10/11/05 6:37 PM ET
Astros rested, ready for NLCS
Two off-days help to prepare for Wednesday's opener
"A couple of our pitchers had gone longer than they had gone all year. I'm sure they will be fine and I'll find out after our workout here. If you lose [Game 4 against the Braves], I think it takes an emotional toll on you. But if you win it, I think it puts a couple of feathers in your cap and I think the guys are feeling pretty good about it."Third baseman Morgan Ensberg also went the distance, but Ensberg, like the others who were out there for all five hours and 50 minutes on Sunday, said he was good to go. "We've had two days off, so I don't even know if the extra innings really made anybody too much more fatigued, since there were only a handful of us that played all 18 innings," Ensberg said. "The next day, I felt fine -- a little bit tired, but not more than what I normally would be." Reliever Dan Wheeler, who went three innings on Sunday, said the long game won't be a factor. "We're ready to go," Wheeler said. "The two days off really helped us out, and with the light workout today, it's not a problem." If anything, the Astros are coming in on a high. The confidence from that amazing come-from-behind win over the Braves was on everyone's lips on Tuesday. They have another advantage in that they aren't expected to beat St. Louis. They weren't supposed to beat Atlanta either. The underdog role is one that seems tailor made for the Astros. Besides no return to Atlanta, Sunday's win also means the rotation sets up perfectly, with Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt and Clemens set to go against the Cardinals. "We're relaxed, why shouldn't we be?" Astros first baseman Lance Berkman said. "We weren't supposed to get this far, but here we are." They're here all right. Rested, ready and having a ball.
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.