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Matchup/Diary NLCS Game Two at Cardinals

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Roy Oswalt   Mark Mulder
1 - 0, 3.68   
1.09 WHIP  
1 - 0, 1.35
1.35 WHIP

So tonight's game is actually kind of optional; in point of fact, the Astros only need to win this one if they want to advance to the Series.

The 2004 team came back from a 2 - 0 deficit yielded in St. Louis, it is true, but rather than being clutch wins plucked from sheer desperation, that actually had been the plan all along. It was Backe and Munro who started Games One and Two last year, remember. So while everyone in the country was burying the Astros, savvy Astro fans knew that with Clemens and Oswalt pitching at Minute Maid--and with the Carlos Beltran Experience at full mind-blowing intensity--the 2004 NLCS would be tied after 2, and that sheer momentum had a chance of propelling them to the Game Five victory.

Which it did, and the Astros' plan of holding serve at home, then stealing a game on the road ended up failing only because they couldn't steal that game on the road.

The 2005 team still has three chances to get a Busch victory, it is true; but they are also much less likely to sweep at M2P.

So if you want to allow for, let's say, a Backe loss in Game Four (assuming we pitch Backe), tonight would presumably be the game where you would do so.

'Cause the Astros are gonna have to win Games Three and Five anyway.

In a strange way, hearing about Pettitte's little mishap with the liner off Oswalt's bat cheered me up today. It made Andy's mediocre performance explicable to something other than sheer Cardinal dominance, and makes me think that Oswalt can take a low-run game deep, as he so obviously needs to do.

Start Burke right? I mean, who ELSE has homered in their last two at bats?

Loved the bullpen last night, Springer and Astacio were nails, if Pettitte wasn't, and after a shaky start to the Braves series, the relief corps is definitely on a roll.

After what we saw from Izzy, if the contest gets into a bullpen-type endgame, I really think Houston would have the decided advantage.

Which means the Astros have to what?

1) Avoid early game breakers like the two run shot from Reggie Jr. over there, and
2)Take pitches early, take pitches middle, take pitches late.