Vazquez (9-11, 4.40)
Hampton (4-2, 2.51)
With the Padres losing last night - Hoffman coughing up a four-spot in the ninth - Ortiz's return leaves us no further behind San Diego than we were yesterday. This is about the best-case scenario we could realistically have hoped for. Today, however, we certainly have a chance.
Mike Hampton has had a fairly wretched past couple of months. He first went on the DL on May 21st with a strained left forearm, came back for one outing at the end of May, then returned to the DL with the same issue. He finally recovered from that in mid-July, but after one start, hurt his back...get this...climbing out of a hot tub. Another DL stint later, he's back once again, but with just six major-league innings under his belt in three months, how good will he be?
Meanwhile, we send up Vazquez, who has been the poster-child for the team's performance as a whole: one game he'll be almost untouchable, the next, he'll implode in a welter of hits and walks. In each of his past eight starts, he's either given up 2 or less, or 5+ earned runs - never anything in the middle. He hasn't had much support though: in the last ten games he's started, we've averaged just two runs, which is why he's 2-7 over that time.
With Hampton a lefty, some interesting splits appear. The expected logic would be Conor Jackson to start at first, though Clark is clobbering lefties at a .314 clip this year. Either way, we'll probably see Tracy in right and Green in center - though Green remains woeful against LHP (.188). Gonzalez should be back in left field, and wouldn't be surprises if Snyder (.316) were to catch.
I'll be a little late again tomorrow, no doubt, so feel free to start without me, and I'll catch up. ;-)