So since my last post, the Astros:
a) completed a six-game home winning streak to win the wild card, extending their home winning streak to 18 games.
b) Took Game 1 from the Braves, lost a tough Game 2, dominated Game 3, lost an EXCRUCIATING Game 4, and....
c) Just won Game 5, 12-3, thanks to Carlos Beltran, to advance to the NLCS to play the Cardinals.
It's been an amazing ride, and words can't really do it justice. It just seems like this team doesn't want to lose yet. The offense is peaking at the right time again, Oswalt and Clemens are warriors, Brandon Backe has come up big, and we just keep on winning. Can we keep it going against the 'best' (re: most wins (105), largest run differential, etc.) team in baseball.
Well, anything can happen in a 7-game series, so of course we CAN, but will we?
It's definitely possible.
The Astros lead the Cards in the season series, 10-8. I'll have a more complete preview soon (really!), but what I'd like to talk about now is our ideal rotation.
Clemens (full rest)
Oswalt (full rest)
Backe (3 days rest)
Clemens (3 days rest)
In my opinion, much as I dislike having Pete Munro as our Game 1 starter, I think we have to go with Option A. Clemens complained about his legs feeling 'dead' after 4 innings in his last start on short rest. Oswalt didn't look too sharp in Game 5 on short rest, though he battled through. I really think we need both those guys on full rest in Games 3,4,6, and 7, and just throw Munro and Backe out there in Games 1,2, and 5. One idea that has been suggested is to just devote 1 game to a 'bullpen' game. Throw the kitchen sink out there - Hernandez, Redding, Harville, Qualls, Gallo...anyone and everyone. It's not a terrible idea.
Anyway, I don't think throwing Clemens and Oswalt out there on short rest again is a good idea. They need the rest. Time for our offense to keep stepping up.