How Sweep It Is...Houston 4, St. Louis 1

Which event was rated higher on the Improbability Scale?

That the Astros would waltz into St. Louis and sweep the NL Central leaders or that Bud Norris would finish the eighth inning of the final game to clinch the sweep?

Yeah, I'm not sure either. What I do know is that Norris, Berkman, Wandy and the rest of the Astros that I called out on Wednesday must read the site. They seemed to take my comments personally. I also thought it funny how I laughed at the following comment from Viva El Birdos earlier this week. In retrospect, it was oddly portentous.

Now the Cards are facing down Small Wander and his Curveball of Doom and Cy Norris; I don't even want to consider it, but there's a very real chance they could get swept by this Houston club. And that would be well beyond embarrassing.

Embarrasing? Or the start of the Astros conquest of the National League!!

Ahem.

Let's not get carried away here. This was a good victory and a good series for the Astros. They continued to get good pitching performances from their starters. The only difference this time was that Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris, two of the team's struggling pitchers, did a good deal of work to make this sweep possible. After throwing 100 pitches over eight innings, allowing six hits and one run while striking out eight and walking none, Bud Norris solidified his dominance over the Cardinals. I reiterate my suggestion from earlier this season that we hypnotize him into thinking he's always pitching against St. Louis. It could work, right?

Even bigger for Houston is that Lance Berkman (3 for 4, 2B, RBI) and Hunter Pence (1 for 4, HR, 3 RBIs) are both heating up just as this offense starts putting runs together in bunches. Add in Jeff Keppinger's various offensive contributions and this team has a pretty viable lineup on most days. Pedro Feliz and Kaz Matsui are still around to suck up outs by the dozens, but Humberto Quintero has a nice little hitting streak going right now after a 1 for 4 day on Thursday.

Matt Lindstrom also picked up his ninth save of the season, striking out one and walking one while allowing no runs. Oddly enough, each starting pitcher went eight innings in this game and was relieved by the team's closer. Ryan Franklin came in for Chris Carpenter, who gave up six hits and four runs while striking out five and walking three. Carpenter's biggest mistake was the home run to Pence, which gave Norris all the run support he needed.

It was a good series. Let's hope this weekend in San Francisco goes as well.


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