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Matchup/Preview NLDS Game One at Braves

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Andy Pettitte   Tim Hudson
17 - 9, 2.39   
1.03 WHIP  
14 - 9, 3.52
1.35 WHIP

Congratulations to Morgan Ensberg, who was named by the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers of America as Astros Team MVP for 2005. Ensberg is just the third player in the last fifteen years to win the award who doesn't have a last name beginning with the letter B. Lance Berkman won the award last year, and three of the last four years.

The Chapter also named Andy Pettitte as Team Pitcher of the Year, and Willy Taveras as Team Rookie of the Year.

* *

The 25-man roster will include Luke Scott rather than Charles Gipson, it was announced this morning. Like saylinara, I think it's a mistake.

But hey, maybe Scott gets that double to center, who knows. Maybe it's just possible that the General Manager of a Major League baseball team knows better than us.

But I doubt it. . . .

Wandy Rodriguez also made the roster, as expected.

* *

So, here we go. Bravos 'n' Astros, mano a mano, toe to toe. Their lineup is clearly better, our pitching is clearly better. Houston, I think, also has an edge from the bench. Maybe even a big edge. It's not rational, but I've just got this warm fuzzy kind of feeling about Bagwell; he's gonna win us a game at some point in the playoffs.

Several Braves come in with a little bit of a question mark. John Smoltz, of course, has the shoulder questions, and Andruw Jones had a .294 onbase percentage in September. But did you know that Francouer had a .739 OPS for the last month of the season? Or that Kelly Johnson, so good for the first half, has basically lost his job, and had a .690 OPS in only 17 September at bats?

On the other hand, Langerhans, LaRoche, and Larry Jones come in red hot. And I'd feel so much better about this series if Farnsworth wasn't pitching for the Braves, or wasn't pitching well.

The first couple innings of today's game will take place while I'm at work, and I'll be forced to follow through GameCast, and I may or may not be able to comment on what I can gather. The next few innings after that, I will be on the highway. Hopefully I can be home by the sixth inning, so I can catch the resolution of the Astros' glorious victory. . .and blog a couple innings.

OPS
OPS Astro Pos Brave OPS
x .689 Brad Ausmus C1 Johnny Estrada .670
.472 Raul Chavez C2 Brian McCann .745 x
x .942 Lance Berkman 1B Adam LaRoche .775
.789 Craig Biggio 2B Marcus Giles .826 x
.653 Adam Everett SS Rafael Furcal .777 x
.945 Morgan Ensberg 3B Larry Jones .968 x
.805 Jason Lane OF1 Andruw Jones .922 x
.776 Orlando Palmeiro OF2 Jeff Francouer .884 x
.676 Chris Burke OF3 Ryan Langerhans .774 x
.665 Willy Taveras OF4 Kelly Johnson .731 x
.557 Luke Scott OF5 Brian Jordan .632 x
x .891 Mike Lamb Util/PH1 Julio Franco .799
x .744 Jeff Bagwell Util/PH2 Pete Orr .718
.174 Andy Pettitte P1 Tim Hudson .376 x
x .523 Roger Clemens P2 John Smoltz .389
x .372 Roy Oswalt P3 Jorge Sosa .222
x .626 Brandon Backe P4 John Thomson? .539