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Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Unlikely Heroes

Andy Pettitte was supposed to be the missing link for an Astros team that lost in seven to the Cards in last year's NLCS. The Cards moved to correct that assumption in the bottom of the first. Catalyst Eckstein gets a base hit, Albert hits a nice ball just short of a homer, and Reggie Sanders homers to give the Cards a quick 2-0 lead over the lefty ace missing from Houston's 2004 squad. Nunez and Carpenter add another with a little small ball. Another Nunez single in the 5th starts off a two run inning for the Cards. Suddenly we have a 5-0 lead against Pettitte, two more runs than he surrendered to us in 20 innings during the regular season...so much for the regular season stats. Before the game, the announcers mentioned the Sanders-Pettitte battle, and another pundit on the web mentioned it as well. Sanders wins that match tonight. The Cards played incredibly good baseball tonight getting runs with power, using the squeeze, and key singles by guys like Nunez and Eckstein. Oh, and some guy named Pujols had an RBI single too. Carp pitched one hell of a game, battling and battling much more than all of the 1-2-3 innings reveal. The 17 ground outs through 8 innings neglect the tale of a radar gun that consistently read 95 mph. The Redbirds' top starter gave fans a shiver in the top of the third when he gave up two walks to face Berkman with two outs. Berkman grounded into a double play off Carp's first pitch. In the fourth, he issued his third walk, but it was a smart move to bring up a weak hitting Adam Everett. That led to another sweet play by Nunez to get Ensberg easily at the plate. Then he goes 1-2-3 for the fifth and sixth, gives up the HR to Burke, and comes back for a 1-2-3 eighth. I really thought that Carp should sit after seven, but then he went 1-2-3 for the eighth to remind me why I am not a big league manager. Carp proved tonight that his ace status is for real and his name is not out of place with Clemens and the other mighty aces mentioned so often in this series. Nunez also deserves a special mention for his play tonight. Derided so often for not being Scott Rolen, the fill-in third baseman of the year had a great game. The second of his two singles, on a 2-3 night, set up Eck for an RBI single. In the field, he played sharp, proving his worth as Rolen's replacement. Izzy came in for the save, and still gave us cause for a gasp or two. His defense, their only mistake of the night, let Lamb get into scoring position and a sac fly brought him home to make it 5-3. All in all, Izzy probably only should have had one hit against rather than two, and any "ink" used to complain about him on the web tomorrow is wasted. That was a good game, and just what the Cards (and their fans) needed to take some of the stigma away from all the "top three" talk that has led to even devout Cards' fans predicting doom. The Cardinals just beat the Andy Pettitte, the left handed member of Houston's much vaunted "top three," and a pitcher seen by many the most likely to tie the Cards up in knots. Smile and sleep well tonight, we all deserve it, but wake up tomorrow serious and with your game face on because there is much more baseball to play.
I think my game-face is frozen to my skull.

But you're right--a nice win that lets some air out of the certin doom many have predicted. If Mulder does something similar tomorrow, I'll sleep a lot better the rest of this week.

roger that.
seems like getting out in front early really helped the birds last night. this game reminded me a bit of the pads series in that way.
scoring early and often is the best way to take the astros out of it. they've proved they can handle oswalt in the past, and he knows it. if he has any doubts at all, it could be a long night for ol' roy.
Yeah, Clemens and Pettitte are the gizzled vets. one down...
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