The End is Nigh. Four games left in Luis Gonzalez's career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Who would have thought it would end like this? Well, I'm sure he'll still receive a rousing reception, but while I entirely agree with the organization's decision, the thought of Gonzo wearing another team's shirt has much the same effect on my brain, as dumping cold coffee into a computer. Gonna take some getting used to, it has to be said.
But, we come to praise Luis Gonzalez, not to bury him, and Chase Field should be an old-fashioned love fest for the next four games. Standing ovation, every time he comes to the plate? I think so, and will be joining in, enthusiatically. Gonzalez means more to this franchise, and its supporters, then I think perhaps even he realises. He basically is the franchise: Johnson may have the gaudier numbers and awards, but he was largely used by fans to frighten small children. If Gonzo ran for Arizona governor, Janet Napolitano would be left munching the carpet in despair.
The Padres come in to Phoenix tonight, clinging to a one-half game lead in the NL West, after the Dodgers won an old-fashioned slugfest in Coors earlier on today, 19-11 - someone must have punctured the humidor. So, we are certain to have their full attention at Chase this evening. And with Peavy suddenly pitching like Jake Peavy v.2005, it does not promise to be an easy outing. Last time, Batista fell victim to a case of the highly infectious terribilus inningitis that's been doing the rounds of our starters. He allowed three runs in the first, however, then shut the Dodgers out after that, and came away with the victory.
As noted, I'll be at the game, proudly sporting my #20 shirt, so comments will be left up to you folk. But here, as usual, are the eight events I'll be looking out for.
- Game time of 2:40 or less. I've got to pick Mrs. SnakePit up at 10pm, so that would give me time to make my way out of the park to the car, and drive to her.
- Home run for Gonzalez. I feel pretty certain it's gonna happen at some time over the weekend, so might as well be tonight.
- Three rookies or more. I imagine we'll probably see more than usual of Counsell over the weekend, but probably not quite yet. Jackson, for sure: I'm thinking Drew and Quentin will probably also start tonight. Any more will be a bonus.
- Multi-hit game for Jackson. He's been on a real tear of late, and a strong finish will go a long way towards giving him confidence for next year.
- Seven-plus innings from Miggy. The man is playing for his free-agent contract, and that seems to be concentrating his mind wonderfully. Will it be here or elsewhere?
- No K's for Drew. He's been getting the K rate down a bit lately, but it's still easily the highest on the team. Peavy's a tough customer though, so this one isn't easy.
- Bullpen shutout. I'm beginning to form a picture in my mind of what our relief corps will look like, and am fairly optimistic. Cruz, Slaten, Valverde, Vizcaino...that'd be a good start.
- Victory. That's all. Finish off my season with a win, and I'll be happy to renew my 1/8 of a ticket in 2007.