10/19/2004: Thought for the Day:
Now for the silver linings. People will tell you that the Astros have grabbed the "momentum" in this series, but to me momentum is nothing more than tomorrow's starting pitcher. And the Astros will give the ball to Brandon Backe once again for Game 5. Backe has been sharp lately, but beatable, especially against the Cardinals bats.
What's more, the Astros still aren't out of the woods with their wobbly rotation alignment. They've got Backe tomorrow night, but for Game 6 they either have to throw Pete Munro (not attractive for them) or Roger Clemens on three days' rest (and we know his record under those conditions is spotty). And if they do throw Clemens and this thing goes seven games, then they'll have to use Oswalt on short rest -- and he's only done that once in his career, in the NLDS, with decidely mixed results. The 'Stros can't be feeling too confident about that scenario, especially given the way Ossy pitched today.
Furthermore, just as Berkman and Beltran are going bat-bonkers on the Cards pitching staff, the Cards have done a number on Houston as well. The Astros have scored 22 runs this series; we've scored 22. They have Beltran and Berkman; we have Pujols and Walker (whose hitting this postseason -- .353/.436/.824 -- was the sole reason the Cards landed him after they led their division by 10.5 games).
In other words, it's power angainst power, our Murderer's Row against their Killer Bees. I'd like to say it'll be fun to see who wins, but my experience watching these games -- pacing, sweating, cursing, losing whole years off my life -- isn't exactly fun. I mean, Game 5 on Monday night is probably the most important game for the Cardinals in 17 years. Fun? I'm terrified!
--Brian Gunn [redbirdnation.blogspot.com, after Game 4, 2004 NLCS]
Unfortunately, as we saw last night, the terror was justified. On the other hand, for a battle of power against power, last night was an incredibly low scoring game (thanks to both Woody Williams and Brandon Backe each allowing only one hit in 7 and 8 full innings of work respectively), though ultimately the the game was decided by power--Jeff Kent's bottom of the 9th one out 3 run home run.
On the way to work today, I got the bad feeling that this will be over Wednesday--that the Bad Matt Morris will show up, get shelled for 8 runs in the first inning, and we'll never be close after that. Hope that's not the case, but we'll see....
At any rate, I'm going to go ahead and wish the Astros the best in the World Series--I do think that the Cardinals lost it all last night. Expect Clemens on regular rest in Game 7, "if necessary", and my foreboding suggests to me that it won't be necessary.
Len on 10.19.04 @ 06:26 AM CST