Red-hot Astros hand the ball to their ace

Originally Published: September 11, 2008
By Bob Klapisch | Special to ESPN.com

Somewhere in his decision-making data bank, Astros manager Cecil Cooper toyed with the idea of holding out Roy Oswalt one extra day, allowing him to start the showdown series against the Cubs on Friday.

To any outsider, it was a tactical slam dunk: give the ball to your most trusted pitching weapon, fire the first shot of the weekend that just might decide the wild card, if not the National League Central itself.

But Cooper isn't looking that far ahead, not even 24 hours. ...

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