Thank-you John Smoltz. Your pitching made today's Cardinal game an afterthought. Smoltzie threw 6 shutout innings, and, courtesy of 2 Astro errors, the Braves scored 2 early runs, helping Atlanta eliminate the Astros 3-1. Which was good, since Anthony Reyes blew up in the first inning, allowing 4 Brewer runs, and the Brewers cruised to a 5-3 win. Cards hit 3 home runs in the 9th to make the final score a little more cosmetic.
Additionally, ol' LaRussa threw me a curveball with Reyes starting today. I guess he decided he'd rather save Carpenter for the potential make-up game against the Giants tomorrow, if needed; and with any luck, StL would pull through, make the playoffs today, and Carp would then be available for Game 1. A good gamble to take, especially with Smoltz starting for the Braves against a Houston rookie, and it paid off.
So the Cardinals win the NL Central, despite losing 9 of their last 12, and now we wait to see exactly who they'll be playing next week. Somewhere on the left coast, of course; hopefully against the Padres, because I might be able to get tickets to one of the games.
I'm still interested in seeing who LaRussa announces as his starters for Games 2 and 3. It looks like Carp, Weaver, Suppan. I think that makes the most sense, and that is how he's set his rotation up, but we'll see.
34 minutes ago