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.
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…