In case you didn't already know, Russ Ortiz has been designated for assignment - see the diary on the right for more info. Hearing this news is a great lift for me as a fan - I will no longer feel the dread that struck every fifth day, on hearing the words "Ortiz starts tonight for the Diamondbacks..." The question of who will take his spot in the rotation short-term is yet to be addressed, but I imagine in the long-term, it'll now be Webb, Batista, Cruz, Vargas and EnGon on a regular basis.
The D'backs on Sunday having - I feel convincingly - debunked the myth of npineda's Gameday Thread invulnerability, I'm back in action. And safe in the knowledge that we can't do any worse tonight than that 15-2 drubbing. Can we? Er, looking for words of reassurance here, guys? Unfortunately, we don't have to look all that far back to find consecutive double-digit defeats: August 23rd and 24th last year, in New York, where the Mets whipped us 14-1 and 18-4. [Part of an, ah, "interesting" run, where we conceded 13 or more runs in five of twelve games.]
Hoping for better tonight, and I have a good feeling about the game. Enrique Gonzalez goes to the mound, and it's amazing to think he had pitched four innings above Class-A ball until last year. But he's been solid so far, and the Giants are hardly setting the world on fire. They lost three straight over this weekend. To the Pirates. At home. Yes, Pittsburgh: against everyone else on the road, they are 5-24. Against the Giants, 3-1. Y'know when I said before the Mets came to town, that we could do with a series against the Kansas City AA-affiliate? This might be the next best thing.
Okay, I am probably devaluing the Giants a bit, not that there's anything wrong with that, of course (McCovey Chronicles would likely disagree). But the sporadic appearances of Barry have left their season forever teetering on the edge of irrelevancy: it's a nasty glimpse into the future, post-Bonds, for the franchise. They have one regular (Vizquel) batting over .275 and their bullpen continues to define "suckage" on a regular basis, most recently a game-losing grand-slam given up by Worrell against Pittsburgh. Jason Schmidt = god-like; the rest of the rotation = less so. Especially the back-end we get to meet - Wright, Morris and Cain have only 16 quality starts and 12 wins in 36 attempts between them.
Hence, "Oceans Rise. Cities Fall. Hope Survives," as read the tagline for Deep Impact - a vastly superior film to Armageddon, incidentally. Take a few deep breaths, because while concern is appropriate, panic is not (and I'm telling myself this as much as anyone else!). If you'd told me, before the season, we'd be one game back at this point, I'd have settled for that, very happily. Mind you, if you'd also mentioned a D'backs player getting raided by the feds, I'd have advised you to step away from the crack-pipe. Hey, if life was predictable, it wouldn't be any fun.
Seems like ages since we've played anyone in the NL West. That's because it is - almost a month - and it's a while till we do again, so let's take advantage. Should be around-ish. SnakePit Jr. wants us to watch The Aristocrats, but will likely not be until later in the evening, so expect some early comments. Let's hope we can overcome our first-inning woes: I was looking back at the Fangraphs for the Mets series (now posted, below), and there was a disturbing sameness about them all, plunging from the start like Angelina Jolie's cleavage. If we can get past that, and not let the Giants dictate the game, I think we'll break the streak and take victory, in the first game of the A.O. (After Ortiz) era.