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10/16/06 1:36 AM ET

Mailbag: Why not walk Delgado?

Bill Ladson answers fans' questions about the NLCS

ST. LOUIS -- A sampling of the e-mails sent in before and during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Mets at Busch Stadium:

Why haven't the Cards walked Carlos Delgado intentionally in this series? I think he is one of the stronger hitters on the Mets team. I also think that he is a lot like Albert Pujols, because he hits a lot of home runs.
-- Megan P.

Delgado does have a lot of power, but he doesn't have the consistency that Pujols has. Pujols is a .331 hitter, while Delgado is a .265 hitter this season. Delgado is more prone to slumps, compared to Pujols. So I don't blame manager Tony La Russa for not intentionally walking Delgado in the series so far.

Because of his history against the Cardinals, I would intentionally walk Carlos Beltran before thinking about doing the same to Delgado.

Given his great relief performance in Game 3, do you think Darren Oliver will get a chance to start later in this NLCS?
-- David B.

If Steve Trachsel is not ready to go, there is a good chance Oliver will get a start for the Mets in Game 7 of the NLCS. Manager Willie Randolph has already said he is considering putting Oliver in the rotation. Oliver did an outstanding job in relief on Saturday, pitching six shutout innings against the Cardinals.

Will Pujols win the National League MVP award?
-- Bradley C.

He is one of the leading candidates, but don't forget that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard also had a great season. He led the league in home runs and RBIs.

Why did Oliver Perez get so many starts this year? Isn't his ERA indicative of a need to head back to Triple-A? And why do we have to live through this lousy pitching matchup?
-- Joseph K.

It's hard to find good pitching these days, but I think Randolph made a good decision by starting Perez. In his last 10 games during the regular season, Perez pitched well. He had a 3.93 ERA ... and he had a pretty good outing in Game 4.

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If the Mets make it to the World Series, would Cliff Floyd be the designated hitter?
-- Ryan S.

He would likely be a DH if he is healthy enough. He is still having left Achilles tendon problems, so there is no guarantee he would make the World Series roster.

Why does Ronnie Belliard have to stick his tongue out so much? I think it's gross.
-- Edna M.

There's nothing wrong with it. It reminds me of how Michael Jordan had his tongue wagging every time he would run up and down the basketball court.

Be a part of the NLCS Mailbag
Who's going to win this series? Who's the best player? Why'd the manager make that move? If game stories and features aren't enough for you and you want more, e-mail MLB.com's Bill Ladson at bill.ladson@mlb.com. After the game, before it, even while the action is going on. Send in your question (make sure the subject line contains NLCS Mailbag), and Ladson will answer selected queries in a regular postgame mailbag right here on MLB.com.

Why hasn't La Russa started Aaron Miles over Belliard in at least one game so far this postseason? Belliard hasn't been much of an effective hitter this postseason, let alone his two blunders in the field.
-- Zach H.

Belliard is the right guy. He was playing great defense at second base until Sunday. Don't give up on him so quickly. I'm sure he will be back in the lineup and give a better performance.

With the series now guaranteed to go back to New York, do you think the Mets are in a must-win situation going into Game 5?

There is no question about it. Their starting pitching has to step up. It's great that Tom Glavine is pitching Game 5, but they need John Maine and Trachsel to do better in their next outings.

How do the players not on the Mets' 25 man roster stay in baseball shape, in case they are put on the World Series roster?
-- Ron

They always do their exercises, such as weight lifting. A person such as Lastings Milledge, for example, most likely will hit in the batting cage and shag fly balls in the outfield before the NLCS games.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.