Record: 49-47. Change on last season: +3
Phase 2 of our Cunning Plan [TM Baldrick Productions, 1485] is complete: we beat the Rockies, and the Giants slap around the Padres again. Now, all we need is for those two to tear each other's throats out over the weekend series, while we quietly, and efficiently, continue dismantling the Rockies. The two choke each other out, and we sweep up from third to first without them noticing. Brilliant!
Definitely a relief to get a Vargas start out of the way. This was a quality start rather than a Quality Start: six innings and two earned runs, that's true. But with six hits and two walks, especially in the early innings, he was often walking on thin ice. Still, he and we survived, and the 7-8-9 team of Vizcaino/Choate, Lyon and Julio posted zeroes thereafter. It wasn't technically a save situation, but only went that way after we scored in the eighth, and I guess Julio was already warmed up by then.
Meanwhile we got leadoff hits in every one of the five innings the Rockies starter lasted, and clubbed him around for eleven hits and three walks in only 4 2/3 innings. We could - and probably should - have been much further ahead than we were. Three hits for Hudson, two for DaVanon in the leadoff spot. Tracy scored three times, and Stephen Drew had another triple.
However, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Tucker of Chandler will have been delighted by Gonzo's performance: three hits, including a double that moved him up alongside Dave Parker for 30th on the all-time list. According to the report, LuGon "said before the game that he feared fans would consider him selfish for objecting to being benched. 'Obviously, when I went out there, I was very leery to hear the fan reaction. Once they were clapping and cheering for me, I was kind of relieved a little bit. You know, I'm not a bad person. I didn't want to come off like that yesterday.'"
Yeah, we know you're not a bad person, Luis. I get the feeling he was a little bit disturbed at how his outburst last night came over, and at the reaction of many fans to it. Even Gonzo loyalists - and there are many around, as is clear; I'd even still classify myself as one - were shocked at the reaction. Neither Drew, now hitting .308 since his promotion, nor Quentin, deserve to be the target of any ire. They're playing to the best of their ability, and if this pushes the veterans, so much the better.
Thanks to npineda, William K, flyingdutchman, TheMainMan, Spencer, IndyDBack and Devin for their comments during the game. Glad to have got this one out of the way; looking at the match-up, this looked like the most troublesome one, and there's now a real chance that we can carry out our part of the previously-mentioned Cunning Plan. Drew seems to be fitting nicely into the team, and it was suggested he might be a better fit in the #2 hole than at the bottom of the order. Certainly, if he keeps hitting the way he has been, then it's only a matter of time before he gets moved higher.
Elsewhere, as noted, the Padres went down to the Giants; the Dodgers lost to St. Louis [Webb's Cy Young rival Penny took the loss there, which is good], but the wild-card leading Reds scored three in the ninth off Turnbow (sound familiar) to snatch victory against Milwaukee. And, in case you didn't notice - we certainly did in the Gameday Thread - here's a pitching line to savour from yesterday. Guess who this one belongs to?
Pitcher X: 0 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 R, 6 ER
If you solve the equation with "X = Russ Ortiz", you're dead right. Forced, by a bout of food poisoning, into a start on two days rest, Ortiz failed to retire a single batter for the Baltimore Orioles. I think any doubts concerning the wisdom of our canning his sorry ass, should now be ended - though if Ortiz is the best spot starter you can find, the problems in your organization run pretty damn deep. Looking at that result, the Orioles would have been six runs better off going straight to the bullpen.
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Today: Luis Gonzalez, that's who...