-Dodgers game will be in prime time, just like the Yankees and their huge nationwide following. Night games bring in the dough. It's strictly economic and commercial-related, based on smaller/larger baseball markets. What do you think the Padres will do in the offseason with players like Dave Roberts and Khalil Greene?
-- Eddie P.
Roberts' status is up in the air. The possible signing of Greene through his arbitration years is a possibility, but it's uncertain what the Padres' thinking is at the moment.I have been watching baseball for 60 years -- I grew up in St. Louis -- and have seen Stan Musial, Willie Mays and all the great players. But I have never seen the likes of Albert Pujols. I know this is only his sixth season, but I do believe he has the best chance of rewriting all the batting records there are. Would you agree?
-- Irv C. You're hardly alone in your thinking, but to be considered among the greats, Pujols must avoid injuries, stay clear of off-field problems that might short-circuit his career, keep adjusting to different pitchers, and -- you guessed it -- avoid injuries. Only health issues will prevent him from untold records.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.