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Gameday Thread, #118: 8/14 vs. Rockies

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Claudio Vargas, RHP (9-8, 5.30)
Jeff Francis, LHP (9-9, 3.44)

It would be foolish to write the Rockies out of contention for the division, since they are only 4.5 games back in the division, and 3.5 in the wild-card. [Though this makes them the fourth-placed club in both, so they have a bit of traffic to get through] It's probably fair to say they, like the Diamondbacks, are doing better than expected: after 117 games last year, Colorado were 44-73, and 14.5 back, even in the sucky NL West. In terms of pure results, their 13-game leap makes them the most improved team in the National League from a year ago.

Whether it's the humidor, or whether it's simply an improved rotation, they largely have improved pitching to thank for the improvement. In 2005, almost two-thirds of their games (107) were started by pitchers with an ERA worse than five. This year, through 117 contests, only three fall into that category, with Francis, Jennings and Cook covering 71 games while posting sub-four ERAs. And guess who we get to face in this series? Yep, all three.

It's the first-named for us tonight, and since we send the rarely-impressive Vargas to the hill, I'm not exactly feeling like this is a certain victory, shall we say. Even if they've switched the baseballs out for Nerf ones, Vargas still needs to keep the ball down if he wants to have success. I haven't checked yet, but it'll be interesting to see the lineup, and whether the rumblings suggesting that Quentin will get more playing-time are, indeed, the case. I'll be around: it was about to be dinner-time here, but Mrs. SnakePit just told me the crock-pot wasn't actually turned on, so that has been delayed... The good news is, the pork loin is now very, very well marinaded. :-)