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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 28 vs.Cardinals 7:08 CST

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Carp Lefty
Chris Carpenter Andy Pettitte
3 - 1, 1.80 1 - 4, 5.25

Televised nationally on ESPN2! Yay!

Tbe Astros will for the second time this year attempt to go ten games over .500 tonight. The Astros last had that chance on Friday the 28th vs. Cincinnati, when instead Royboy took his first loss.

The Astros, who have the best home record in the NL and the most home wins in the majors, may need all of their Minute Maid Mojo, and more, tonight as they must face defending NL Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, and do so with the struggling Andy Pettitte ascending the hill for them.

Doing the broom thang over the Cards would be especially sweet, but it's gonna take the kind of pitching performance from Pettitte that we've only seen once so far this year.

It will also, I think, take an Astros attack that is a little more balanced across the innings. With 28 runs scored and only 7 allowed in the initial frame, Houston has scored more runs, and has built a bigger advantage, in the first inning than in any other. But they've also often seemed unable to build on that fast start. Getting up early, then shutting it down, coasting through the middle innings and holding on tight late, seems to be the modus operandi most often in effect. It's worked so far, as the Astros won their 9th one-run game against only one defeat last night, but this is surely not a recipe for longterm success, folks.

Carpenter is 3 - 0 lifetime at MMP with a 0.84 ERA and a .206 BAA. Lance Berkman hits him (surprise!), having posted three home runs and a double in fifteen at bats. After having given Ensberg the night off Tuesday, you wonder whether Garner might consider it again: Lamb is 5 for 6 off Carp, with four doubles and a homer.

Biggio is 8 for 22 off him, but with six strikeouts, and can't you just picture 'em?

Andy has pitched better at Minute Maid than on the road, and has handled Pujols in the past. Albert is only 2 for 12 with three K's and no homers off Andy. Rolen--who will be back in the lineup tonight--is only 4 for 16 off Pettitte.

So the trends are all there for Andy to be at least competitive with Carp. The only thing remaining is, as jakechap says, for Andy to remove his head from his ass sometime before first pitch.