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V for Victor(y)

I apologize for my silence yesterday.  I had tech problems, a surprisingly social Friday night ... and, frankly, I was struck dumb by the pitching performance last night.

Okay, somebody tell me: who is this guy and what did he do with Victor Santos?

I know, it's a small sample size, but he's made three starts this year, pitched 22 innings, given up a Gagne-like 12 hits, and only 5 runs.  The last two starts were the longest of his career, and yesterday was his first Major League complete game.

If, somehow, Santos can put it all together, and Capuano is able to remain a decent mid-rotation starter, all of the sudden that 81-win season looks easily within reach.  I know that's an odd thing to say right after busting out of a soul-sucking seven-game losing streak, but Sheets + Davis + the April 2005 version of Victor Santos can match up with any 1/2/3 starters in the National League.

Of course, I've just jinxed him, and he'll be chased in the second inning of his next start.  I should have stayed quiet!

The Lineup: I'm all for mixing up batting orders as frequently as possible.  I've heard for as long as I've been a fan that guys hit better if they know their role from day to day, but at the same time, the importance of lineup construction, as players streak and slump, may be great enough to outweigh that.  I've never thought Spivey was much of a #2 hitter; in his all-star season he fit the bill nicely, but since then he's been typed as another Ray Durham, a player with whom he has many similarities, but not enough to merit a continuing stay in the 2 hole.

At the moment, strange to say, Damian Miller is possibly the best available #2 hitter on the team.  Last year, I argued that everyone ought to move up one: Overbay into the 2 spot, and Jenkins 3rd.  Not because there were other players so deserving of 4th and 5th in the order, but because those two guys were carrying the offense almost all year long (for better or for worse) moving them up a spot would give them more at-bats.  Now that Carlos Lee is on the team, Overbay belongs in the 2-spot more than ever.  Not to bunt Brady over all the time, but to get up to the plate more often, maybe even smack a few more doubles over the course of the season.

Today, I see, J.J. will be batting second, which I guess means Ned really doesn't want Spivey in that spot.  I would imagine there aren't a whole lot of instances in baseball history where a .128 hitter was promoted from #8 to #2.  But, hey, he can bunt, I guess.

Or so they say.

Run, Brady, Run: Brady stole a base off of Tyler Walker in his only attempt yesterday.  That's 3 steals in 7 attempts.  That aggressiveness is sure, uh, you know, like, never mind.

Countdown:  Am I the only person who is more eagerly awaiting the next Santos start than the next appearance from either Sheets or Davis?  Only have to wait till Wednesday...