NLCS Game 7 Update: It's Oliver, alright -- but it's Oliver Perez, not Darren Oliver. Perez, who pitched decently in game 4, will be pitching on three days rest. Maybe that will help him, but his history doesn't inspire confidence. Perez has 111 career starts, and only one on short rest. In that game, in September 2005, Perez allowed five runs and five walks in two and two-thirds innings.
So, why is Perez starting? Mets' manager Willie Randolph says he 'likes him.' Randolph would like to keep Oliver in his regular role as a reliever. But you can expect Randolph to have a quick hook, as he cannot afford to allow the Cards to grab any kind of a lead off Perez. The Cards' starter, Jeff Suppan held the Mets to three hits over eight innings and shut out the Mets in Game 3. The Mets can't expect to score a bunch of runs in their return match, so Randolph will have to manage as if it's the last game of the season, becaue it very well could be.
The Getting Ahead of Ourselves Department: I hate to jinx these things, but I want to report one little tidbit for any of my faithful readers that haven't heard this bit of news. If the Mets do make the World Series, their likely starter will be Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. Not that the Mets really have any other options. They no longer have any confidence in Steve Trachsel, and the other starters in the NLCS would not be ready to turn around and start on Saturday. That means it would be either rookie Dave Williams or El Duque, neither of whom are on the active roster for the NLCS. The Mets may be leery of starting another pitcher with calf problems, after the troubles that Pedro Martinez suffered through when he tried to pitch through calf injuries. But, they will probably choose to roll the dice on El Duque, rather than the untested, late-season call-up, Williams.
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's a Game 7 to enjoy.