GAME TIME 6:10 CDTfor the better part of a year, the mets have lived with the pain of getting knocked out of the 2006 playoffs by an 83-win cardinals team. here it is, almost 12 months later, and back come the cardinals --- this time with just 74 wins, even more unworthy than last year --- with another chance to dash the mets' postseason hopes. they can't knock the new yorkers clean out of the running this year, but they can help extend the pain for another winter: the mets have lost 9 of their last 13 and have blown all but 1 game of a lead that stood at 7 games just 2 weeks ago. in another little irony, as the mets seek redemption tonight they will send to the mound the pitcher they missed so badly in last year's nlcs.
these are not the same mets who smashed in the cardinals' noses in the season-opening series. they were 16 games over as of may 31 but went 4-14 to open the month of june and took forever to recover. entering tonight's action, they're a .500 team over the last 4 months. the cards are only 3 games under during that same span. . . .
for a means-nothing game, this one might be worth watching.
differential watch: with 4 games left on the slate, the cardinals have the league's worst run differential, at minus 117. remember, they haven't led the league in that category in 91 years. the pirates are 2d at minus 112; the nats are minus 111, florida's minus 110.