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Game Thread Match up

7 - 3, 3.79 3 - 5, 3.71

OK, so the Cardinals are pretty good. I'll grant you that. They've got more wins than anyone else in the National League, both at home and on the road, they're second in OPS and RCx27, they're fourth in ERA and fourth in fewest walks allowed, and even the Chronicle says they're the best.

But they're not indestructible, and the Astros should properly view this series as an opportunity to put an upward spin on a season that has so far only been spiralling downward.

For starters, we're catching 'em at a good time, perhaps; Jason Isringhausen just blew his first save of the season, and the Redbirds are coming off a series where they were only able to split with Colorado. With Colorado, who very well could be worse than we are.

Secondly, their road record is something of a mirage. While the numbers are flatter at Busch, the Cardinals have the highest ratio of road DIPS ERA to ERA in the league and the third highest road CERA ratio. And while they've scored the most runs in the league overall, they've only scored the fourth most on the road. Take a look at some of the paltry numbers in the table below, and you might not know we're talking about the um, Mighty Redbirds: Jim Edmonds, for example (and I assume his ankle's OK and we're going to see him Friday and thereafter) is hitting 150 points of OPS lower on the road. Larry Walker, nearly 400 points, and Reggie Sanders a nearly unbelievable 500 points lower on the road. And they said the Astros had to be receiving stolen signs!

Thirdly, in some regards you don't have to break the pitching down home and away to see the chinks. The Cards are also ninth leaguewide in WHIP overall, and ninth in batting average against.

'Course, there are a few parts of their game that do not bode well for us this weekend. The fact that they don't give up many walks is not good, as we can use all the help we can get. Surprisingly, considering they booted Matheny, the 2005 Cards have also allowed the fewest stolen bases. Maybe Taveras (and Burke, and Everett?) put a hurting on their Stolen Base percentage, or maybe Molina and Diaz shut our running game down. And of course, St. Louis has allowed the fewest blown saves. I disrespect Izzy as a matter of course, but odds are the Astros won't be getting any cheap wins.

So, I dunno, St. Louis is probably gonna take the series, but maybe, just maybe, the Astros can catch 'em napping. And if the 'Stros can do that, it could change the complexion, if not the substance, of a lot that follows.

STL Road
Position Home
Molina .635 C1 .634 Ausmus
Diaz .625 C2 --- Quintero
Pujols 1.083 1B .922 Berkman
Grudzielanek .791 2B 1.041 Biggio
Eckstein .652 SS .782 Everett
Mabry .755 3B 1.032 Ensberg
Edmonds .868 OF1 .829 Taveras
Taguchi .709 OF2 .782 Palmeiro
Walker .579 OF3 .778 Lane
Sanders .567 OF4 .596 Burke
Carpenter .347 P .143 Pettitte
17 - 9 Road
at Home
15 - 10