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Gameday Thread, #154: 9/23 vs. Dodgers

Miguel Batista, RHP (10-7, 4.40)
Brad Penny, RHP (16-8, 4.13)

This could well be it. A D'backs loss tonight, or various other results, would see Arizona formally eliminated from the playoffs. Not that we currently have what you'd call a great chance - BP puts us at seven in a million! - but it is still technically possible. That's not too bad, after 153 of a 162-game season, though realistically, our chances probably came to an end after that series in Washington to open September, where we went from six to nine back in the NL West, in about 48 hours.

Now, our main fight is with the Rockies, to avoid taking the wooden spoon in the division: we currently have a half-game advantage there. Anyone think that's where we'd be, back on June 4 when we were 34-22, the third-best record in the majors, and in first place, with a 2.5 game lead? I did know that we were overachieving, but to go 38-59 since then (the worst record in the National League over that time) is somewhat disappointing, shall we say. Well, maybe we'll end up getting to pick #6 in the draft next year, if Colorado and Milwaukee pass Arizona down the final stretch...

As seems to be the modus operandi of our starting pitchers lately, Batista was largely undone by a single inning in his last start. And it wasn't even his fault, as Conor Jackson's double-error led to a pair of unearned runs in the second, extending Batista's winless streak to seven games. By no means has he pitched badly over that time, going six innings or more every start, and with an ERA of 3.13 in 46 IP. Four times, he's only allowed one earned run, but the W's have proven elusive.

Victory today would make Brad Penny the winningest pitcher in the National League. Wouldn't it suck if he ended up with 18 wins and took the Cy Young because voters couldn't see past that? However, Penny has been far from lights out since the All-Star break: before, he went 10-2, with a 2.91 ERA, but after it, he's only 6-6 with an ERA exactly three runs higher. Still, the Dodgers will obviously not require firing up for this one, in the middle of a three-way dog-fight for two post-season spots. And if our offense can't break out of its rigor mortis, our chances of victory will be slim indeed. Off to Big Daddy's North tonight, so will likely be watching much of the game from there, but unable to comment myself...