OK, don’t you think the Astros could have waited until after the Cardinals got out of town before they fired their manager and GM? Because you know that now the Astros get that “new manager boost” that seems to happen so often, where a team wins the first game after their manager is fired. Sometimes they win two or three, which gives the press a fun angle to play with. At least the Astros won Garner’s last game, so it’s not like they have a long losing streak that they need breaking as well. Otherwise, the Cards might as well not show up tonight.
Tonight the Cardinals run out Braden Looper in a park that is not exactly pitcher friendly. Of course, looking at the stats, there aren’t too many road parks that are friendly to Mr. Looper. He’s got a 6.51 ERA on the road this year, with BAA/OPSA of .302/.820. His last three starts have been pretty good, though (ERA of 2.50 with three straight games of 6-innings, four hits) and he has a 3.00 ERA against Houston this year in two starts. So while he probably won’t be around to start the seventh, hopefully he can keep the team in the game.
The Cardinals get to face an old friend in Woody Williams. Woody had a great run in St. Louis after being acquired for Ray Lankford in a waiver deal five years ago. And when I look at the stats, I’m surprised that he’s had a solid, if not spectacular, season for the Astros this year as well. His ERA is 4.84 (which looks a lot better than some of the ERAs the Cardinal starters have sported this year) and that ERA has dropped almost 60 points since a 7-run blowup against the Nationals five starts ago. He has a 4.54 ERA at home, so the Crawford boxes aren’t getting to him too much. If he were left-handed, I’d really say the Cards were in trouble.
So tonight’s matchup should be a good one. Jim Edmonds has traditionally torn up Houston pitching, Scott Rolen has shown that a day off does wonders for him, and if Albert’s rolling, there could be a lot of runs put up tonight. With the Cubs and Brewers facing off, tonight’s a game they really need to win.
On a side note, today is the fifth anniversary of the forum known as CardsClubhouse. Congrats to Roark and the crew over there on a great five years!