'And Now It's My Time (Now It's My Time) It's My Time to Dream (My Time to Dream)'

Good afternoon, sports fans. I just awoke from a nearly weeklong alcohol-induced coma, which I fell into after the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the National League Central. It was in celebration, yes, but it was also in relief. It was a release of sorts. Remember: We don't drink to forget; we drink to ... remember.

But we also drink to expedite the passing-out process so as to escape Godsmack's "I Stand Alone," which some turd at Fox Sports Southwest and/or in the Houston Astros' organization thought was an appropriate choice to accompany a season-ending montage of highlights upon last Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Despite my titling today's entry with a sample lyric, I can assure you that it was in fact not an appropriate choice – quite the contrary – and that my lawyers will soon be in touch as they are building a case for a civil suit. Assaulting viewers just because your team finally fell back to Earth – heh – is just not cool. Like, Morgan Ensberg uncool, dudes.

So, anyway, what's happening? The playoffs, you say? Tell me more. Tommy Lasorda is freaking you out a little bit? What? Oh, shit, the Cards are basically on their way to the World Series? Wow! What a time to snap awake: Being sponge-bathed in the rehab annex of the hospital and sporting a built-in postseason beard. I do live for this! And, yes, Albert Pujols, I do – I will marry you, kind sir. Jeff Weaver, I do apologize for calling you a washed-up dirtbag!

As it turns out, Jeff Weaver rules. So, too, do the Redbirds. Well, actually, that's not accurate. At all. What they are is solid, but capable – like several other teams – of putting together something special. In order of importance, the Redbirds are being served by the following: Pujols in every phase of the game; Carpenter; luck; a relatively healthy roster physically, mentally, and emotionally; strong rotation work; defense ranging from the sound to the spectacular; timely hitting; a steady bullpen; and their underdog status. A team that dangled from the edge by a thread as the season came to a close, they essentially started their do-or-die campaign a week or two early. Or maybe it was all a grand illusion, an epic ploy: Their resurgence has seemed that seamless and dreamy.

Well, what can I say? Pinch me. They could actually do it.

Sure, you say, they're playing the San Diego Padres, for Pujols' sake, but chances are you prognosticated those same Friar Tucks to devour the Birds and pick clean their brittle bones in a lush medieval wood.

The time has come, then, for wrongs to be righted. Call me the Robin Hood of useless homer commentary. I have crunched the numbers, consulted the SABRmetricians, and come to a few conclusions ...

The Cardinals will close out the Padres on Saturday with the clutch Jeff Suppan on the hill at home. As I write, the Minnesota Twins are down 4-0 in the fourth inning of their effort to survive the Oakland A's. The A's look good to win that series, although in the past they've done their best to squander such rich bearings.

Listen: I don't usually do this, but I'm going to push my luck and predict how the rest of the postseason will play out to make up for the preview delay. My loyal fans have waited patiently for me to recover, so, in return, I shall impart some wisdom. Take the shit to Vegas, if you want, but I offer it only in recreation. Meanwhile, a gentlemanly tip for the Steve Phillipses of the world: Waiting till a few games have been played before you make a call increases your chances of being right.

Cardinals-Padres: Cards in 2
Dodgers-Mets: Mets in 5

Cardinals-Mets: Cards in 1

As-Twins: As in 2.3
Tigers-Yankees: Tigers in 4

Tigers-As: Yankees in 0 (postponed indefinitely, unbeknownst to anyone else)

Pujols-Cowboys: Donovan McNabb

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