Rodriguez (6-4, 5.90)
Halsey (7-7, 3.81)
Takeru Kobayashi prepares to throw out tonight's first pitch
(before sprinting back to the concession stands)
Okay, I don't actually think the World Hot-Dog Eating champ will be at BOB this evening, but he should be, since it's Dollar Dog Night! And while he's at it, he could probably show the D'backs a thing or two about delivering in clutch situations. For if you've not seen Kobayashi in action, it is a sight to behold; he might make you rethink your stance as to whether competitive eating is a true sport, Kobayashi. You could certainly argue there's at least as much skill involved in it as, say, poker. But I digress.
While I will not be attending the game, we are still planning hot-dogs, regardless, at Snakepit Manor - with the added incentive of $1.40 beers, soft armchairs and no queues for the bathroom. Well, unless our daughter is in there, getting ready for a trip to the mall, with the level of methodical preparation usually reserved for the invasion of a medium-sized country. In which case, I'm keeping an empty beer-bottle close by... 8-)
As the Padres have already won today, this game takes on extra significance; we can cope with dropping one game over this series (especially as we're facing the Rockies over the weekend), but two would be a significant setback. Again, the match-up today should favour Arizona - not that this helped us much yesterday. Rodriguez is someone we've never faced, but Halsey is almost as unknown a quantity for the Astros; he beat them 6-1 back in May, when he faced Clemens.
Rodriguez is another leftie, so don't be surprised to see Conor Jackson at first today. Hopefully his defence will be a little more up to it than it has been - we seem to have a lot of people playing out of position, and it even infected Gonzo into his first error of the season yesterday (or maybe he got a concussion from his face-first plant into the wall). We'll have to be significantly better in that area today, if we're to avoid the sweep.
Obscure stat of the day, brought to my attention by Crawfish Boxes bemoaning the poor OBP performance of the Astros. Despite their phenomenal recent performance, and overall third-best record on the NL the Astros are ranked fifteenth in this category - twelve points worse than the Diamondbacks. Evidence that OBP is not the Holy Grail some suggest? [More of a Grail-shaped beacon...]
Looking at the season to date, team ERA is a much better predictor of wins. With just two exceptions, if we draw the line at 4.30, teams whose pitching staff are better than that are all above .500, and those worse than that are below it. [The exceptions: the Brewers, two above .500 with a 3.98 ERA, and the Phillies, +4 despite a 4.44 ERA] Most wins? Cardinals, Braves and Astros, ranked #1, #3 and #2 in team ERA. Least wins? Rockies, Giants, Reds - #15, #14, #16. Seems rather better than the dreaded Pythagorean standings which currently have Toronto leading the NL East...