Well, here we go again.
The 2004 NLCS was incredible, although it was overshadowed by the historic 2004 ALCS (damn you for stealing our thunder, David Ortiz). So let's do it again.
Game 1: Chris Carpenter vs. Andy Pettitte.
Carpenter is probably the NL Cy Young this year, but he's struggled a bit lately (5.73 ERA in September, and he didn't look particularly sharp in Game 1 vs. the Padres). He's thrown 241.2 innings already this year, so he can be forgiven for being a little tired. We need to make him work.
Astros vs. Carpenter, career:
Brad Ausmus: 5-29, 3 BB, 457 OPS
Lance Berkman: 4-15, 3 HR, 3 BB, 1354 OPS (!!!)
Craig Biggio: 8-22, 809 OPS
Morgan Ensberg: 5-18, 2 BB, 683 OPS
Adam Everett: 6-22, 591 OPS
Mike Lamb: 6-18, 4 2B, 1 HR, 1056 OPS
Jason Lane: 2-6, 1 2B, 833 OPS
Orlando Palmeiro: 3-19, 3 BB, 462 OPS
Willy Taveras: 4-18, 444 OPS
Mike Lamb should definitely start over Palmeiro. Hopefully Lance Berkman can keep up his crazy numbers against Carpenter. If Biggio and Taveras can get on base a few times each for Berkman / Ensberg, that would be huge.
Cardinals vs. Pettitte, career:
David Eckstein: 6-30, 483 OPS
JEdmonds: 3-30, 2 2B, 362 OPS
Mark Grudzielanek: 7-19, 947 OPS
Albert Pujols: 2-12, 333 OPS
Reggie Sanders: 3-7, 2 HR, 1786 OPS
Larry Walker: 3-7, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1413 OPS
Those last two are scary. Pettitte has done an admirable job against the Big Two of Edmonds and Pujols, but Sanders and Walker have hit him well. I'm particularly worried about Sanders, who had a huge Division Series and has a career 912 OPS against lefties.
I read on AstrosDaily that we bumped Luke Scott from the NLCS roster and replaced him with Zeke Astacio. It's clear that we're a little worried about our pitching depth after the longest postseason game ever played. It's a shame that Scott had to lose his spot, since he's had some excellent AB's lately, but who else could we bump? I think this was a necessary move.
Astros-Cardinals series previews:
The Hardball Times
I can't wait. Go 'Stros!