Cards-Astros: It's All About The Baseball
Truth be told, there's often a regional flavor to the blogosphere. The eastern seaboard focus on the Yankees/Red Sox is coming through in some of the blogs attached to the major media organs. There's also the Northern Alliance which centers on Minnesota, and Instapundit is an able representative of Tennessee. Then there are the left-coast folks who talk of sand, surf, and Monday nights at Morton's.
Me, I'm an Ozarks guy, and I was raised on Cardinals baseball. I'm pretty excited about the Cardinals and the Astros in the NLCS. I think the Cards have the edge. Houston should be drained after the charge it took to make the playoffs, and their first postseason series victory may well have satisfied their drive.
Besides, their starting pitching is running on fumes. It looks like Pete Munro will be the Game 1 starter in order to get some of their other guys back on four days rest. It also looks like Houston can only get two rested starts from Clemens and Oswalt; if they want extra starts from them, they'll have to go on three days rest. If the Cardinals work the pitch count throughout this series, they can get into the Astros bullpen and do some damage (especially if they focus on knocking out Munro early on Wednesday.)
The Cards' front four, on the other hand, are rested and should match up well. I think Marquis will do a better job now that he's got his debut jitters out of the way, and Woody and Matty Mo and Suppan were quite encouraging. The Cards have a better defense and a better lineup top to bottom. I also think Rolen will break out in this series; he's been just a little off lately as he's tried to come back from his injury, and I think he regains his edge against the 'Stros. (Then, of course, there's Pujols. Ye gods.)
So while this series doesn't have the drama and national profile the ALCS does, it promises some awfully good baseball. Go Cardinals!