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Gameday Thread, #83: 7/3 vs. Dodgers

Juan Cruz, RHP (3-3, 4.05)
Derek Lowe, RHP (6-4, 3.49)

Off the sweep of the A's - one of only five by NL teams during interleague play this year - we head down to LA, to take on the Dodgers. This starts a series of sixteen games, where 13 are against the division (home and away sets versus the Dodgers and Rockies), which should go some way to sorting out the wheat from the chaff in the NL West. Los Angeles have been less than overwhelming recently, going 5-10 since June 16 - and three of those wins came against Pittsburgh, so only just count.

Let's hope we can deliver another thrashing to Lowe, whose last start was woeful - 5.1 innings, of 12 hit, nine earned-run ball. We bring back Juan Cruz, who returns from a stint on the DL caused by a sore shoulder: first outings back are always a somewhat nervous affair, and we'll be watching closely to see if he can get through the first couple of innings without problem. Given he pitched thirteen shutout innings in his last two starts, and missed the entire losing streak: glad to have you back, Mr. Cruz. Maybe he can join Batista and Webb in throwing a complete game: if he gave up just a single, would that make it a "Juan-hitter"?

Thank you. I'll be here all week. However, someone else won't be, but no word at time of writing about what roster move will be made to accommodate Cruz. Edgar Gonzalez will certainly go somewhere, and may simply be sent down to the Sidewinders. But I would really not be surprised if he is shifted sideways to the bullpen. Someone would be optioned out, but another possibility would be a doctor's note getting written for Valverde, so he can head off to Tucson and try to sort out whatever it is that clearly still ails him.