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AZ 4, Twins 3 - God's Gun

Record: 32-29. Change on last season: +7

In the last of our "twins" movies, Lee Van Cleef plays both brothers in this spaghetti Western - one a pacifist priest, the other a gunfighter now hiding just over the border in Mexico. When the priest is killed by local outlaws, his brother returns to seek revenge, by making the bad guys believe they're being stalked by a ghost. It's a concept somewhat better in idea than execution, though Cleef's double role is a nice touch, and his performance is its usual solid one.

What a difference a win makes. Now, instead of whining about us "only" being six games better than we were at the same point last year, I can say something optimistic. Such as mentioning that our 32nd win last year didn't come until July 26th, so we're almost seven weeks ahead of ourselves.

Not that this was easy. Vazquez clearly didn't have his best stuff - I mean, he walked somebody, f'heavens sake! That brought to an end a streak of 54 1/3 innings, dating back to April 25: just for good measure, he then added two more, more than the total for his previous eight starts combined. It was almost threes all the way across the box-score for Vazquez:
Vazquez: 6 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

Cormier was his usual solid self through the seventh and eighth, allowing one hit and fanning two, while Lopez dispatched the first two, left-handed hitters in the ninth. "Exit light, enter Bruney," as Metallica almost sang: he put the tying and winning runs on base before striking out Lecroy to get the save.

Not a big night for our hitters: only Cintron, with two hits and two RBIs, will look back fondly on this one. Thanks to Otacon, William K, frienetic, and Ryan for stopping by last night, as we avoid our second sweep of the season - albeit still sinking to our fifth straight series loss.

Heroes and Zeroes, Series 20: vs. Twins, at home
Cormier: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K
Tracy: 4-for-9
Glaus: 2-for-10, 0 RBI, error
Herges: 3 IP, 4 H, BB, 5 ER
Vargas: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER

Cormier gets top honours: pitching two shutout innings in a one-run game is, in my opinion, far more deserving of a "save" than facing three hitters and getting one out, as Bruney did. Tracy seems to have returned to being a line-drive hitter, but still can't walk - he's been given one base on balls in the past month. In the villains, Glaus continues to struggle - he hasn't had an extra-base hit for more than two weeks, though Otacon reckons his slump may be ending. And I would suggest that our pair of castoff pitchers should not yet unpack all their suitcases.

Speaking of cast-offs, another roster move: Koplove down, Edgar Gonzalez up. Said Melvin of Koplove, "This is a guy we really envisioned being basically our setup guy and we feel like we need him to get to where we want to go." Gonzo Jr. has been burning up the PCL, with a 6-1 record, and an ERA of exactly three. He posted an 0-9 record in the majors last season, but believes this will be different: "I'm using my whole body now and I'm able to keep the ball down. I'm also throwing more changeups. I'm better with my changeup."

We shall see. But the question is, why the hell wait until the game after we need a starting pitcher to make this move??? Said Melvin of Vargas's performance, "There was probably just some rust" - so why not use someone like Gonzalez, who has been playing every fifth day down in Tucson? It was clear from last Friday we would need a spot outing, so we could have pulled Edgar from his scheduled work and brought him up when we needed him, rather than waiting till the day after - as is, he'll be lucky to get a start. But with Aquino lurking close, his stay may not be all that long.

I suppose I should finally break the long silence regarding my fantasy team, which is currently slumped in 10th place in our league, ahead of only two teams whom we think abandoned the league when we discovered they were run by the same guy. I'll be honest: I haven't given my guys as much attention as I should, but things haven't been helped by several factors.

Firstly, my #1 pick, Todd Helton is hitting .260 - that's 87 points off last year, and his slugging percentage is down over two hundred points on his career average. Then there's the poor performance of my starters - I'm dead last in wins. Zach Greinke was supposed to be a sleeper, but has slept his way to a 1-7 record and a 4.91 ERA. He'll be getting dumped after tonight's start in BOB. Maddux was supposed to be my anchor, but has only four wins. I'm trying to rebuild, but somehow, I get the feeling it's gonna be a long season!