One big two-out, two-strike swing for a 430-foot homer. Take that one away, and we’re still playing. The opener of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night was all pitching and defense, a nice pitchers’ duel between victor Tom Glavine and Jeff Weaver. In the end, it was decided by the same Carlos Beltran who took the postseason by storm for Houston in 2004. Cardinals fans will be quick to point out that Albert Pujols won that battle of the heavyweights with his own spectacular and unforgettable performance that led to his MVP honor as St. Louis won that NLCS. Will Pujols answer with the next salvo in Game 2? Advantage, Mets and Beltran.
It’s 2006 Cy Young Award candidate and 2006 postseason bat-eater Chris Carpenter against Mets youngster John Maine at 8:05 p.m. ET on Friday. It looms as an ideal chance for St. Louis to take a split back to Busch Stadium for the middle three games. If they go back down 2-0, that would be an absolute crusher, given the man they are sending out to the hill. Here we go: Cards vs. Beltran again.
One definite memory from Game 1 was the crowd. There were 56,311 as noted in the mid-game post below, an LCS record at Shea, and after waiting since last Saturday to see their team, there was a stunning decibel level and an amazing endurance of standing for what seemed to be most of the game. Carlos Delgado was standing at his locker afterwards when a reporter asked if he had ever heard Shea as loud as it was when Beltran belted the 430-footer.
"If they don’t cheer like that for that home run, they’re not ever going to cheer," Delgado said. "It’s been loud here all summer. These fans know how to make noise."
More importantly for the Mets, they kept this guy (0-for-3) quiet in Game 1:
Final thought: David Wright, Jose Reyes and Delgado have never experienced losing an MLB postseason game. Not a bad way to start the October life.