Games until the blessed, merciful end of the season: 18.
It's pretty hard to sustain enthusiasm for supporting a team, when all the signs are that this season is not just bereft of life, it rests in peace. If it hadn't been nailed to its perch, it would be pushing up the daisies by now, and frankly, if I didn't have to recap this mother, odds are I wouldn't bother watching it. Nine losses in the past ten games has sent Arizona back down to the basement of the NL West, and we're now trying to work out if the best bet is, once again, to go for Tankapalooza 2009, in an effort to improve our draft-position come next June.
The opposition this series is the Padres, who are completely unpredictable. By the end of May, they had followed up a streak where they were 2-13, by reeling off ten straight victories, then going 5-14. But they're back on a hot streak once again, having won the past six series, four of them on the road, with a 13-5 record in that time. That's especially impressive, since they traded away ace Jake Peavy and #2 starter Evil Chris Young hasn't played in three months. This is why the Padres have already used fourteen different starting pitchers this season.
Tonight, it's Correia, the only regular fixture in the rotation - he has ten more starts than his nearest competitor. A 4.30 ERA isn't bad, but once you take the cavernous depths of Petco Park into account, that's only an ERA+ of 87 - move it to Chase, and you're talking something a little above five, probably. However, he has seven quality starts in his last nine outings, with an ERA of 3.20 over that time, and the team is 17-12 when he takes the mound, so he probably is as close to a staff ace as we'll see this series.
The Padres aren't a good time, according to Pythagoras - their run differential equates to a record of 58-86, seven games below where they actually sit. This is mostly because when they lose, they get hammered - the team is 8-31 in contests decided by five or more runs, but 20-16 in one-run games. Offensively, there's basically Adrian Gonzalez and that's about it; Will Venable is also having a decent season. But if you can keep AdGon in the park - and only eleven of his 37 homers have been at Petco - you should be ok.
- Chris Young CF
- Stephen Drew SS
- Justin Upton RF
- Miguel Montero C
- Mark Reynolds 3B
- Gerardo Parra LF
- Ryan Roberts 2B
- Brandon Allen 1B
- Billy Buckner P
Well, there's a surprise. CY back at leadoff? Well, he has been hitting as well as anyone on the team over the past week, though given his homer-power, I am a little surprised to see him at #1 with a bullet. I am wondering if this might be close to our line-up on Opening Day 2010? Of course, not with Buckner on the mound. Regarding that, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports, "Brandon Webb's rehab is going well, but the Dbacks don't plan to pick up his $8.5 million option. They will try to negotiate a 1-year deal." Doesn't make much sense to me.