© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

10/25/06 2:51 AM ET

Mailbag: Cards struggle against lefties

Mike Bauman answers fans' World Series questions

Two questions for you. Why do you think the Cardinals struggle so against lefties?  I've noticed this all year long and am hoping the Series won't turn on our inability to hit southpaws. And regarding games when Carpenter starts -- or for that matter games for any team when their ace starts.  Do you think there tends to be less offensive urgency from a team when it has its ace on the mound?  Sometimes I wonder if players think, "Oh, we've got our ace throwing tonight!  We've got this one in the bag," forgetting that no matter how well the ace throws, the offense still must score at lease one run and usually more. Thanks! Go Cards!
-- Jared K.. Charlottesville, Va.

Well, the Cardinals got only two runs off another lefty starter in Game 3, but it didn't matter because the Tigers got no runs against Carpenter. You may be right about the lack of offensive urgency when an ace starts, but this was one of those cases in which the ace lived up to all the expectations about stopping the opposition. With this kind of pitching, just a bit of timely offense is all that is needed.

Will Kenny Rogers pitch again in the series? If so, are the Tigers willing to risk losing the game on a technicality because they have a pitcher who's willing to violate the rules at all costs? Personally, I am a Cardinals fan and hope the Tigers lose BIG TIME! Having Rogers on any team in baseball is a detriment to the whole game itself and I hope this is his last season.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss). And always know... "There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night. And if you go, no one may follow. That path is for your steps alone. -- Jerry Garcia, "Ripple"

A lot of Detroit fans will disagree with this description of Rogers. But, if you quote both Dr. Seuss and Jerry Garcia in the same e-mail, you're in the mailbag.

From a Cardinals fan. Why is it that MLB choose to disregard all the facts that pointed to Rogers and his pine-tar hand? There are also more pictures of his hand with pine tar on it in the other games he has pitched in this postseason. Could this be the reason he threw 20-something scoreless innings? I just hate to see a team cheat and get away with it. If the Tigers win the World Series what would you do about Kenny Rogers? Probably nothing? Well, next time let's try to follow the rules of MLB and stop the cheating especially in the World Series. Thank you.

Tony La Russa had the option of asking the umpires to inspect Rogers for a foreign substance. He chose not to exercise that option. From that point, the umpires were left to observe the substance and their observation was that the substance was dirt. This has absolutely nothing to do with MLB disregarding any rules. In retrospect, many people who are neutral in this Series wish that La Russa had asked for an inspection of Rogers, so that this episode would lend itself to answers rather than questions, facts rather than allegations.

What does a bench coach do? Every time I see little Joe Pettini, he is chomping away on the David sunflower seeds and keeping the bench warm.
-- Matt S.

Never underestimate the importance of chewing sunflower seeds and benchwarming. The bench coach is typically there for tactical advice, spotting trends, and the general concept that two heads are better than one, even when managing a baseball game. There may be considerable peer group pressure to chew those seeds, but it's still better than spitting tobacco juice on the next guy's shoes.

How come the Tigers' official 2006 MLB playoff hooded sweatshirt is only available in pink for women?  Are all teams like that?  A pink sweatshirt may be a nice option for some people, but as the only option, I find it insulting and not official.  I have been checking for weeks now and am very disappointed.
-- Adrienne S., Houston (formerly Saginaw, Mich.)

Those of us not directly in the hooded sweatshirt division of Major League Baseball cannot give a comprehensive explanation for this situation. Reasonable people, however, can agree that a pink sweatshirt that is not only insulting but unofficial would not be the ultimate in casual wear for persons of either gender.

Mike Bauman is national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.