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Gameday Thread, #93: 7/18 vs. Dodgers

Chad Billingsley, RHP (0-2, 4.45)
Juan Cruz, RHP (3-4, 4.45)

After Drew got plunked early on last night, and given events in the earlier series, I was thinking that war might break out last night between us and the Dodgers. However, it was not to be, though my disappointment was tempered by the sound thrashing delivered to the Dodgers in a baseball sense. And I'm going to get my fix of cathartic violence tonight anyway, since we'll be at Impact Zone Wrestling's Fan Appreciation Night where the smackdown is guaranteed. You will thus be on your own for the Gameday Thread. Much as last night, really - except more fun for me, since I won't be attempting to explain the finer points of website construction to a hard-of-hearing grandmother in South Carolina.

As speculated in the earlier post, Tony Clark has gone on the DL, and we've opted to add another pitcher to the roster - presumably on the basis that last night's game showed that Shawn Green can spell Jackson at first, if the need should arise. And the pitcher in question is the Man With a Thousand Faces - or, at least, visas - Tony Pena, a.k.a. Adrian Rosario a.k.a. Lee Harvey Oswald. [His career was derailed a couple of years back, when he was discovered to have assumed his cousin's identity, in order to appear younger, and so a better prospect. Greg Aquino apparently did something similar.]

This apparent case of Multiple Personality Disorder aside, he has come back strong, with a 0.89 ERA in twenty innings for Tennessee, and 1.71 ERA in 26.1 IP for Tucson, and there, has been holding both right- and left-handed hitters to below .180. It probably does no harm to have an extra arm in the bullpen, in case our starters have back-to-back games where they get yanked early. Outside of Webb, I don't have much certainty than any of them will be capable of giving us seven innings on a given day.

We face Chad Billingsley, and you've got to feel optimistic, when the mlb.com preview (which generally finds something nice to say about anyone), is of the opinion, "How long the Dodgers stick with him is a huge question." He has already walked 26 in 32 innings, so I'm thinking we tape the bats of Estrada and Byrnes to their shoulders for all first pitches tonight. Arizona counters with Cruz, who'll be making his first appearance in Chase since May 21 - in his two starts post-DL, he has only lasted a total of eight innings, so that might help explain why Pena got the call rather than a position player.

Finally, a footnote to an earlier story. Remember the 83-year old who played in a minor-league game? His record is likely to be broken tonight, when former Negro League star Buck O'Neil - aged 94 - plays in the Northern League All-Star game tonight. The plan, however, is to have him appear once for each side, and have him intentionally walked, which seems to me to be a bit of a cop-out. Maybe the spirit of his dead wife will tell him, "Swing away...", just like in Signs.