NLCS Questions to Ponder
1. Will home-field advantage matter? Only two of the NL Championship Series played in this decade were won by the team that opened at home — Arizona in 2001 and St. Louis in 2004. The other four were won by Wild Cards: Mets in 2000, Giants in 2002, Marlins in 2003 and Astros last year.
2. Can St. Louis keep Jose Reyes off base? Bad things happen to opponents when he’s on. Very bad. Reyes is 2-for-11 against Jeff Weaver, but the 0-for-5 game against him on Aug. 22 of this season is the only one that’s relevant.
3. Will Friday still be a travel day? Keep an eye on the weather.
4. Will Albert Pujols be pitched around more than usual? Willie Randolph told us today he doesn’t want to let "the big boy" hurt them, but he and Tom Glavine both said the situation will dictate how he is approached. Much will depend on the protection of Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, who, according to manager Tony La Russa, "looked good" on Workout Day.
5. Will it matter? La Russa also noted what a big strike zone Pujols has. No holes in that swing.
6. Can the Mets continue to make up for the progressive injury bug? These aren’t role players. Good to see that our fellow MLBlogger Cliff Floyd will be on the roster and posting away.
7. Will you be able to find a ticket if you don’t have one already? Shea and Busch are total meccas right now.
8. Will Preston Wilson — then age 12 and sitting behind home plate for Mookie’s dribbler to Bill Buckner — spoil plans now for a 20th-anniversary celebration at Shea?
9. Can Glavine render some key hates-to-face numbers meaningless? Consider: Rolen (.358, 19-for-53, 2 HR, 14 BB), Pujols (.450, 9-for-20), Juan Encarnacion (.361, 13-for-36), Ronnie Belliard (.417, 5-for-12). He has Edmonds’ number: .211, 4-for-19. And can Weaver find an answer for Carlos Delgado, who is hitting .500 (19-for-38) against him with four homers and 14 RBIs?
10. Will we see the same Carlos Beltran who was otherworldly at the plate and in center field for Houston in that 2004 NLCS against the Cardinals? It didn’t get much better than watching him and Edmonds make dueling defensive gems in center during that series.
Feel free to add your own questions, and remember that we’re still in prediction mode here…
The Rain Fairy and the Injury Fairy need to go grab a drink together and leave us alone.
I have nothing but respect for the Cardinals, their organization and their fans, which are, IMHO, the best in baseball. That said, the Mets take this series in five.
Michael Norton – Some Ballyard
I just don’t think the Cardinals have what it takes to beat the Mets. The Mets despite losing their two best pitchers, are stronger pitching wise, in the later innings I don’t think the Cards bullpen can hold a lead, the bullpen is much stronger in New York. The Mets will win this series in five games.
We might not be able to keep Reyes off the base all the time, but it would be in his best interest not to attempt to steal off of Molina.
That and the so-called “weak” St. Louis bullpen were my latest blog topics. I’d love to hear responses to anyone who disagrees.
Oh and my guess is…..Cards in 7. All the way.
Don’t underestimate the Cardinals based on their regular season record. They now have a healthy lineup (sans Izzy) versus an injured Mets lineup. I predict St. Louis to take this in six games, with Carpenter pitching and winning two games.
Has anyone filed an oficial complaint against the improper calls by the Home Plate Umpire against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first game? The calls were so incorrect as too wonder if they were deliberate or just incompetence.