|Roy Oswalt||Mark Mulder|
2 - 0, 2.51
1 - 1, 1.32
Can't think of another pitcher in the National League I'd rather have starting for the Astros in this situation. Not Chris Carpenter, not Pedro Martinez.
Not Andy Pettitte and not Roger Clemens.
Roy Oswalt, I think, is ideally suited to take the hill for the Astros this evening in St. Louis. Oswalt pitches with a singleminded intensity, and with a peculiar scowl. He looks as if he doesn't actually enjoy the pitching, but like fumigating his basement, say, it's just work that's gotta get done.
An approach like that doesn't leave much time for self-reflection, and that's exactly what we want.
I also like the Astros' chances in this game because of the other player the Astros need to be successful tonight, Lance Berkman.
Berkman is the exact opposite of Oswalt. As he jaws off with opposing players at first base, or battles slumber in the late innings of The Chris Burke Game, or forgets how many outs there are back in July, it sometimes seems as if Berkman's head is not in the game.
Tonight, that will be a precious thing. Being more than a little aloof from the situation can only help, if you're a naturally gifted hitter with good discipline, anyway.
I worry about Craig Biggio. The longer the game stays tied, the more painful it will be for him, you've got to think. I might almost give Bruntlett the start at second, but that would be even more painful for Biggio than playing.
I guess I use Lidge tonight, if there's the opportunity for a closer. But if I can get a complete game out of Roy, that would be so much to the better.
I won't pretend to know even what I think might happen tonight, but I do know this: nothing is fated, nothing is set in stone.
There is no reason the Astros can't be National League champions before midnight.
Whether they will be, that's beyond my ability to say.