The Cardinals' top draft pick, Matt Leinart, throws out the ceremonial first pitch tonight. If you see his "friend" Paris Hilton flying through the air, you'll know he mis-heard "pitch". ;-) As a tribute, I wanted to find a shot of her most excellent death from House of Wax - I hope I'm not spoiling that fine piece of cinema for you - to use as an illustration for today's game. But going by the confused reaction at Gaslamp Ball to yesterday's pic, think it's best if I skip the visual allegories for a bit.
[I should point out that no actual seals were harmed for that; all the aquatic mammals shown were, in fact, plush toys. Except for the one at the back, which was a professional stunt seal, and really good friends with the guy wielding the club - they were later seen having a drink and a good laugh about it. Or that what I've been told. So if PETA could call off the air-strike and go back to hassling the Padres about the name of their park, I'd appreciate it...]
We face a debutant: Thompson is making his first appearance in the majors, replacing the DL'd Woody Williams. He's gone 5-0 for Triple-A Portland, posting a 3.79 ERA in seven starts for them, which is okay, but not anything spectacular. We'll certainly be hoping Juan Cruz can go deep into the game tonight - six or seven innings would be very welcome - to give the bullpen a break. Though with an off-day tomorrow, that'll also provide a chance to regroup.
Now we're on top of the West, it would be nice to stay there for longer than 24 hours - I seem to recall, last season, that most of our residences lasted less time that a dose of Montezuma's Revenge. The NL West is so tight, however (all five teams within 2.5 games of each other), that it's hard to see anyone making a break for it. But a sweep of the Padres, running our season record against them to 6-0, would certainly be a good statement.
While I'm not normally a superstitious guy, last night's win was so unexpected, given the circumstances, that part of me does feel there were mysterious forces at work. We all have experienced how bad it is to tweak the baseball gods' noses in such circumstances, so as a result, "Jim McLennan" will be sitting this one out too. I have, however, arranged for a special guest commentator, who will be taking my place during tonight's proceedings. This will hopefully preserve the good luck which, frankly, has to be the only way we got through last night.
Just to mention, according to one site, tonight's game starts at 5:40pm (AZ time). But I think that's wrong, as the paper and TV schedule have a 6:40pm start, and it doesn't make much sense. Unless anyone discovers otherwise, I - er, my replacement - will be going for the later time.