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Matchup/Thread Game # 87 vs. Dodgers

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Excedrin Headache # 14


Odalis Perez   Brandon Backe
4 - 5, 4.75   7 - 6, 5.09

Brandon Backe is either poised to build on his last near-quality start vs. San Diego, or primed to blow up again, and the handcuffed Dodger lineup is either set to continue their futility in building rallies against the 'Stros, or fully prepared to break out.

Don't ask me: Backe has been a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, and properly predicting when he is going to pitch well, or when he is going to stink up the joint, has proved a task beyond my limited prognosticational abilities.

I do know this, however: that the Dodgers in the first two games of the series have seen Jeff Kent go 5 for 8 overall, have seen Oscar Robles have a three-hit game, have seen Hee Seop Choi accumulate five total bases, and have seen someone by the name of "Mike Edwards" have a two-hit game. The reason why LA has yet to win a game is that they have not had back-to-back hits; the box scores show multi-hit games separated by ohfers, and (here's the key part for Backe), neither Clemens nor Oswalt have helped the Dodgers to construct ralies by walking men.

Clemens walked one on Friday, and Oswalt walked the same yesterday; to get the sweep and boost the Astros over .500, Brandon Backe is going to need to contain Kent, and avoid giving the Dodgers' other hitters anything cheap.