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Gameday Thread, #161: 9/30 vs. Padres

David Wells, LHP (2-5, 4.80)
Juan Cruz, RHP (5-6, 4.27)

What the...? Cruz starting? Bizarro. The opinion generally seems to be that this is a showcase move for a trade. Rumour has it that Phillies scouts will be in attendance - but if that's the case, it's weird that it appears Montero gets the start behind the plate today, given Estrada's publicly-expressed desire to go there. Wild speculation time: Estrada + Cruz for... Lieber and Hamels? Yes, Mr. Byrnes: that would be a very nice present to find lying under the Christmas tree this year. Make it so.

It's expected that Cruz will only throw two innings, but then, he's only pitched three innings in September at all. I presume his shoulder has been being rested, and we've had no shortage of alternatives with the call-ups, so no point taking any chances. EdGon will probably come in after Cruz departs. It's a very strange set-up, one more befitting an early spring training game, than one which could play a crucial role in determining the destination of the NL West.

Speaking of playoff spots, the Phillies and Cardinals are already under way, each currently clutching a one-run lead, in the sixth and eighth innings respectively. The latter would clinch their division with a win and a Houston loss, while the Phillies need to win both their games to have any chance at the post-season. For the Padres today, we see David Wells, who missed his last start due to gout. I thought that was a disease only suffered by 18th-century gentlemen of leisure, but I stand corrected there. Obese, untrustworthy pitchers are clearly equally at risk: be warned, Russ Ortiz.

It seems that the atmosphere at Chase is definitely building to a crescendo over this series. The current estimate is 35,000 plus for today, and very close to a full house for tomorrow. Should I ask where all these people were for the first 79 home games of the season? Not supporting Luis Gonzalez then, were they...