It’s about 15 mminutes before gametime and I come to you from the booth at Busch Stadium. If the rain water dripping on my back is any indication then a new ballpark here in St. Louis was a very good idea. The Cardinals must sell more jerseys than any club in baseball. Everybody here wears a team jersey with their favorite player’s name on it. And not just the big boys either. Sure, there are plenty of Rolens and Pujols but the lesser known guys are supported as well. Even the players who have moved on are displayed. Theres a Vina sitting right next to a Matheny. Of course, with the prices you pay for those things you’re not going to toss one out just because your guy got traded.The Phillies must feel like they have to run the table to catch the Astros now. I’m predicting a Saturday clinching in Houston. There is alot of speculation as to who the redbirds would prefer to play in the second round. Everyone is assuming they will blow through the Padres. It’s hard to think otherwise.
One of the time honored cliches in baseball is the standard: "It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon." Well, it’s time to find out who has the best kick in the race for the Wild Card. The schedule breaks in the Astros’ favor with four in Pittsburgh and three in Chicago before a two game set in St. Louis to end the road portion of the 05 schedule. The trifecta of Clemens,Pettitte and Oswalt will pitch 9 maybe 10 of the final 13 games. With Morgan Ensberg on the verge of returning ,things are looking up. It won’t be easy but the Astros are in position to control their own destiny.
After droppping the first two to the Fish to open the just-completed homestand, the Astros rallied to win 5 in a row. The first two games of the series with the Pirates presents two interesting pitching match-ups. Clemens and Pettitte for the Astros have won 511 games between them. Their opposite numbers Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny have not yet won a big league game. Snell will be making his fourth start and Gorzelanny is scheduled to make his major league debut. Having said that, we know anything is possible, but Phil Garner has to like his chances to extend the Astros’ lead in the Wild Card in the city where he helped win a World Series in 1979.