Okay, so which of you had Ryan Roberts in the Most Valuable D-back After 20 Games pool? Yeah, me neither. And for any of you smug bastards who did, I trust you also picked Kelly Johnson for last spot. Didn't think so. It has been a weird kind of season for Arizona, with performances coming from places we wouldn't have expected - another example being the now DL'd Willie Bloomquist - while our most valuable pitcher has thrown just eight innings. Go figure. We beat the NL Central champions home and away, then got swept by the team who had the worst record in the league before they played us. On this basis, a sweep of the Phillies is inevitable.
Perhaps surprisingly, tonight will only be the third time in his career that Lee has faced the Diamondbacks, but he is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA. The last time, in August 2009, he demolished us, throwing a two-hit complete game in which he allowed only an unearned run, with no walks and 11 K's. Even though that game was less than two years ago, it was an almost completely different team: of the 14 Diamondbacks who took part in it, only Stephen Drew, Ryan Roberts and Juan Gutierrez are still on the major-league roster. For amusement, here's tonight's line-up along with who started at that position the last time was saw Lee
- Chris Young CF [Trent Oeltjen]
- Kelly Johnson 2B [Rusty Ryal]
- Justin Upton RF [Alex Romero]
- Stephen Drew SS [Drew]
- Xavier Nady 1B [Mark Reynolds]
- Miguel Montero C [Chris Snyder]
- Ryan Roberts 3B [Augie Ojeda]
- Gerardo Parra LF [Roberts]
- Ian Kennedy RHP [Dan Haren]
So, not much data to go on as far as facing Lee - the first occasion was almost six years ago, in June 2005 [Brad Halsey started for us, and Royce Clayton went 4-for-4!]. Lee has had his mortal side exposed this season by the Braves, but his last two starts were a complete-game shutout three-hitter and two earned runs in six innings, so that seems more like a blip than a trend. But Kennedy has also only faced the Phillies once, getting a no-decision almost exactly one year ago, despite allowing only two runs in eight innings, when Philadelphia scored off Juan Gutierrez in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.
I'm in charge of recapping this one, so I'll be back after the game to report on the carnage. I'll be no more predictive than that, I think.