Time for some shameless namedropping: my wife just got a call from Dusty Baker. She has a copy of the DVD from the SchmuckFest Comedy Roast earlier in the year (which we helped run, and where Dusty was one of the roastees), so he wants to meet us before the game to pick that up. We will then return to the stands to heckle his players mercilessly. Odd how that works: love the manager, hate the team. At the risk of stating the obvious, we'll be at Chase tonight, so you're on your own, comments-wise.
Hopefully, it'll be as entertaining as both contests were against the Dodgers - and with as satisfactory an outcome. Although, on paper, this looks like a painful mis-match, given Batista's steadily decreasing longevity on the mound, and disappointing performance: his game scores this year have gone 70, 41, 23, 44, 18, for an average of just 39. In contrast, Maddux has an average of 66, with a low of 53. Yes, Batista has one start in 2006 better than Maddux's worst appearance.
Still, despite leading 4-0 in Cy Young awards, there is evidence that Maddux's success this year has involved some smoke and mirrors. His GB/FB ratio is 1.46, much lower than his 2.37 career average, and he's averaging 4.52 pitches per plate appearance, easily a career high. Plus, since Maddux's last start, the Cubs have been smacked around like Whitney Houston during a Bobby Brown crack bender, being outscored - get this - 34-4. In contrast, we've won three in a row, capped by our spectacular comeback victory last night. Momentum - pause to let the sabermetricians snigger - is on our side.
So, here are the things I'm looking to see tonight.
- DaVanon playing CF, and batting in the #2 spot
- Quality start from Batista
- Another multi-hit game from Shawn Green
- ...but no RBIs for him
- Hudson back, and delivering a Web Gem moment
- Estrada gets an RBI
- Gonzo homer - he's .316 career vs. Maddux, with 10 HR
- Shutout innings from Medders and Aquino
Keep score for me. In other (largely unrelated) news, I discovered someone arrived at this blog by searching for "huge manatee". We are currently ranked #6 on Google for the phrase: I'd like to thank Russ Ortiz for this opportunity...