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Gameday Thread, #21: 4/25 vs Padres

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Claudio Vargas, RHP (1-1, 8.25)
Jake Peavy, RHP (1-2, 4.32)

Today is the first day of the rest of the year. With Ortiz removed from the rotation, the harsh light of reality shifts onto Claudio Vargas, who has been swatted around like a beachball in the bleachers over his past couple of starts. Much better performances are required, and hopefully the dispatch of the Manatee will have sent the appropriate message. "Pour encourager les autres", as Voltaire once said. I believe he was talking about admirals, rather than starting pitchers, but Vargas should take heed, none the less.

However, if you had to pick a pitcher and park not to be facing under the circumstances, Peavy in Petco would likely be high on your list. Despite a 1-2 record, Peavy has still been almost as good as advertised, with a 5:1 K:BB ratio, and an ERA largely inflated by one sucky outing versus the Rockies - oddly, at home rather than in Coors. Over his other three starts, he's allowed 4 runs in 21 innings, so it's unlikely to be fun for the hitters.

Craig Counsell is expected to be back in the starting line-up, and Easley should return to the bench. I'm guessing Craig will return to leadoff; if DaVanon is still keeping Byrnes out of the lineup, he may slide down to #2, with Hudson returning to the bottom of the order. I really don't think O-Dawg has the patience for that role, though it has been gratifying to see more examples of his much-touted defense (a web gem to rob Piazza yesterday).

Impact Zone Wrestling tonight, so won't be around for this one. Probably a good game to miss though, as my expectations are definitely subject to management for this encounter. A win would be nice, but I'd probably be happier in the long term with a quality start from Vargas, regardless of the outcome.