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Let the NLCS Begin

Mike SteffanosWednesday, October 11, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


The Mets have submitted their roster for the National League Championship Series that begins tonight. The official press release on this is on-line at Mets.com. It seemed that a large number of those who followed the team thought that Cliff Floyd would be left off, but that has not proven to be the case. An interesting gamble that leaves the Mets open to a lot of second guessing if Floyd becomes incapacitated. They will not be able to replace him during the series.

I kind of like the move, although I admit it makes me a little nervous. I think it sends a message of confidence to the whole team. They also have a pretty good karma going for them right now, so why mess with it? Still, if Floyd goes out for the series, the Mets will be undermanned the rest of the way.

The Mets have cut their number of pitchers down by one from the Division Series, with Royce Ring being the unhappy wallflower for this dance. Despite speculation that the Mets were considering Dave Williams for an NLCS start, that has not proved to be the case. Oliver Perez, with all of his potential and all of his problems, will be the fourth starter. Although I understand the thinking behind those who championed Williams, who was by far a "safer" choice than Perez, this move (or lack thereof) did not surprise me. The decisions made by the Mets brain trust this year have never leaned towards the safe move. The Mets are well aware that Perez might blow up in their face, but they see him as the starting pitcher who gives them the most chance of winning. It's no great shock that the Mets were willing to leave themselves open to second guessing. They don't let outside opinions dictate their moves.

The position player who replaced Ring surprised me, I admit. Rather than an outfielder such as Ricky Ledee or Lastings Milledge, the Mets are carrying Anderson Hernandez as the extra bench player. I guess it doesn't surprise me the Mets didn't pick Ledee, as they already have an abundance of lefties. Maybe I shouldn't be shocked at Milledge's absence, since the Mets clearly indicated they didn't think Milledge could help them this year when they sent him down and didn't recall him before September 1. No, what shocked me was the inclusion of Hernandez, whose only value would seem to be as a defensive player and pinch runner, over a third catcher, who would free up Ramon Castro for pinch hitting. Interesting move, indeed.

Program Alert
Received an email from Jason at ESPN:

... ESPN's Outside the Lines First Report today will feature a treatment on the Mets and Omar's Construction of the team as it prepares for the NLCS tonight. Guests include Steve Phillips, Baseball America's Alan Schwarz and the Daily News Adam Rubin. The show is hosted by Bob Ley and airs today LIVE at 330pm est.

I set my DVR to record it, as this is an interesting topic for Mets fans. For those of you that can get to a tv in the afternoon, it would seem to be worth a look.

Mets Walkoffs
I'm one of the guest prognosticators for some fun NLCS walk-off predictions on the Mets Walkoffs blog.

Have Fun Tonight
I won't beat you over the head with what I already talked about yesterday, but I would point out that the Mets are playing for the NL pennant for only the seventh time in their existence. This is something we've waited for and hoped for, and seemed an impossible dream as recently as two years ago. If you can't truly enjoy when what you've dreamed of has come to pass, then you need to take a step back. Don't buy into any of the joyless propaganda being put out by some in the press. We have a chance to go to the World Series, my friends, and that chance doesn't come around every day. Enjoy the ride.

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Comments (8)

The addition of Anderson Harnandez is really a move to free up the other hitting reserve infielders, primarily Woodward but also Franco I suppose.

There was an extreme example of the opposite approach back in the 1980's when the sadsack Cleveland Indians loaded up their bench with hitters. They discovered that they couldn't use those hitters; more correctly they couldn't pinch hit for a weak hitting second baseman or shortstop with a sixth outfielder because they hadn't left themselves with defensive options for the next half inning. Being in the American League there was no need to pinch hit for the pitchers, so they really didn't get that benefit from their bench either.

Of course the Mets are pretty unlikely to be pinch hitting for an infielder except possibly Valentin if a lefty comes into the game. But that might be just the circumstance they are preparing to meet.

True. I'd have still gone with the 3rd catcher, personally.

Hi Mike- I wonder if Willie is trying pull a Kirk Gibson ala 1988 with Cliff-Will he play? Won't he play?
This also reminds me of an of my favorite episodes of the TV Series Coach-their star quarterback was injured and sitting in a wheel chair on the sidelines the entire game, and in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter he was inserted into the game. Maybe they are trying to pull a Hayden Fox? Whatever I'm done speculating. I can't wait for tonight and I am just going to enjoy it as you said.

I know Iam showing my age but Cliff Floyd is like a Jim Brown of football, getting back to the huddel like a 1/2 dead puppy dog, after a pile up to stop him, and then bang he explodes out of the backfield again and again. Thats our Cliff.God bless him.

Shari - It's fun to speculate, and your guess is as good as mine. I'm hoping that he stays in one piece and hits a couple of dingers.
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Rev - Brown was only a little before my time, and I heard the stories. Hopefully Cliff explodes out of the backfield.

Game 2 tickets will be valid for Thursday and Game 1 tickets will be honored for Friday's game.

Game 2 tickets will be valid for Thursday and Game 1 tickets will be honored for Friday's game.

Thanks, Joe. I caught that news. Guess I'll see you tomorrow.

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