October 10, 2006

Fox Sports' Rosenthal Picks Mets in 6- Should We Be Scared?

Ken Rosenthal, of Fox Sports.com, admittedly left home one day for a game wearing 2 left shoes- and he was 0-4 in his first round predictions! That's right- he picked the Dodgers over the Mets, Padres over the Cards, Twins over the A's and Yankees over the Tigers. Worse, this round, he picks the Mets in 6 - let's hope he's due for a good luck streak! Like everyone else, Rosenthal believes the match-up of Jose Reyes' legs versus Yadier Molina's throws will prove to be the most exciting part of the series.

From Rosenthal:

Mets vs. Cardinals

Silly me, thinking the Mets' starting-pitching injuries might actually matter against the feeble Dodgers. Silly me, failing to anticipate that Dodgers lefty reliever Joe "Slice" Beimel would log more bar appearances than pitching appearances in the Division Series.

The thing I underestimated about the Mets is the ability of their offense and bullpen to mask their rotation deficiencies, particularly against NL opponents. Left-hander Tom Glavine and right-handers John Maine and Steve Trachsel don't exactly evoke memories of Seaver, Koosman and Matlack, but against the Cardinals they should be good enough.

With all due respect to right-handers Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan, the Cardinals' Game 1 and 2 starters, there's simply no rational basis for predicting a Cardinals' victory, other than the fact that they have the best pitcher, right-hander Chris Carpenter, and best player, first baseman Albert Pujols.

It might be different if Carpenter could pitch the first four innings of every game. Unorthodox as Cardinals manager Tony La Russa can be, I don't think that's the plan.

Including the postseason, the Mets are 74-43 in games started by opposing right-handers, 26-22 in games started by lefties. The Cardinals don't have a left-handed starter; their Game 4 options are righties Jason Marquis and Anthony Reyes.

Good luck against Carlos Delgado, a left-handed hitter, and Carlos Beltran, a switch-hitter who is much stronger from the left side. Even if left fielder Cliff Floyd can't play due to his Achilles' injury, the Mets will simply replace him with a different type of left-handed hitter, Endy Chavez.

Thus, the pressure on the Cardinals' lefty relievers, Randy Flores and rookie Tyler Johnson, will be enormous — though another of the Cardinals' rookie relievers, righty Josh Kinney, also handles left-handed hitters well due to the strength of his breaking ball.

Even if Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina contains Mets leadoff man Jose Reyes on the bases — Molina's release time might be the fastest in the majors — the Mets' offense stands a better chance of taking advantage of mediocre pitching than the Cardinals', particularly with Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen struggling.

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