Tonite is Game One of the National League Championship Series featuring the mighty St. Louis Cardinals versus the Houston Astros. Why those dummies would name their team after a cartoon dog is beyond me, but they're from Texas, thus they think they can do whatever the funk they want. Bully for them, but it won't help them win this crazy thing.
The Cards have had three days' rest since they finished their sweep of the Padres late Saturday nite. The RAstros needed a home run in the bottom of the 18th inning in game 4 of their Division Series Sunday nite, sending the Braves to their tee times after the longest playoff game ever. They are working on only two days of rest and are feeling quite sure of themselves.
Tonite the Cards send out their ace right hander Chris Carpenter (22-5, 2.83 ERA reg. season) against Houston's Andy Pettite (17-9, 2.39 ERA reg. season), a lefty. Although this is a rematch of last year's NLCS, neither of these pitchers played in last year's series that the Cardinals won in 7 games. Pettite was recovering from surgery and Carpenter was out with a biceps injury.
With the RAstros coming off an emotional high with their draaaaammaaaaaaaaaaatiiiiic win over the Braves i would expect them to come out smokin' and get a coupla runs early. The Cards have had an easier time in their Division Series, so they might be caught on their heels a bit. The Redbirds will need everything in their arsenal to win this series - solid starting pitching, unlikely heroes, timely hitting, a reliable bullpen and all the things that a good "small ball" team does to manufacture runs in tight games - because runs will be at a premium in the games played at Busch Stadium. Once they get to MinuteMaid Park for game 3 Saturday, who the heck knows? The series could bust wide open in the hitter-friendly park and be up for grabs. That's why the Cards need to take care of games one and two while they are at home in front of very pumped and sentimental fans who are hoping that Busch Stadium remains open until at least October 26.
My bold prediction for the NLCS: Partly cloudy and mild with 10-15 mph breeze and 20% chance of rain. No hurricanes. Oh, and the Cardinals in 6.
May i also encourage you to check out Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonite?
OLBERMANN: Last Thursday, we spoke of at least 13 coincidences of timing between bad political news for the government and a terror or terror-related event. We will be presenting a special report detailing those and other coincidences on Wednesday night's edition of this news hour, "The Nexus of Politics and Terror" on COUNTDOWN this Wednesday at 8:00 (7pm Central) and midnight Eastern (11pm Central) here on MSNBC.I have mentioned this very subject back in May, and the point is possibly even more valid today, with our hapless, hopeless and helpless Leader using tired old tricks and half-hearted public appearances to try and save his flailing presidency. i seriously don't think he likes playing "president" anymore and he just wants to go home and bite his pilllow, legacy be damned.
Keith's show airs at 7pm Central on MSNBC, while the first pitch of the Cards game is at 7:20pm Central on FX. i'll tune in to the first 20 minutes of Countdown, then turn it over to the NLCS. i can do without all the pre-game branding and network packaging that goes with these series. [STFU already and just show the freakin' game! aaarrgghpfphppfpp!!] Later at 11pm Central, MSNBC replays the Countdown in case i/you miss it the first time. Sound like a plan? Sweet. Type at ya tomorrow...