Welcome to the Playoff Roster, Jeff

Just in case there was any question left about whether Jeff Kent (or, as Vin likes to call him, “Anakent Baseclearer”, and since Vin made this excellent Photoshop, he can call him whatever he likes) was going to make the playoff roster, I’d say that’s about answered. Let’s do some math.

Kent playing the field on back to back nights + Kent crushing a ball into the left field seats + Torre being unlikely to let a veteran star go out on the sidelines = this man’s going to be a part of the final 25.

Speaking of the playoff roster, I’m going to make my final prediction from the original one I had made weeks ago. I’m making three changes – Brad Penny’s obviously not going to be there, I no longer have faith in Hong-Chih Kuo being there, and with both Kent and Nomar likely coming off the bench, that hopefully alleviates the “need” for Mark Sweeney.

Replacing Penny is going to be Greg Maddux. He was the hardest to leave off my list originally anyway, and that was before Torre said he’d “probably” use four starters if it went that far. Replacing Kuo? Believe it or not… Scott Proctor has probably forced his way onto the roster, because he’s been excellent since his return from the DL. I know – I was surprised too. But he was unscored upon in his first 7 outings (striking out 10 in 6.1 IP) until giving up one of the most bizarre home runs you’ll ever see tonight in San Francisco, and we all know he’s a Torre favorite. So he’s in too. As for the last spot… well, it’s anyone’s guess. Chin-Lung Hu or Pablo Ozuna for further infield depth? Delwyn Young for a switch-hitting bat off the bench? Sweeney for “veteranness”? I tend to think in such a short series, a 6th middle infielder isn’t really that important, and Sweeney just simply cannot hit. So it’s Young, right?

Well, not so fast, says Diamond Leung, and avert your eyes, because this is going to be horrifying:

Ozuna is now schedule to play in the outfield tomorrow, as he’s under consideration for the playoff roster due to his versatility.

You know, I was all ready to go into an epic rant about how bad Ozuna is and how much I’d rather see Young on the roster… but I just can’t. Contrary to what I had thought, Ozuna’s not just an infielder who’d made an emergency appearance in the outfield – he’s made 63 career appearances out there. And while I do think Ozuna is a big zero at the plate (career OPS+ of 76, and only 66 for LA), Young hasn’t been much better this year, with only a 71 OPS+. Now don’t get me wrong, because we’re still huge fans of Young’s around here (check out his crazy minor league stats in a post we made on him in June) and I think a huge reason for his lack of productivity is his sporadic at best playing time. But the playoffs are no time to work out the hitting kinks, and clearly he’s not a plus with the glove.

On the other hand, the fact that we’re even contemplating Ozuna for the postseason roster is completely mind-blowing considering that they thought so highly of him, they DFA’d him less than a month ago rather than waiting 4 more days for the rosters to expand. So who knows.

Which would make the roster like so:
C: Martin, Ardoin
IF: Loney, DeWitt, Furcal, Blake, Nomar, Kent, Berroa, Ozuna
OF: Manny, Kemp, Ethier, Pierre
P: Lowe, Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw, Maddux, Park, Beimel, Proctor, Wade, Broxton, Saito

As for where that team might be going… it’s really starting to look like Chicago, thanks to the Mets reprising their 2007 death spiral. The Phillies’ magic number is now down to 1, and the Brewers have won 5 straight to grab a 1 game lead in the Wild Card. So instead of getting to face a tired Mets or Phillies team, it looks like the Blue are going to have to face the well-rested best team in the League. Thanks, Mets!

I’d also like to ask a question: which scenario do you find more surprising? Blake DeWitt being the 2008 Opening Day third baseman… or Blake DeWitt (likely) being the starting second baseman in Game 1 of the NLDS?

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

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