Play-off preview

The NL play-offs are awfully tough to call. The only real shocker would be a Padre win over St. Louis. Not impossible, but highly improbable. For that reason, I guess you’d have to make the Cardinals slight favorites to reach the World Series. Most would probably argue that the redbirds are more than slight favorites given their 100 wins and wire to wire control of the Central.Because of the "Big Three" the Astros are a better play-off team than a regular season team and are very dangerous in a short series. Atlanta had a wonderful season but they have issues. For perhaps the first time in their unbelievable run they may hit better than they pitch as October rolls around. Bobby Cox can’t feel comfortable with John Smoltz’ shoulder and is probably losing sleep  over that bullpen.  If the Astros pitchers can do a good job of keeping Furcal and Giles off base I believe they will win the series.The Pettitte-Hudson match-up in game 1 is a dandy. I anticipate a 3-2 type game that will ultimately be decided by the bullpen. Remember, Hudson’s best start of the year was at Minute maid back in April or May. He pitched 9 shut-out innings in a 1-0 win over the Astros. Of course that game was started by Clemens, thus the limited out put by the Stros. Set your VCR, TIVO or whatever recording device you have for game 2. Clemens and Smoltz. It doesn’t get much better than that. From an Astro point of view, I guess it would be okay if Smoltz’ shoulder problems resurfaced, but as a baseball fan I hope his shoulder and Rogers hamstring are non issues. Two guys with great big game credentials. Advantage Astros for game three. Jorge Sosa has provided a big lift for the Braves, but in Roy Oswalt , the Astros send yet another ace type to the hill. The Braves line-up outperformed the Astros over the length of the season, but in September they were very similar clubs offensively. Andruw Jones went into a bit of a funk after hitting his 50th hr and is still more than willing to chase pitches out of the strike zone. Chipper is probably the guy most likely to beat you with a key hit late. Lance Berkman might be the hottest hitter on either club entering the. series.If the Braves tip toe around he and Morgan Ensberg,Jason Lane will have plenty of opportunities to be a hero as he was against the Cubs this past weekend. Astros win in 5


Hi there Jim i hope the Astros beat the heck out of the Braves.By the way i was at the September 28th game in St. Louis. Thanks again for signing the picture i had taken with you.If the Astros play in St. Louis for the playoffs. I hope to go to a game. But no idea if i can afford it. But i Hope everything turns out good for the Astros.

hi jim, just a quick question. did you grow up in massena new york? i think my brothers knew you if so.

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