10/13/06 2:09 AM ET
Cards deal an ace in Game 2
With Carpenter moved up, St. Louis aims to even NLCS
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
The Mets' Cliff Floyd experiment lasted one at-bat. Floyd irritated his left Achilles tendon vainly running on a foul drive in the second inning, and was replaced in left field the next half-inning by Endy Chavez.Chavez's expected presence in Friday night's starting lineup would abet Carpenter's task. Floyd himself is only 1-for-6, but the hit was a three-run homer. "I've come too far to shut it down now," Floyd said. "It's just an unfortunate situation. I'll come in and see the doctor [Friday], and we'll take it from there. "If I can do it, I will do it." As if Carpenter needed any more edges: the Mets' seven other starters will carry a collective .175 lifetime mark against him into the reunion. Interestingly, however, Carpenter holds only one career win over the Mets, a 5-0 shutout the last time he faced them, on Sept. 8, 2005. While they embraced the Game 1 victory as particularly important with Carpenter looming, the Mets were hardly in a conceding mood. "If we hadn't won [Thursday], it wouldn't have meant the series was over," David Wright said. "And you can't say the series will be tied just because Chris Carpenter is pitching." "But it did mean a lot. Maybe not as much as in a five-game series, but you always want to win the first game," said New York catcher Paul Lo Duca. "Especially with Carpenter going in Game 2 ... although we'd have to face him at some point, anyway." Tenacious pitching continued to provide the Mets' offense with considerable slack. The most surprising aspect of their four-game postseason winning streak is that it has come without the usual ignition. After his 0-for-4 Thursday night, Jose Reyes is 2-for-16; he has scored two runs and swiped one base. Reyes' silence can't continue if the Mets' undefeated postseason is to go on. They are heartened by a historical NLCS trend: 12 of the last 13 Game 1 winners have landed in the World Series. But they are cautioned to know that the lone exception was the 2005 Cardinals, who fell short despite a Game 1 victory over Houston and thus know that the first game need not be decisive.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.