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World Series, Game 4

It'll be Jon Lester and Aaron Cook at 8:29 on FOX. This could be the deciding game, and it doesn't look good for the Rockies - Cook hasn't pitched since August 10. He's not that good to begin with, and he's a sinkerball pitcher, and as we know from watching Salomon Torres over the years, sinkers sometimes need a couple months to really work again if the pitcher has been out for a while.

-P- Watch this video by the brilliant Pleaseeasaur and tell me the guy doesn't look like Dice-K in the middle of his windup:

Thanks to Ian for pointing out the resemblance.

-P- I'm with this guy - this has been a pretty depressing series so far. The teams are far from evenly matched, and watching the games, you get the sense that there are about four other AL teams (Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles and Detroit) who might well be doing the same thing to the Rockies if they'd made it this far.

(Thanks to Primer for the link.)

-P- Bob Smizik blames Dave Littlefield for dumping Josh Fogg. I'm not sure how much of the game Smizik watched last night, but it should have made clear, as if it weren't already, that Fogg is not a good pitcher. His game is basically to throw 87-MPH junk into the zone, try to hit the corners, and hope it doesn't get smashed. And the thing is, Smizik almost seems to get it:

After the 2005 season, the Pirates had some choices to make. With a young corps of potentially good starting pitchers coming up -- Oliver Perez, Zach Duke, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm -- the Pirates didn't need Kip Wells and Fogg in their rotation for the 2006 season.

Which of the two should they offer salary arbitration?

So what's the problem? Wells not only had much better stuff, he had a far better performance record, too. And the Pirates' problem, then and now, was that they had too many players like Fogg - guys who are good enough to be in the big leagues, and not much better. So why does the fact that Fogg is now a mediocre pitcher on an okay team that happens to be in the World Series change anything at all? Wells didn't work out, but he's the kind of player the Bucs should be taking chances on. Fogg isn't, and if the Pirates had taken him to arbitration, they'd have paid him more than five times more than the $450,000 he was able to get in free agency.

This reminds me of a Smizik column from a couple years ago in which he charged that the Pirates made a mistake in trading Tony Womack, largely because Womack ended up playing for the World Champion Diamondbacks. Look, bad players end up on championship teams. It happens. (Here were my comments on that column.)

More from Smizik on Fogg:

What the Littlefield regime did not take into account, or did not take seriously enough into account, was the competitive nature of the two.

Fogg is the consummate battler, a pitcher who never gives in, who's always willing to challenge hitters even without great stuff. There were always quiet questions about the toughness of Wells. If Wells had Fogg's intangibles, he would be one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Which is why the Rockies rallied around Fogg for Game 3.

Yeah, and we saw how that turned out.

Anyway, Smizik's right to wonder about Wells' seeming fear of challenging hitters early in the count, but it's not fair, based on everything I've ever read and heard about the guy, to question his "competitive nature." He was apparently a very hard worker. But he had control problems, and apparently also some kind of psychological block.

In any case, Dave Littlefield deserves blame for a lot of things, but keeping Wells instead of Fogg isn't one of them.

There was no question Wells was more talented. He had the stuff of an ace, while Fogg had long ago been labeled, pretty correctly, as a fourth or fifth starter.