It's time. Time to put up or shut up for Arizona. The next six games are against the two teams ahead of us in the division, and the general consensus of feeling seems to be, that if we don't win both series, then our players can start planning those fishing trips for October. We've lost six of the last seven games, and can not rely on the continuing indulgence of other teams to do our dirty work for us. As is, Baseball Prospectus rates our chances of post-season baseball as less than one in twelve.
Tonight is one of those matchups that looks awful on paper - Maddux has more career victories than Vargas, by a margin of 329-39. However, an encouraging note is that the Diamondbacks have, by and large, owned Maddux: I believe his record against Arizona is something like 1-9, with a 5.25 ERA. I don't know what the reason is, but it gives me cause for hope. icecoldmo pointed out some keys to the series, and I can only echo those: fewer walks and errors, hitters working the pitch count, etc. Mind you, without a decent outing from Vargas, it'll all be worthless. But his last start was great, and overall, this month, his ERA is a credible 4.24, with an excellent K/BB ratio of 19:4. That's the most strikeouts and fewest walks of anyone currently in the rotation.
I'll be around for a little while, but have to be out of here around 7:45pm. I'm running a merch table for Hardwire and The Strand at their show tonight, which will be fun: basically, I'd be there anyway, so I might as well work while I'm at it!