Webb (13-11, 3.68)
Weaver (14-10, 4.29)
Yesterday, I "enjoyed" an entirely new experience: rooting for the San Francisco Giants. Quotes are used advisedly, because such betrayal of all which I stand for that is good and noble, naturally left me feeling like Britney Spears' used washcloth: grubby and unworthy. Necessity - and the last week of a pennant race - make for strange bedfellows.
And the Giants won 3-2, though I was still happy to see Bazza going 0-for-5 - hey, there are limits to my heresy! They scored two runs to beat Hoffman in the ninth - and no doubt provoke Padres fans into contemplating the idea of a SeaWorld visit, and a close, personal encounter with the killer whales.
As a result of this late collapse, the Black Magic Number sticks at two again, and Baseball Prospectus has more than tripled our chances of a playoff visit. Albeit on to about two thousand, eight hundred and fifty to one against. Where's an Infinite Improbability Drive when you need one?
But, hey: if you'd told me at the start of the year we'd still be in the playoff hunt - even theoretically - during the penultimate series of the year, I'd have taken that. Of course, you'd also have had to mumble something about the division leader being under .500. At which point, I'd have looked at you strangely, and driven my car away from the traffic light, looking nervously in my rear-view mirror to see if you were following.
One bit of tidying up to do, before we head to Los Angeles for today's game against the Dodgers:
Heroes and Zeroes, Series 50: vs. Padres, at home
Tracy: 7-for-14, 5 RBI
Gonzalez: 6-for-12, 3 BB, 3 RBI
Worrell: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 ER
Vargas: 6 IP, 7 H, 7 BB, 3 ER
Villarreal: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER
Ortiz: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 ER
Tracy had the best series of our hitters, but Gonzo put together a decent enough series, and Worrell has become a largely reliable set-up man for Valverde, and will likely be kept around for 2006. Vargas's wild performance helped lead to the loss, not helped by Oscar in relief (or lack thereof), but Ortiz delivered another hideous start to win this series' dubious honour without much difficulty.
Back to LA tonight where - as for the rest of the season - a Diamondbacks loss and a Padres win will eliminate us from contention. If the second half of our season has been a bit of a disappointment after our early success, what must it be like for the Dodgers, who were the reigning NL West champions? After a 12-2 start, they're now 16 games below .500 and, short of a sweep here, look likely to end the year behind Arizona, after finishing last season forty-two games in front of us.
We put our best foot...arm...whatever forward tonight, with Brandon Webb taking the mound. Brandon was lethal last time out, and apart from a couple of flaky outings mid-season, has easily been the most reliable of our pitchers. [Vazquez at his best probably just trumps Webb, but that's about a 1-in-5 shot or thereabout] I'm fairly optimistic his sinker will keep on sinking as it has been.
It's the "other" Tuesday, so that means IZW wrestling, and so no comments from me. Keeping the comments-fire burning will therefore be left up to you!