Ortiz (4-6, 6.00)
Claussen (7-8, 4.53)
To give you some idea about the NL West, our record is 1 1/2 games better than Cincinnati's. However, they are twenty-one games back in their division. We continue to do a convincing imitation of being contenders, though we seem perpetually on the edge of finding ourselves in fourth place too.
Today sees the second start since his return of Mr. Mediocrity, Russ Ortiz, whose first outing back was about as poor as most of his others since May. Claussen isn't exactly an overwhelming pitcher, but I don't look at this as a favourable match-up. Since April (when he had three), Ortiz has only delivered two quality starts in ten appearances. We have to hope our batters have their hitting shoes firmly tied, since odds are Ortiz will give up at least four earned runs. Here are his 2005 outings:
- 0-1 earned runs: once
- 2-3 earned runs: six
- 4-5 earned runs: six
- 6+ earned runs: twice
Claussen's a leftie so this will mean we'll likely see Jackson at first-base. I think it's safe to say the air of hope and expectation that greeted Conor has been replaced with a gritting of teeth every time the ball and he get together. GIDPs and errors have been the order of the day, not the doubles and RBIs expected, with his "growing pains" palpable. But my patience is still comfortably full - give him time.
Let's hope the G-Force continue their recent torrid pace. Over the past week, Gonzalez, Glaus and Green are hitting a combined .413 (26-for-63) with six homers. The C-Force (Clayton, Counsell, Clark) are at .300 (18-for-60), with 14 RBIs, and even the S-Force - our Stinnett/Snyder tandem - are batting .316 (6-for-19). With Ortiz on the mound, we'll need all that. I'll be working, so don't expect much from me.