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Brave Old World
2005-10-06 18:04
by Mike Carminati

What was I thinking?!?

I picked the Braves to take the whole enchilada. But after game one, a 10-5 loss to the Astros, it looks like the Braves will be lucky to not be swept, let alone win this and two more series.

Maybe it was because I was eschewing the popular choice, Houston, onto whose bandwagon baseball's pseudo-intellegensia was lustily hopping. The road less traveled, you know.

Or maybe I wasn't convinced that a team that narrowly defeated my moribund Phils for the (not so) wild card was all of a sudden a world beater. Absent a Jason Lane and a Craig Biggio home run against Bill Wagner back at the beginning of September, these Astros may not have even made the playoffs.

I was told to forget the lack of offense, the lack of depth in the bullpen, and the lack of tail-end starters. Just believe that Houston's Big Three (Clemens, Oswalt, and Pettitte) would bring them the golden ring come World Series time.

I thought that these Braves were different. They had rid themselves of the baggage of the past, and were finally going to get over their first round jitters. Besides Francoeur, LaRoche, Langerhans, Sosa, and McCann had nothing to do with their past.

I did overlook the disappearance of center fielder Andruw Jones's bat in September even as he set the franchise record for home runs (and perhaps won an MVP award).

Tonight is likely to be a pitchers' duel with Roger Clemens facing John Smoltz, though things are rarely that straightforward in the playoffs. You never know what will happen in one of those, but if Clemens is lights out the Braves will be in a deep hole when they travel to Houston for two games.

I can almost see the uncomfortable Kevin Kennedy concession interview with a tearful Bobby Cox come Saturday. If that happens we NL fans can look forward to another Cardinal drubbing when the Series rolls around.

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