A pretty good night for those former Phillies second-round picks, as Scott Rolen's tie-breaking two-run homer and Marlon Anderson's double and run helped the St. Louis Cardinals finish off the Houston Astros and set up Ed Wade's nightmare World Series: Rolen v. Schilling, vying for the title and the honor of who can make Slow Eddie look worse.
I was glad these two NL teams finally got the spotlight to themselves after seeing their excellent series mostly overshadowed by the big dukeroo back East. It was also nice to see Roger Clemens returning to his classic, Red Sox-vintage playoff form after some good October outings with both the Yankees (though the subsequent deeds of Grady Little, Pedro Martinez and Aaron Boone, not to mention splendid relief work from Mike Mussina, have helped obscure the fact that Clemens wasn't very good in his Game Seven start againt Boston in last year's ALCS) and the Astros.
This probably occurred to quite a few people, but after hearing how St. Louis won yesterday--on Jim Edmonds' 12th-inning walkoff homer, forcing tonight's double-elimination showdown--I thought how the Astros inadvertently shot themselves in the foot by coming back in the top of the 9th against Jason Isringhausen and sending Game Six into extra frames. Astros manager Phil Garner turned to Brad Lidge, who's put together one of the great relief seasons ever, for three innings. Lidge held the Cardinals off the board--it was Dan Miceli, journeyman and clubhouse lawyer extraordinaire, who gave up the decisive blast--but threw 32 pitches (25 strikes!) and evidently rendered himself unavailable to pitch today. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered, as Clemens was doing just fine until running into Albert Pujols and Rolen in the home 6th, but it's never a plus to have your most dominant arm unavailable.
Anyway, Cardinals-Red Sox should make for a fine Series, and a lot of squirming in the Wade home. Sounds okay to me.