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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The St. Louis Cardinals face the New York Mets in the first game of the National League Championship Series tonight at 7:19. The Cards will win in 5 games, and I have five reasons why:

5. The structure of the series. The 2-3-2 format of home/away games means that even in the worst-case scenario (for the Cards) after two games, the Cards can steal the series lead with three home wins.

4. Jim Edmonds. He's gonna catch everything in center field. And though the national media makes much of his apparent decline offensively, he has a unique knack for clutch hitting.

3. Starting pitching. Jeff Weaver will begin for St. Louis against Tom Glavine. This is the only matchup which even appears to favor New York. Yet the Cardinals have fared well against Glavine, and Jeff Suppan was the best pitcher in the NL over the second half of the season. Chris Carpenter is in top form. New York cannot counter with a comparable ace.

2. Albert Pujols. Can utterly alter a game with one swing. The most game-winning hits this season belong to Pujols.

1. St. Louis fans. Busch Stadium is analogous to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for the NFL: A nightmare for road teams. St. Louis is America's baseball capital; the fans make it so.