2006 NLCS Preview: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|St. Louis Cardinals (83-78, 1st in NL Central) +160 to win series vs. New York Mets (97-65, 1st in NL East), -180, best-of-seven National League Championship Series
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff
The New York Mets, fresh off a series sweep over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a National League Divisional Series, now take on the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Championship Series beginning Wednesday night in the Big Apple.
The Mets jumped out to a big lead in the NL East this season and cruised home, eventually winning the division by 12 games over the second-place Philadelphia Phillies. New York then swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in three games in an NLDS last week.
St. Louis stumbled its way through the regular season, and almost blew a seven-game lead in the NL Central over the last two weeks. But ultimately the Cardinals proved themselves to be the best team in a lousy division. Then, St. Louis suddenly woke up and won the first two games of their NLDS in San Diego, and eventually knocked the Padres out in four games.
The Mets have home-field advantage in this series thanks to the fact they finished 13 ½ games ahead of the Cardinals in the race for the best record in the NL.
New York also won the season series with St. Louis this year four games to two, with the over/under going 3-3. The Cardinals won two of three from the Mets in St. Louis in May, but New York later swept three games from the Cards in May at Shea Stadium. The Mets outscored St. Louis 35-27 in those six games, and the games averaged 10.3 runs.
New York went 50-31 at Shea Stadium this season and 47-34 on the road. St. Louis went 49-31 at home this season, but just 34-47 on the road.
The unpredictable Jeff Weaver (8-14, 5.76), who won Game 2 for the Cards vs. the Padres, will take the mound for St. Louis in the series opener Wednesday night. Weaver was terrible for the Angels this year (3-10, 6.29), and only slightly better after joining the Cardinals in mid-season (5-4, 5.18). But then Weaver held San Diego to 5 H+W and 0 ER in five innings last week. Overall, the Cardinals are 9-7 in Weavers starts, as is the O/U.
Weaver has made three starts vs. the Mets this year and last, allowing 15 ER and 23 H+W in 17 IP.
Seemingly ageless (but in reality, 40-year-old) Tom Glavine (15-7, 3.82) will hit the hill for the Mets on Wednesday. Glavine shut out the Dodgers on 6 H+W in six innings in Game 2 of the NLDS last week. New York is 25-8 in Glavines starts this season, the O/U 15-18.
Glavine has started twice against St. Louis this year and last, holding the Cardinals to 3 ER and 12 H+W in 13 IP.
Jeff Suppan (12-7, 4.12, 1.45 WHIP) is slated to go for St. Louis in Thursdays Game 2 against rookie John Maine (6-5, 3.60, 1.13 WHIP) for New York. Suppan gave up 3 ER and 9 H+W in just 4 1/3 IP in a Game 3 loss to San Diego last week, while Maine allowed 1 ER and 8 H+W in 4 1/3 IP in a Game 1 win over Los Angeles.
Defending NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter (15-8, 3.09, 1.07 WHIP) will start for the Cardinals in Saturdays Game 3 in St. Louis, while Steve Trachsel (15-8, 4.97, 1.60 WHIP) will go for the Mets. And the Cards will send Jason Marquis (14-16, 6.02, 1.52 WHIP) to the hill for Sundays Game 4 against Oliver Perez (1-3, 6.38, 1.58 WHIP) for New York.
Game 5, if needed, will be played Monday in St. Louis, and Games 6 and 7 would be played Wednesday and Thursday at Shea Stadium.
The Cardinals owned a .337 team OBP this year, 5th-best in the league, and averaged 4.9 RPG.
The Mets led the league in SBs with 146, ranked 8th with a .334 team OBP and averaged 5.1 RPG.
The St. Louis pen ranked 14th with a 4.06 ERA during the regular season, but held the Padres scoreless in 13 1/3 innings of work in the NLDS.
The New York pen ranked 2nd in MLB with its 3.28 ERA this season, but got clipped for 8 ER and 19 H+W in 13 1/3 IP in the NLDS vs. the Dodgers.
The O/U went 79-74 in Cardinals games during the regular season, and 37-41 at the new Busch Stadium. The O/U went 85-72 in Mets games this year, 37-43 at Shea.
Reports have New York OF Cliff Floyd missing the rest of the season with an Achilles injury. The Mets are already, of course, without starting pitchers Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez.
St. Louis is expected to have back 3B Scott Rolen, who missed Game 4 vs. San Diego with a shoulder injury. And the Cardinals are already without closer Jason Isringhausen for the remainder of the playoffs.
Before the playoffs started, St. Louis was posted at 4/1 to win the pennant and 12/1 to win the World Series. The Cardinals are now listed at around 5/1 to win the Series.
The Mets were listed at right around 6/5 to win the NL pennant and 5/1 to win the World Series going into their NLDS match with L.A. Now New York is the favorite to win the Series at 2/1.
The Ultimatecapper Pick: We love the Mets not only to win this series but to go all the way THROUGH the World Series without any problems.