:: Monday, October 18, 2004 ::

NL Playoffs, Game 4: Houston Astros 6, St. Louis Cardinals 5
If St. Louis doesn't figure out how to solve Carlos (the Cardinal killer) Beltran and reliever Brad Lidge, then we're in big trouble.

First, Beltran: His hitting is more than amazing. On Sunday, with the score tied 5-all in the seventh inning and facing Julian Tavarez, who had given up just one homer all season, Beltran took a near-golf swing at a low, outside sinker from Julian Tavarez and hooked it over the right field wall. That was Beltran's eighth post-season home run in nine games. He's hit one over the wall for five games in a row now, and in every game of the Cards-Astros series. "So how hot is Beltran?" asks Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. "Better high-five him with a pot holder."

And then there's Brad Lidge, Houston's closer. Lidge has shut the lid on the Cardinals in the eighth and ninth inning of the past two games. Cardinals fans were hopeful Lidge's high pitch count from Game 3 would affect his performance yesterday. But he mowed down the Cards once again.

Tonight, in Game 5 of this series, it's a match-up of the Game 1 starters: Woody Williams for the Cards versus Brandon Backe, the young pitcher for the Astros. Williams is as solid a starter as we have right now (which isn't saying a lot), but he's going up against a team with an incredible home-field advantage. The Astros are 22-1 in their last 23 home games.

:: Andrew 07:53 + ::

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