After Monday's dramatic come from behind victory, and Tuesday's reflection of the Astros new situation, Wednesday looks to be a huge game that I hope most of the country takes the time out of their day to watch. I have midterms to study for tonight, but I also have a game to watch at 8:28 PM EST. Tonight is Roy Oswalt (2.94 ERA) versus Mark Mulder (3.64 ERA), and tomorrow's game, if necessary, is potential Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens (1.87 ERA) versus Matt Morris (4.11 ERA). Where the real problem for Houston might come is in the home/road matchup. The Cardinals were 50-31 at home this year (and on the road as well), while the Astros were only 36-45 on the road. Of course, with pitchers the caliber of Oswalt and Clemens on the mound, it may not matter. Houston is lucky they only need to win one more game, because I think the series would be closer to over if the series records were reversed. This is due to Pujols' 750 foot (sure seemed like it hmm?) momentum shifter and the Cards' home record versus the Astros road one.
The Cardinals lineup advantage has been neutralized throughout most of the series, with only Albert Pujols and the injured Abraham Nunez [not Antonio Perez; my mistake. That is what I get for writing a preview in a computer class) making it on base consistently thus far. Update [2005-10-19 12:29:49 by Marc Normandin]: David Pinto of Baseball Musings says that Antonio Perez will start at third base for St. Louis tonight. [END UPDATE] Facing Oswalt and Clemens will not make recovery from that any easier, but the Astros already weak offense may be neutralized this time as well, due to leaving Minutemaid Park. Who knew orange juice was good for your heart and your bat?
There is not much to say about the rest of the series. If any pitcher besides Roger Clemens was going in Game 7 tomorrow, I would say the Astros are done if they lose tonight. But since he is, I am going to stop hypothesizing and simply enjoy the last game(s) of the series.
Roy Oswalt has the playoff 5 o'clock shadow going on, which is as close to a magical playoff beard as we can get today. Good luck to your team of choice tonight.