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Gameday Thread, #4: 4/7 vs. Brewers

Ortiz (0-0, 0.00)
Bush (0-0, 0.00)

As mentioned, this promises to be a sterner test than the Rockies. The Brewers are a team on the up, and could conceivably be above .500 for the first time since six seasons before the Diamondbacks existed. A spot in the playoffs - where they haven't been since 1982 [gosh, we do have it easy as AZ fans...] - might be a bit of a stretch, but this will provide a more realistic assessment of our position in the baseball order.

That's especially true because we send out the back end of our rotation tonight and Sunday: brace yourself. In particular, the first Russ Ortiz start of the year comes this evening, so place your bets for exactly how ugly this will get. I'm going with five runs, four earned in 5.1 innings, and a post-game comment of "I felt fine out there today - I was hitting all my spots." Feel free to chip in. :-)

However, the good news is, we're facing the back end of the Brewers' too. And by coincidence, Bush posted exactly the same 5-11 record last year as Ortiz, albeit with an ERA 2.40 runs better than the Donut King's. That was for Toronto, however: he was traded to Milwaukee in the off-season for - hey, another D'back link! - Lyle Overbay.

We get to see one of Jackson's main Rookie of the Year rivals, in Prince Fielder, though unlike Conor, Prince's start has been less than regal: 1-for-12, with 7 K's. I'm sure Ortiz will be happy to assist there. Jenkins led the first series in hitting for the Brewers, going 5-for-12, while Hardy smacked two home runs. On the pitching side, Turnbow saved all three games, and like us, Milwaukee received strong performances from their starters.

No Russ Ortiz start will ever be a cause for unbridled optimism among Arizona fans. Pretty much the best we can hope for is that our offense keeps up with whatever Russ provides our opponents, and when we turn things over to the bullpen, this isn't already out of reach. I suspect we'll end the day back at .500, mirroring our 2005 results for the fourth straight game with a loss.

Oh, and in case you missed it in yesterday's game thread, someone started his career at Triple-A with a home-run in his first at-bat. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the 2007 Rookie of the Year, Stephen Drew...