The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz thinks there’s something charming/defiant/who-the-fuck-knows about the Cards’ self-appointed genius skipper insisting his club won’t get smoked by the Mets.

Apparently the NLCS is over, even before it begins. Here is the itinerary that’s been planned for the Cardinals: Take the 7 Train to Shea Stadium, then get run over and flattened by the Mets Express. Just go home, and save yourself some trouble. The big poison apple that is New York is going to get you, one way or another.

Play nice, lose in four straight, and no one will get hurt.

That’s the word on the streets of NYC.

“I think this series is even,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa (above) said. “The Mets are outstanding, but we’re capable of playing very good baseball.”

When a media member challenged La Russa on this, out came Don Tony.

“I just told you I think we have an even chance to win,” La Russa said. “Our expectation is that we can win the series. We believe we can win.”

Don Tony is La Russa’s alter ego. It transforms him from Tony La Russa to Tony Soprano, baseball’s Capo di tutti capi. Don Tony can play rough. He comes out in beanball battles with opposing managers. He comes out when some wise guy with a press credential gives
him the lip.

And if you persist, Don Tony may even introduce you to a couple of his little friends, Bob Knight and Bill Parcells. So go ahead and tell Tony Soprano . . . uh, La Russa, that he has no chance in this NLCS, that his team is set up as a toll booth on the Triborough Bridge, there to barely slow the Mets on their fast trip to the World Series.

By contrast, ESPN’s Buster Olney takes the statistical tact in pointing out “many of the Cardinals’ hitters have pounded Glavine in the past: Pujols is 9-for-20, Ronnie Belliard 5-for-12, Juan Encarnacion 13-for-36 (.361), Rolen 19-for-53 (.358),” while also citing Carlos D.’s history versus Wevie Stonder I.

The Mets’ first baseman has video-game numbers against the Cardinals’ Game 1 starter: 19-for-38, four homers, eight walks, .620 OBP and a 1.594 OPS. And you can bet that both are well aware of this history. Weaver surprised the Padres by throwing so many breaking balls in his start in Game 2, and it’s a decent bet that he will try to pitch to Delgado this way, with lots of curves.

As confirmed by Newsday’s David Lennon, here’s your 25 man Mets roster for the NLCS. Note the omission of Da Edge, and the inclusion of Anderson Hernandez and Cliff Floyd.

PITCHERS (11): Chad Bradford, Pedro Feliciano, Tom Glavine, Aaron Heilman, Roberto Hernandez, John Maine, Guillermo Mota, Darren Oliver, Oliver Perez, Steve Trachsel, Billy Wagner.

CATCHERS (2): Paul Lo Duca, Ramon Castro

INFIELDERS (7): Carlos Delgado, Julio Franco, Anderson Hernandez, Jose Reyes, Jose Valentin, Chris Woodward, David Wright

OUTFIELDERS (5): Carlos Beltran, Endy Chavez, Cliff Floyd, Shawn Green, Michael Tucker