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Gameday Thread, #16: 4/18 vs.Padres


Greg Maddux
RHP, 2-0, 2.00


Dan Haren
RHP, 2-0, 2.50 preview [opens in new window]

The best possible scenario for the Padres tonight, sees Maddux throw six innings, Cla Meredith pitch the seventh and eighth, then Hoffman in for the ninth. Indeed, I suspect that might be exactly what we see tonight, regardless of the game situation, since they are about the only pitchers available for San Diego, after last night's 22-inning butt-numbing epic at Petco. As noted elsewhere, Maddux basically is now maxed out at under 100 pitches, so if the D-backs exercise a little patience, he'll be done by five.

Stapling Orlando Hudson's bat to his shoulder might help here, since O-Dawg trails the team with only 3.13 pitches per plate-appearance. Perhaps surprisingly, Special K has the highest figure thus far, at 4.48. Hudson's start at the playe has been a little disappointing - he and Snyder are the only ones with an OPS+ below 110, but I think his generally-stellar defense makes up for any shortcomings. Maddux is easy to run on as well; since the start of last season, 37 of 39 base-stealers have been successful. Expect the D-backs to take advantage on the bags, though backup Padres' catcher Colt Morton [Michael Barrett is on the DL] is an unknown factor.

The Padres have swapped around their starters for the first two games: Maddux was originally slated to throw tomorrow, but Chris Young has been given an extra day of rest instead, because of elbow stiffness. It makes for an intriguing trio of pitching matchups. However, it's the offense that's the difference; thus far, the Padres don't have a single position player with an OPS of .800. The D-backs have five regul;ar starters better than .900. While we've played in more hitter-friendly parks thus far, I don't think that explains the overall gulf in OPS: Arizona are .848, San Diego at .636. That's a chasm. by any terms.

It'll be our first time at Chase since the FanFest, so we're looking forward to seeing our boys in person for the first time, and checking out the new Jumbotron. It'll also be Tony Clark's first trip back to Arizona since his departure - I'm sure he'll get a warm welcome, though since he played all 22 innings last night too, he's probably going to be dozing off at the end of the dugout. I'll therefore leave the creation of any overflow threads to Azreous, DbackSkins and snakecharmer. Report, with pics and perhaps video [note to MLB lawyers: of the Jumbotron, not the game, you silly rabbits!], to follow.