October 02, 2006

Quick hits for Mets vs. Dodgers series

Tom Singer at Mets.com writes about the upcoming Mets and Dodgers series and hits on some key factors for each team:

Reasons the Dodgers will win:

1. Faith. They believe in themselves after a season of comebacks, both in the standings and on some individual magical nights. Just the right veteran core -- Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Kenny Lofton -- to show the way.

2. The Big Three. We've already seen what Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Greg Maddux can weave when they're on. That 16-1 spree into August? What's a hot week compared to that?

3. It's their town. They'll just hire the better scriptwriters. And if they don't like the ending, they'll get new ones.

Achilles' heel: Playing from behind. They aren't equipped for it, never mind the occasional miracle. Like that seven-homer comeback against the Padres -- at that point, that breakout represented 5.3 percent of their season total! Six-inning motto: Ahead or dead.

Reasons the Mets will win:

1. Power. The Flushing Lumber Company has three boppers who collected more homers than L.A.'s biggest stick. The Dodgers will be huffing and puffing to manufacture runs, and the Mets will ruin all the work with one big swing.

2. Shea Stadium. Between early April and their clincher, only twice did the Mets lose consecutive games at home. The home-field edge (Games 1, 2, 5) is big for them.

3. Preparation. The non-race -- the Mets had a double-digit lead by mid-June -- gave Willie Randolph a chance to plan out everything just the way he wanted. A lot of banged-up guys got to rest up.

Achilles' heel: Has any team ever entered a postseason in direr psychological shape? Regaining the edge isn't part of the new on-demand world. Since the 1998 Yankees became the last team to turn a double-digit division win into a World Series title, 15 runaways have flopped; eight of them didn't even make it out of the Division Series.

And speaking of Achilles' heels -- if Cliff Floyd's takes him back out of the lineup, it will weaken the Mets' biggest advantage, power from the left side.

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