Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mets and Cards Scratch and Claw for Series Bid; Tigers Scratch and Claw for Clubhouse Remote

My wish came true. The Mets beat the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS yesterday, 4-2. Jose Reyes and John Maine were the key contributors for the Mets. Some will say Chris Carpenter didn’t get the job done when the Cards needed him, but the guy only gave up two runs and left the game trailing 2-0.

For the Cardinals, this means they will be sending Jeff Suppan out to the mound for Game 7. As I mentioned yesterday, this will make things interesting if and when they face the Tigers on Saturday since Carpenter and Suppan won’t be available and Weaver would have to go on short rest to take the hill. For the Mets, it turns out picking the starter for Game 7 wasn’t as cut-and-dry as I thought. Steve Trachsel is not getting the call, as Willie Randolph is opting to go with Oliver Perez on three days’ rest. Guy gets slapped around for five runs with more than his usual break between starts, and you turn around and go to him on short rest? Wow.

Of course, Trachsel had what two different radio guys are calling the worst postseason start ever. So either option probably would not have walked off the mound to a raucous standing ovation tonight. The nice thing for the Tigers is that they will probably get Trachsel for Game 1 of the World Series if the Mets win, and that Mets bullpen has been called on to make a lot of pitches in this series. One possible wrinkle to the Mets’ potential World Series rotation is I’ve heard El Duque (Orlando Hernandez) may pitch if they make the World Series. I just haven’t yet heard when that may take place.

Seeing the problems a long series poses for the Mets and Cardinals going into the World Series, is anybody still wondering if the negatives of the long layoff for the Tigers outweigh the positives? The Tigers can literally throw any of the starters for the first four games of the Series, and will probably have Casey and Zumaya game ready. Either the Cardinals or the Mets Game 1 starter will be like choosing between a bullet in the gut and a bullet in the knee. They will also have just about their entire World Series rotation dictated by the starters' usage in the NLCS. Their only flexibility would likely come later in the series when they may have to choose between trusting a back of the rotation guy in a big game and throwing a more reliable starter on short rest. I should stop talking about these National League teams, because pretty soon I’m going to start sounding like the Yankee fans before the ALDS.

I’m not rooting for either team tonight, so I guess I’ll root for a 19 inning marathon that forces the Mets or Cardinals to throw their bullpen catcher in Game 1 of the World Series.

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