As promised, Astros County traded e-mails with Daniel from C70 at the Bat earlier this week. He asked me five questions, and I answered - look for my answers tomorrow. I asked him five questions, and he answered - look for his answers below.
AC: What's with your closer situation?
C70: Ah, you noticed our Opening Day game, did you? Even though Jason Motte blew the first chance of the season, right now he's probably still considered "the closer". However, Tony La Russa never officially put the title on anyone, so you could see Ryan Franklin take the ninth, you could see Trever Miller in the ninth if there are a lot of lefties due up, you could possibly see Josh Kinney. I would expect, however, they'll do their best to get Motte back on the horse pretty quickly.
AC: I thought Pujols needed elbow surgery...last year. What the heck?
C70: Pujols's elbow problem was blown well out of proportion last year, as it was an injury that he'd had for most of his career. Sure, it could blow out, but it wasn't any more likely than it had been beforehand. Derrick Goold did a good look at his elbow at the time last year. After last season, though, AP did have a nerve transposition surgery. It wasn't serious, but it did lessen the pain in there. Chris Carpenter had one last fall as well and both of them seem to be showing no ill effects from the surgery. So, could something happen to Pujols's elbow? Sure. But it's not exactly hanging by a thread.
AC: What do you expect from Schumaker at 2nd?
C70: Skip's been pretty surprising at second, adjusting to the position better than anyone expected. That said, he's in the lineup for his bat. Defensively, he'll make probably an average amount of errors, but where the real damage may come is in those things that don't show up in the boxscore. He may not be able to get to a ball a good defensive second baseman might, or the Cards may only get one out on a double play ball instead of two. I hope that he'll be right about league average and I don't think you can expect more.
AC: How much do you hate the Cubs?
C70: With the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns? No, that's probably overstating it. I wouldn't like to say I hate the Cubs, though I don't want to see them win and I hope to live a long life and die still waiting for them to have a World Series title. I think wins against the Cubs are probably sweeter than most others in the regular season and the lowest point in Cardinal history would be if we lost to the Cubs in an NLCS matchup. Other than that, I don't think about them much.
AC: What's your prediction for this series?
C70: I've not looked at all the pitching splits and how the batters have done against the hurlers, but I know that Mike Hampton has been tough on the Cardinals in the past. Joel Pineiro looked very sharp in the spring, but with our lefty-heavy lineup, Hampton might get the win there. Oswalt vs. Wainwright should be a fun game, and it's not surprising that Fox has picked it up as a national telecast. Neither of them were extremely sharp (in their first start), but the Cardinals have solved Oswalt a few times since his dominating Game 6 in the '05 NLCS. I'm going to take St. Louis in that one. Rodriguez has been a tough nut for the Cards in the past, so him vs. Lohse could be a close game. As a Cardinal fan, I think we eke it out, especially since we are at home.