Monday, October 09, 2006

N.Y Mets: Make Way for the Cardinals [J. Mark English]

ST. LOUIS -- After a rocky first inning, Chris Carpenter locked down, allowing his teammates to roar back for a 6-2 win over the Padres on Sunday night. Carpenter's fourth career postseason victory in as many decisions gave St. Louis a 3-1 series win in the National League Division Series.

The Cards fell behind, 2-0, in the first inning as Carpenter labored through 35 pitches to get three outs. But a two-run bottom of the first, followed by a four-run sixth, sent St. Louis to its fifth National League Championship Series in seven years and third straight. The series, a rematch of the 2000 pennant battle with the Mets, will get under way on Wednesday at Shea Stadium in New York.

Juan Encarnacion's tie-breaking RBI triple in the sixth uncorked a furious rally against former Cardinal Woody Williams and reliever Cla Meredith. Scott Spiezio, playing in place of Scott Rolen, delivered an RBI single to make it 4-2. After Yadier Molina's single loaded the bases, Carpenter reached on a fielder's choice, with Ronnie Belliard scoring on an error on the play. David Eckstein's squeeze bunt made it 6-2.

Carpenter lasted seven-plus innings, finally chased by a pair of singles to open the eighth. He won for the second time in this series. In Carpenter's five career postseason starts, the Cardinals are 5-0.

Comments -

The Mets will be facing off against one heck of a team. The Cardinals have tremendous experience, adequate pitching, and one of the greatest hitters in the game in Albert Pujols. The Mets have faced the Cards before in the NLCS in 2000 and they took care of them easily by winning with pitching.

This go around the Mets do not have the pitching the 2000 team did. In 2000 the Mets had Al Leiter, Rick Reed, and Mike Hampton. This year they have Tom Glavine, John Maine, and Steve Traeschal. The Mets bullpen however is better then it was in 2000, and if the starters can keep the Mets in the game then this series should be very competitive.

The experts should have a lot of good stuff to write about leading up to Wednesday night when the series begins. In the mean time I'll be hunting for tickets.