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Gameday Thread, #158: 9/24 vs. Cardinals


Max Scherzer
RHP, 0-3, 3.00

Adam Wainwright
RHP, 10-3, 3.21

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Must-win Game, #1 in a series of five. Collect the entire set! If not quite technically a must-win, with the Dodgers magic number still up at three, this is pretty much where the ride stops for Arizona. It is almost essential for the Diamondbacks to W out from here, and it would be very helpful if the Padres did not roll over like a bunch of fearful puppies, as they did last night. I mean: 10-1? The Dodgers' biggest margin of victory since April? Sheesh. C'mon, guys - you can do bette...oh, sorry - my mistake. They're the 2008 Padres. :-S As a result, I've a nasty feeling our elimination number will be one by the time we attend Friday's game, even if we take both remaining games in St. Louis.

Max Scherzer's seventh start of his career, and he's still looking for his first win. That's not uncommon: more than 150 players have gone longer in the past fifty years, though the only one this year is Clayton Kershaw who took ten attempts to get his first victory. [The recent record is twenty winless starts top open a career, by Mike Mohler from 1993-1997 and Bill Caudill, 1979-1981] He has pitched well enough since returning: in those three starts, with an ERA of 3.71 and striking-out 28 hitters in only 19 innings. If he can avoid the long-ball - responsible for three of the four runs in his last two starts - he should be okay.

Runs over and above four would certainly be helpful. We've scored 77 times this month to date, only three more than the worst in the NL, despite an OPS in that time of .760, which actually ranks above average for the league. [The closest to us is Atlanta, with an OPS fractionally higher at .764 - yet they have scored thirty more September runs] It's the absence of clutch which has killed the Diamondbacks: the entire team seems to freeze up with runners in scoring position the last month. We can't "fix" this now. We just have to hope it stops happening.

A quick memo - not least to myself - reminding you that tomorrow's game will start at 11:15am, Arizona time. Tonight's result might go a long way to determining how much interest there is in that. I'll be traveling home from early on this one: I hope that, unlike last night, we are not knocked out of this one by the time I leave work.