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Gameday Thread, #45: 5/23 vs Pirates

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Victor Santos, RHP (1-4, 5.69)
Claudio Vargas, RHP (4-2, 5.25)

It's been comforting to see Hernandez and Cruz post quality starts, after driving over road-bumps at high speed in their previous outings. According to Melvin, El Duque was, "The best I've seen him. Period." And he needed to be, with the opposing starter posting six shutout innings: it was only after Perez left that we managed to score. And we needed the help of the Pirates defense to put enough up runs, to resist a ninth-inning meltdown by Valverde. Said Luis Gonzalez, "It wasn't pretty, but at the end of the year, nobody looks at this one and says it was an ugly win." True, but for right now, let's be clear: it was an ugly win.

We complete the trilogy of comeback candidates tonight, with Claudio Vargas, who was shelled badly in his last start by St. Louis. That wasn't his last outing, since he did pitch two innings of emergency relief against the Padres, and it'll be interesting to see how the long layoff - only 28 game pitches in ten days - has affected him, for good or bad. In Santos, we face a player who hasn't pitched much against Arizona; only six career innings. However, in that short time, we own him, to the tune of fifteen hits, five walks, and nine earned runs. I'll be happy to take that again tonight.

Jeff DaVanon might well get a start today, and Chad Tracy should be back in the lineup: no particular reason for his absence last night, just the need for an occasional day off. Does make sense to do it against one of the weaker teams in the league, though when you see Damion Easley playing third instead, I have qualms about the depth of our infield bench. Overall, our pinch-hitters are batting .222 (14-for-63), with an OPS of .707, below-average for the National League in both categories.

You will be on your own here this evening, since I'm off to more wrestling, this time the local boys of IZW. Frankly, I think we'll probably enjoy the show more than the high-priced theatrics and pyrotechnics of the WWE. Be interesting to see how attendance is tonight, with no Suns game as competition. Probably a little higher, but I think tomorrow's afternoon game could be a record low. Ironically, the Tribune chose today to headline a story, D-Backs have best home mark in West as crowds increase. Not for long, they didn't...