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Matchup/Diary/Preview Game # 109 at Giants

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Andy Pettitte   Jason Schmidt
9 - 7, 2.58   7 - 6, 4.56

Surely it's back to the drawing board now for Wandy Rodriguez, and tip number one for Wandy: if Lance Berkman tiptoes up to you up there on the mound and whispers in your ear about some cockamamie play the two of you can put on, DON'T LISTEN.

About the only player who can take even a measure of solace in last night's game is Brandon Backe, who I'm sure was beginning to wonder whether his first start after coming off the DL might be at the Dell Diamond.

But the Astros did win the series at Arizona, and tonight brings a new stadium and a new team. A new and conveniently inferior team. I had to look at the numbers twice, make sure I wasn't repeating that "Eckstein leads the Cards in OPS" gaffe from right after the break. But yes, the numbers actually kind of indicate that Houston is the superior offensive team in the upcoming series. Houston leads San Francisco for the season in runs, triples, homers, total bases, slugging, OPS, and walks. And while Houston has hit into the league's second-fewest number of double plays, San Francisco has hit into the most, a whopping 26 more than Houston going in.

That by itself nearly cancels out the nine-point lead they have over us in batting average.

So yeah, it's kind of weird: for two months I've been doing this series preview thing before the first game, and the numbers have almost universally been that the opponents have been statistically better than us for the year. Then, three or four games afterwards, we look up and whattya know? The Astros took two of three, or the Astros swept. It's almost been like some kind of SABR paper: The Irrelevance of Season Long Statistics As a Predictive Factor, or something.

But now, for a change, the year-long numbers say we should go out and have the better offensive series. I wonder if that's a bad sign?

JD was talking last night about how Jason Schmidt IS BACK, and you could hear the capital letters in his voice. Now obviously, I don't watch Jason Schmidt pitch, I watch Roger and Roy & Associates pitch. But unless something is not showing up, I'm not sure what DeShaies was saying. Schmidt gave up four runs over 7.0 in his last start. Now, he struck out 8 and only walked two, but I don't care if the Astros whiff ten times if he's gonna alllow four runs. . . .

Schmidt's ERA for July was 4.03, certainly not bad, and he did go seven innings in four out of his six starts, but Jason Schmidt was a Cy-Young candidate type pitcher, so if HE'S BACK, that would mean he's pitching like a Cy Young guy again. but while he's been good lately, he's not been that good.

Of course, we have the NL pitcher of the month for July facing Schmidt tonight, a guy who had an ERA in the seventh month one-quarter of that which Schmidt carried.

So our chances would be good tonight even if the Giants were planning on starting Moises Alou, which they're not, because of That Darned Hamstring.

Beating Schmidt and the Alou-less Gigantes tonight could very well open the floodgates. Beat Schmidt tonight and the goal of sweeping the series becomes reasonable.

Series preview takes a look at the home and road splits off Isolated Power. As I suggested above, Houston takes it, but look at Jason Lane: he's pretty good if you're willing to disregard batting average :)

Home and Away Isolated Power
Road IsoP Astro Pos Giant Home IsoP
.074 Brad Ausmus C1 Mike Matheny .183 x
x .038 Humberto Quintero C2 Yamid Haad .000
x .166 Lance Berkman 1B J.T. Snow .084
.108 Craig Biggio 2B Ray Durham .141 x
x .119 Adam Everett SS Omar Vizquel .094
x .277 Morgan Ensberg 3B Edgardo Alfonzo .081
x .219 Jason Lane OF1 Moises Alou .179
x .200 Orlando Palmeiro OF3 Pedro Feliz .185
.094 Chris Burke OF2 Michael Tucker .143 x
.048 Willy Taveras OF4 Randy Winn .119 x
x .160 Mike Lamb Util/PH Deivi Cruz .120
.000 Andy Pettitte P1 Jason Schmidt .083
.000 Roy Oswalt P2 Noah Lowry .118 x
x .050 Roger Clemens P3 Brett Tomko .026