10/18/2004: Thought for the Day:
Now, let's review. It's the eighth inning, 4-4, the Astros down a game in the series and looking to steal a win to go home and get the ball to their two aces with the series tied. Coming up in the inning for the Cards: Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds. You may remember them from discussions about the MVP award.
So the Astros have closer Brad Lidge warm in the bullpen. All he did this year was post an ERA of 1.90 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of more than 5.2 to 1. Opposing batters hit .174 against him. Since June 22, when he became the Astros' closer, his ERA was 1.49. I could go on a bit here.
Sounds like the guy you want, doesn't it? If there's anyone out in that tired, shaky Houston pen with a decent chance to keep the Cardinals quiet for two innings and give the Astros a chance to win it in the ninth, it's Lidge.
So in comes Dan Miceli. You might remember Miceli from his previous postseason work, with the Padres in 1998. Or you might remember him from his days with the Pirates. Or the Tigers. Or the Marlins, Rockies, Rangers, Indians or Yankees. Or the Rockies again, or his first time around with the Astros.
Yessir, Dan Miceli has certainly given people in a lot of cities a chance to get to know him! To be fair, Miceli had a career year this year, going 6-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 77 and two thirds innings, his most work since 1997. To be frank, if that's your career year, you're not the guy to be pitching to Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds in the most important inning of the postseason to date.
Here's how it went to Pujols: Ball one, home run. Here's how it went to Rolen: Ball one, foul ball, foul ball, home run. Not that extra distance counts for anything, but if you live in West Virginia look out your window Thursday afternoon. You might see Rolen's home run go by.
--King Kaufman [salon.com, on Game 2, 2004 NLCS]
Len on 10.18.04 @ 06:38 AM CST