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Matchup/Game Thread vs. Oakland 1:05 CDT

Chad Gaudin Jason Jennings
6 - 1, 2.43 0 - 1, 2.70

Chunky Jason Jennings and his 86-mph fastball try to turn things around today against an Oakland team that will hopefully be more concerned about making its flight.

Sound-barrier velocity or no, JJ is clearly the best National League starter without a win yet, and here's hoping we can't say that tonight.

National League Starters Without A Win
Min. 1 GS, 20 IP
Jason Jennings HOU 5 1 30 2.70 1.10
Angel Guzman CHC 3 1 30 1/3 3.56 1.36
Eric Milton CIN 6 4 31 1/3 5.17 1.54
Anthony Reyes STL 9 8 50 1/3 6.08 1.36
Mike Pelfrey NYM 6 5 30 1/3 6.53 1.76
Kirk Saarloos CIN 2 4 23 7.04 1.70
Jerome Williams WAS 6 5 30 7.20 1.73
Tony Armas PIT 7 3 32 1/3 8.07 2.06
Mark Redman ATL 5 4 21 2/3 11.63 2.31

Dan Wheeler is having a bad year, there's no way around it, and that bad year got worse last night. Even the main site had no choice but to pick up the story of Wheeler's shove of Sampson and run with it. ESPN used Wheeler's actions as the comeon in their frontpage link, and McTaggart mentioned the incident in the lead to his game story.

And you may have noticed The Crawfish Boxes has a new mascot this morning.

No-one, especially us, seems malicious in their coverage, but it's still a shame. Wheels has been the best setup man in baseball the last two years, but he becomes most famous today for an action that anyone who has followed the Astros these past 3 years knows is extremely uncharacteristic of an excellent team player, and never mind whether he's got a temper or not.

As someone with something of a fiery disposition myself, I'm not gonna hold this against Wheels. It's already been a tough year for him. He's shown a weakness for the gopher ball which he so fastidiously avoided in '05 and '06, and the pitches that used to get missed are getting hit. After all that, last night had to be the ultimate in frustration for him. He made quality pitches as the payoff to six of seven atbats, and somehow still gave up five runs.

I'd have been pissed, too.

Anyway, I like the dog, I think it's funny, but I didn't want anyone to think I was down on Wheeler. I understand that the proof in situations like this is in the apology. Sampson may simply be presenting a united face to the media, but you know what? I don't think he is. I think that he understands what went down with Danny last night in the dugout, I think he's accepted Wheeler's apology, and I think they really will go back to being brothers.