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Gameday Thread, #10: 4/14 vs Astros

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Pettite (1-1, 8.18)
Webb (0-0, 2.77)

The NL Champion Houston Astros come to town, with a solid 6-3 record, but just off a rain-affected set against the Giants which has thrown their rotation into some confusion (Sunday's starter is still unknown). However, despite playing a double-header yesterday, they were able to ride Roy Oswalt to 8 1/3 innings, so their bullpen wasn't overly taxed.

The Astros hitter to fear is Lance Berkman, who has clubbed six homers with 14 RBIs already - that's at least twice as much, in both categories, as the best D'back - while hitting .344. He and Morgan Ensberg, between them, have an OBP of almost .500. Tonight, we face Andy Pettite, which should be an interesting matchup. In the absence (so far) of Roger Clemens, Pettite got the Opening Day start, but got absolutely shellacked, as you can tell from his ERA. His last start - three runs over 6 1/3 innings against Washington - was a great deal better.

The reverse is true for Webb: after a great first outing, his second was disappointing; but he still allowed only three earned runs in six innings. With Pettite a lefty, and another one appearing tomorrow, it promises to be another series where Melvin mixes the lineup about. Should see plenty of action for Conor Jackson, and hopefully, not too much for Shawn Green. Though today's opening question is, is it better to play a slumping hitter, or to bench him? Discuss...