For the fifth time in eleven years, the Atlanta Braves will play the Houston Astros in the National League Division Series.
Game One will be Wednesday at 4:00 pm at Turner Field and will be televised on ESPN. Left-hander Andy Pettitte (17-9, 2.39) will pitch for the Astros. No word yet on who will pitch for the Braves. John Smoltz was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday in Florida. If he's ready to go, he could get the call for the first game.
Smoltz pitched one game against the Astros this season, winning in Atlanta back in early May, well before the Astros turned things around from their horrid start. Smoltz went five innings and allowed only one run, walked no one, and struck out two. Pettitte lost his only appearance against the Braves this season, allowing three runs on seven hits in seven innings of work.
A Smoltz vs. Pettitte matchup would pair the two winningest pitchers in postseason history against each other. Smoltz has won fourteen games in the postseason over his career, while Pettitte has won thirteen. Pettitte did not pitch for the Astros last year against the Braves in the NLDS.
Thursday's Game Two in Atlanta (8:00 pm, FOX) could feature a repeat of the classic game played between the two teams back on April 18th in Houston. If Smoltz does go in Game One, Tim Hudson will get the call in Game Two and could possibly face Roger Clemens. The two squared off in a great battle in the first month of the season. Hudson went nine scoreless innings and allowed only four hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts. Clemens went seven scoreless innings and struck out eight.
When the series moves back to Houston for Game Three on Saturday (Time to be announced) Roy Oswalt will go for the Astros. Right-hander Jorge Sosa will likely get the call for Atlanta. Sosa had three relief appearances against the Astros this season, and that was before he joined the starting rotation. Sosa is 9-0 on the road this season with an ERA of 1.81.
If necessary, Game Four will be next Sunday at Minute Maid Park, and then the finale would be on Monday, October 10th at Turner Field. Time and networks for those games will be announced later.
The Braves are having two rallies Monday in Atlanta. Here is more information from the Braves' official website.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Braves to once again play Astros in NLDS
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