Game Three Thoughts
Not a bad game, all things considered. I would have rather seen the Redbirds win, of course, but plenty can be taken from this game.
Back to back quality starts in the playoffs. This bodes well for either Game 6 of this series, or his first career World Series start. He would be even better if he could get off to a good start, having given up all 3 of his runs tonight in the 1st inning.
Only having to use Haren, King, and Eldred tonight should help out the Cards tomorrow. I do have a couple of requests, though. One, please don't allow King to face Berkman again. Two, feel free to allow King to face Bagwell, based on his numbers against lefties this year combined with the way King made him look tonight..
Lidge got the job done, but you know what? He wasn't "lights out" today, allowing 3 base runners over 2 innings. Nobody exactly killed the ball, of course, but the tying run did come up in the 9th. And, as the announcers mentioned, he ended up throwing 42 pitches. That could come into play in tomorrow's game, should the Astros need him to pitch 2 innings again. While the guy is awesome, he is also human.
Why is Marlon Anderson continually the first lefty off of the bench? From the All-Star break on, he hit .204/.210/.320, giving him a 530 OPS. It has continued in the playoffs as he's now 0 for 4 with one hit by pitch and one walk - which is amazing in and of itself, since he only drew 1 walk in the 2nd half.
Meanwhile, John Mabry has only gotten 2 plate appearances, even though he was the best player off of the bench all season. Which brings me to...
He hasn't looked great in the playoffs, other than Game 2 of the NLDS. In every game before todays, I had suggested that the Cardinals might want to consider starting Mabry over Sanders in a game in order to keep Mabry sharp, give Sanders rest, and give the Cardinals advantages against the opposing starting pitcher. Now that Sanders has 1 hit in the first 3 games of the NLCS, it's looking like it really wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
If you read this, I would for you to fire Scott Boras and hire me to represent you. I'll just take a measly 1% commission on your future salary.
Amazingly enough, tonight's loss isn't bothering me as much as usual. I think it helps that the Cardinals have only lost 2 of their last 7 games. It also helps that tonight's game was well played by both teams and could have gone either way.
I'll hopefully have time to look over Oswalt's splits tomorrow and provide a brief game preview. But overall, I like the Cardinals chances to get the win tomorrow, even though Oswalt was a 20 game winner. Clemens and Lidge didn't blow the Cards away, which I think is a good sign for tomorrow's game.
Eric Karros explained how the momentum had shifted to the Astros tonight, but I just don't buy it. The Astros need a win tomorrow, which isn't hard to imagine. Should they get it, though, they would still have to take 2 out of 3 from the Cards. In those 3 games, if the series were to go that long, the Astros would feature a start from Backe, followed by Clemens and Owsalt on 3 days' rest, in St. Louis. I still think it's a stretch to see this series go more than 6 games, with the Cardinals getting the job done.