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Weather could kink Cardinals plans

Please, Mother Nature, don't screw this up for the Cardinals.

According to the latest weather forecast, there's an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms tonight -- and there is a chance that they could be severe. The bad weather is expected to arrive shortly after the 7:05 start of the Redbirds' game against Milwaukee.

What is Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa to do? Chris Carpenter is due to pitch tonight. Obviously he is the Redbirds' best pitcher -- and he's squaring off against Yovani Gallardo, a guy that the Birds have owned over the past few years. But if the game starts and there is a lengthy delay, Carpenter could be lost for game three. He's likely to pitch in game seven if the NLCS makes it that far. But it would be on short rest like his disasterous first 2011 post-season start.

So do the Cardinals hold Carpenter back until Thursday when the weather report is better to try to give him a better chance to go deep in a game, or do they roll the dice and hope the game is played without significant delay tonight? If they do, he might pitch another complete game Thursday... But he's almost certainly not be available to make another start in the NLCS. The weather looks good for games four and five in St. Louis, and the Brewers play their games in a retractable dome where rain isn't a factor (unless you sit beneath one of the places where the roof leaks.)

Kyle Lohse is available on full rest. His last start against Milwaukee, Lohse threw six innings and allowed no runs on four hits and three walks. But in his career against Milwaukee, Loshe is 4-8 with a 4.80 ERA.

I'm glad I'm not the one who has to make these sorts of decisions. It would be nice, if it is going to rain, that it just go ahead and do it. As much as I would like to see the Cardinals be able to maintain their momentum, no one wants to see a game decided by crummy conditions.