09/13/2005: Magic Number Watch:
[The Cardinals won in the bottom of the 9th last night with a gripping, pinch-hit RBI single by John Rodriguez against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Our sympathies to Mark Mulder, who gutted out a 9 hit outing while allowing only 2 earned runs (and gaining a no-decision for his trouble), and congratulations to Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen who notches his first win of the season *snicker*. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros drop a game to the Florida Marlins, so the number goes down by 2.
Now I'm really torn. If the Cardinals win their next two games (against the Pirates), and the Astros lose their next two (against the Marlins), the Cardinals would clinch the National League Pennant at home, which would be a nice little gift for the loyal fans in the last season of Busch Stadium II. However, the Astros' loss to the Marlins (who were just behind them in the wild card race before the first pitch in their game last night) puts them a half-game behind the Marlins in the wild card standings, and I'm worried that two more losses to the Marlins would take the momentum out of the Astros' wild card bid (right now, Baseball Prospectus's postseason odds rankings have the 'stros as the 50-50 favorite for the NL wild card slot). The Astros making the wild card would mean that the Cardinals would face the NL West Champion (probably the San Diego Padres, who are currently barely afloat atop that division at 71-71) in the National League Divisional Series, which would make for a likely stress-free NLDS for the Cards.]
Len on 09.13.05 @ 07:14 AM CST