another straightforward decision from la russa: he will stick with weaver in game 5 tonight. quote: "It's perfect. Jeff [Weaver] gets four days' rest, Chris gets four and Jeff [Suppan] gets four. It's our best shot."
for all the talk about the home-road splits of the cardinals' starters, i haven't ever heard anybody mention this one: glavine's era was 2 runs higher on the road than at home. he allowed 2.88 per 9 at shea, 4.72 on the road:
maybe the cards can put up some runs tonight. at the very least, maybe they can get some men on base and force glavine to work, get him out of the game early enough to tax the met bullpen and soften it up for the final two games. insofar as game 7 is likely to be a bullpen game for the mets, every pitch the cardinals can force the relievers to throw before then helps.
according to the new york papers, the mets are feeling a sense of urgency to wrap up the series in 6. from today's ny daily news:
Oliver pitched well in relief of Trachsel, but there's a lot less pressure when you're losing 5-0 than there is starting a Game 7, especially for a guy who hasn't made a start all season.
Just about the only certainty is that it will not be Steve Trachsel, who is unlikely to ever pitch for the Mets again. . . .
Oliver has a chance to start coming off of a bullpen-saving six shutout innings in relief of Trachsel in Game 3. But he threw 72 pitches and Glavine pointed out, "You don't know how Darren will bounce back from that." Glavine conceded that with Suppan fully rested, St. Louis would "be in a better situation than us."
change of subject: i take the story about pujols' sore hammy with a chunk of salt. this is the same organization that assured us mulder's shoulder was fine and izzy was perfectly healthy; when it comes to injuries, we only know what they want us to know. so why would they want us to know that (quoting la russa) pujols "can still hit line drives, but it's tougher for him to generate that big power push"? i think tony's just trying to get the media to stop asking "why isn't pujols hitting? and why is he acting like such a prick?" albert has chafed at questions re his fallability since day 1 of this series, beginning with his ill-advised postgame remarks about glavine after the opener. those comments gave the media a storyline, one that la russa has spent considerable effort trying to defuse. the rainy-day revelation about hombre's hamstring strikes me as part of the manager's campaign to change the subject and give his superstar some cover, get the reporters off his back. i'm not criticizing la russa -- on the contrary, he's doing what a good manager should do. nor am i suggesting that the information is untrue; i take it at face value that el hombre's hammy is sore. but when la russa says the ailment is so bad that he might play duncan at first instead of hombre . . . . well, i'll believe that when i see it. until then, i will assume that la russa's exaggerating the severity of hombre's condition, trying to create a distraction and a little drama.
david pinto of baseball musings is not buying it either: