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Gameday Thread, #70: 6/19 vs Pirates

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Claudio Vargas, RHP (6-4, 5.21)
Zach Duke, LHP (5-6, 4.52)

Another day, another city, but at least this time, we're facing a team with a record below .500. The last time that happened was...actually, the last time we faced Pittsburgh on May 24, in the series where a rainout led to this make-up date. [The Braves were below .500 only after the final game of our sweep in Atlanta] It's been a brutal four weeks since, and we've been found largely wanting, going 8-15 in that span.

Thus, it comes as a bit of a relief to face Pittsburgh, who are 18 games below .500, and the next ten games are all also against teams currently below .500. After the Pirates, it's the Devils, Angels and Mariners - which sounds less like a schedule, than a really mad theme for a party... Though Pittsburgh's problems remain mostly thanks to a woeful road record of 8-25, the worst in the majors. At home, they're a credible enough 18-19, so it wouldn't do well to take them lightly.

We send up Vargas, the King of Inconsistency: in thirteen starts thus far, he's always allowed two runs or less, or five-plus. Last time, he managed the interesting feat of doing both: five runs, but only two were earned. He has been showing good control, with only two walks this month, the best rate of any starter.

The Pirates send up Duke, whom we also met during the originally-scheduled series. He took the loss, allowing nine hits and four earned runs in six innings. So he is clearly hittable. Whether we will be able to hit him again, and stop the Pirates from getting to Vargas - especially in the first inning - remains to be seen. Probably not by me though, since I expect to be sleeping for the first five innings. Here's to heady amounts of layover carnage, one way or another...