The Commish Online                                                                                
2006 Playoffs
NLCS Preview
October 11, 2006

If you have read any of my previous posts the past month, then you already know I will be picking the Mets.  As I have said several times already, no National League team in over 25 years has finished in the bottom half of the NL in team ERA and made it to the World Series.  With St. Louis finishing the year 9th out of 16 teams, I simply can't pick them to beat New York.  That doesn't mean it will be a cakewalk, however.

This is being written just as Game 1's postponement has been announced, meaning the first 5 games will be played without a day off.  St. Louis already lacks pitching depth, but New York isn't exactly steeped in healthy arms.  Glavine, Maine, Trachsel, Perez is hardly Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz, Millwood.  Without a day off, though, I look for Glavine to take Game 1 and for Steve Trachsel to at least give Carpenter a battle in Game 3.  If Carpenter can't go at least 6+ innings, St. Louis' bullpen will show its wear.  With neither team sporting an impressive rotation, the Mets get the slight edge because of the bullpen.

At the plate, nagging injuries to Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen will make it difficult for Albert Pujols to be in positions to succeed.  Willie Randolph may be a young manager, but I guarantee you he won't let Pujols beat him if a base is open.  If Edmonds and Rolen aren't producing, it makes Randolph's job that much easier. 

The Mets, on the other hand, appear healthy and powerful at the plate.  Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, Wright, and the rest should give the Cards' pitching plenty of headaches in the next week.  Defensively, both teams are solid, and I don't expect the difference to show in the field.  Overall, despite New York having its own pitching problems, they aren't as bad as St. Louis.  Offensively, Pujols controls a game as much as one player can in baseball, but New York's hitting against St. Louis' pitching will simply be too much for single players like Pujols and Carpenter to overcome.
Prediction: Mets in 5