There’s still some work to do over here.
Once again, this series continues to defy matchup expectations. It is simply a great League Championship Series, and it is destined to be remembered that way. There is a Game 7 Thursday night at Shea Stadium, and the winner goes to Comerica Park two nights later. The Mets have named Oliver Perez — who was so-so in his previous NLCS start in St. Louis — to start the finale against Jeff Suppan, who mastered the Mets’ lineup and even homered in his outing.
"If you’d have told me that when the day started that they’d have four on the board…" That’s how Cardinals manager Tony La Russa started his postgame interview session, referring to his expectation that St. Louis might have "marked" at least four times. He had possible repeat Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter up against rookie John Maine, but once Jose Reyes led off with a homer, all expectations faded to reality of a great series.
"I’m sure they’re very happy with him," La Russa said of Maine. "That first inning, he faced a big problem and he got out of it. It seemed like he got more and more confident, and got them into the sixth inning. That’s to his credit. … Yesterday, they had a guy going to the Hall of Fame, today we had a Cy Young winner — that’s what matchups do for you."
La Russa also said people would have seen "a different Billy Wagner" had the Mets been ahead by two runs instead of four.
Mets manager Willie Randolph, who has given his players a Detroit itinerary as a show of confidence, was beaming about Maine’s outing. "I just tell him all the time, ‘Just go out and have fun,’" said Randolph. "I’ve challenged him many times. … He’s been golden for us."
Maine said that he had "jitters" at the start, but wasn’t overthrowing.
How clutch is So Taguchi? He is 4-for-4 this postseason with two homers. I’m sure a lot of people back in Japan would like to see him play more, but that’s one jam-packed Cardinals outfield.
Paul Lo Duca: "I can’t even imagine what tomorrow is gonna be like."
Anything can happen, as this series has proven. It will be a wild scene at Shea for the last one. So, who do you like in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS?