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Gameday Thread, #99: 7/25 vs. Phillies

Miguel Batista, RHP (9-5, 4.58)
Ryan Madson, RHP (8-7, 6.25)

And this will be the last you hear from me for a couple of days. Mrs. SnakePit and I are off to Las Vegas for a birthiversary trip, and so I will be somewhat distracted from matters on the diamond in Philadelphia. I suspect the closest I'll get to baseball will be placing a bet on the D'backs for the 2008 World Series [if I can find a sports book thinking that far ahead]. npineda will be "in charge" here while I'm gone; quotes used advisedly, since it implies that I ever am in charge here myself...

The D'backs hit the road, for a sub-.500 road trip that goes through Philadelphia, Houston, and the under-achieving side of Chicago. We start in Philly, and must consider ourselves to have a good chance of opening with a win, the way Batista has been pitching this month - 2.48 ERA over 29 innings, with two complete games. Save the rain-ended Coors Field outing, the last time he didn't pitch seven frames was back on June 20, since when he's undefeated. Despite qualms in some areas, he is the closest thing we have to a reliable second starter at the moment.

Boosting our chances is Madson, who has a meaty ERA despite his winning record. He tends to be either great or awful. When he wins, his ERA is 3.26 - when he loses, it's 12.27. Makes you wonder why we haven't traded for him. ;-) His last two outings have been poor, which can be read as either, he's due for a good outing, or the game is up for Madson. The reckons the latter, saying his "biggest problem has been overcoming the absence of a solid breaking pitch. Hitters are sitting on his fastball and change up." Keeping an eye out for that - or lack thereof - might be a good indicator of how this'll go.

The biggest news of the day is, however, something probably lost, or ignored, by more casual fans (not that you'll find many round here!): Mike Rizzo has left the Diamondbacks to become Assistant GM for the Nationals. "Mike who?" goes the C-Fan. "What position does he play?" Answer: none, he's the man who put together the farm system, which now appears to be on the verge of paying off, bigtime. Kinda odd that he won't be around to see it, like a musician who composes a symphony, but has another engagement the night of the premiere. It's also somewhat annoying that we get no compensation from the Nats for them swiping our "star": front-office staff, unlike players, can come and go as they please. Good luck, Mike - thanks for all you've done, and the hopes we now have. [I see unnamed has just posted a diary on this too.]

Elsewhere on the D'backs blogosphere, Zephon has decided he didn't like his existing digs, and has shifted across to his new home at Blogspot. Update bookmarks accordingly, as we've already done. And with that, it's off to Sin City for us. Back late Thursday or, perhaps more likely, Friday: unless, as I told npineda, we win the Megabucks - in which case we're buying a minor-league team, and will see you at the ballpark, for Midget Mud Wrestling Night. With Batista, Webb and Vargas starting, a series victory is possible, and a sweep not inconceivable.