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Pittsburgh vs. Chicago Cubs, 5 August 2006

4:05 PM


Zach Duke (7-9, 5.26) vs. Mark Prior (0-5, 7.20 ERA)

I am ashamed to admit it, but when I heard that the struggling Mark Prior was starting against the Pirates, the first thing I did was pull him off of my fantasy team's metaphorical pine.  I am sorry, I just thought that Prior might actually have a shot of, you know, winning a game.

Of course, there is reason for optimism regarding Zach Duke's next start.  After all, the struggling lefty faces an anemic lineup that has managed only 455 runs so far this year (To put that into perspective, the Pirates have scored 496).  What's more, Pirates manager Jim Tracy has his hopes up because of some pioneering qualitative analysis from Duke's last start:  

"Reading his comments from some of the questions you guys asked, they just read as if this kid had really discovered something," said Jim Tracy, visionary extraordinaire. "That it clicked and it's like, 'Hey, that's what I've been searching for.'" (

Holy epiphany, Batman, we are so going to win.