Cardinals 5, Mets 0 (Cards lead the series, 2-1)

I’ve just contacted Cory Lidle via Ouija Board, and he believes the Mets have run into a team that was better prepared for this series.

Cory will appear as a vision before Chris Russo later tonight, explaining that I’ve misquoted him.

Jeff Suppan (above) pitched a phenomenal game — though the Mets might not have been so compelled to take nearly as many first pitch called strikes had Steve Trachsel not dug such a huge hole. And while I’ll grant you a team with the Mets’ firepower shouldn’t automatically wave the white flag when they fall behind, I’ll give Willie Randolph some credit for being smarter than Tim McCarver. Allowing Darren Oliver to hit for himself, l,eading off the 6th inning with New York trailing by 5 struck McCarver as the height of folly, but I have no problem with Willie trying to get as much work out of his long reliever as possible. With Oliver Perez looming tomorrow night (and Glavine on 3 days’ rest Monday), there’s every possibility Randolph will be going deep into the pen, yet again. That likelihood measured against the slim chances of Michael Tucker, Anderson Hernandez or Chris Woodward doing damage to Suppan, seemed like the way to lean.

If the Mets have any hope remaining of extending this series to 6 or 7 games, much of the credit should go to Oliver (above) , terribly impressive in 6 innings of shutout relief. Whether or not Trachsel is available to pitch a potential Game 7, Oliver has to be under consideration for the hypothetical start.

Whatever his physical ailments and/or crumbly relationship with the Genius Manager, Scott Rolen can still get it done with the glove. And the barehand.

Other clubs’ excessive baggage have played a very big role in this series (Spiezio, Mota, Preston Wilson) and Mookie’s kin made a heck of a throw to nail Jose Valentin on the ‘Stache’s ill-advised attempt at extending a single into a double in the 5th (above). I wouldn’t call it the most important play of the night or anything, but that’s a boneheaded move from a vet that should’ve known better.

With the toil taken on the Mets’ pen over the last two days and what appears to be a mismatch in bench depth (Spiezo and Taguchi compared to Hernandez, Tucker and Woodward) it’s very hard to feel good, in retrospect, about the decision to put Cliff Floyd on the NLCS roster. I’m not living in such a fantasyland that I believe the availablity of Royce Ring or Lastings Milledge would’ve saved either Game 2 or 3 for New York, but every bit of flexibility helps. At the moment, the Mets are at a competitive disadvantage (though the chance of Braden Looper making an appearance tomorrow might re-set the scales).

I think we’re all concerned about David Wright’s disappearence in this series, and the answer to his hitting woes is clear as day. He needs Derek Jeter to issue a public statement of support.

On Sunday night, the Mets will be praying for 4 or 5 innings from Perez with minimal damage, some combination of Bradford, Mota, Felicano and Heilman being the likely bridge to Country Time. There’s a lot of “if’s” in the mix on this one, though keep in mind Anthony Reyes (5-8, 5.06, 17 HR’s allowed in 17 starts, lefties hitting .273 off the St. Louis starter) isn’t Mike Scott or Chris Carpenter.