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10/19/06 2:50 AM ET

Mailbag: Wondering about Wagner

Bill Ladson answers fans' questions about the NLCS

NEW YORK-- A sampling of the e-mails sent in before and during Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Mets at Shea Stadium.

Why did the Mets' Willie Randolph put in Billy Wagner in the ninth inning during a non-save situation?
-- Sal R., New York

Wagner should have been in there. He hasn't pitched since Friday and he needed the work on the mound. I think this outing will help him for Thursday.

Why in the world does Wagner keep throwing sliders instead of his fastball, his money pitch?
-- Ana P.

That's something the FOX announcers brought up toward the end of the game on Wednesday. I think you have to show a hitter more than just a fastball -- mix things up.

Tony La Russa should put So Taguchi in the outfield, take Scott Rolen out and put Scott Spiezio in his place at third.
-- Chadd P., Springfield, Ill.

I don't think there is an easy answer here. Scott Rolen is still a great defensive third baseman. I also think La Russa has plenty of options in the outfield. Besides Taguchi and Spiezio, the Cardinals have Preston Wilson, Chris Duncan and Juan Encarnacion, all of whom are quality players. I don't have a problem with La Russa's lineups during the NLCS.

Why does La Russa continue to put an injured Rolen in the lineup when there's more than capable reserves on the bench?
-- Kevin D.

Although Rolen is not hitting, I think he is the best option at third because of his defense. He is still making the plays with the glove.

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.

My question goes back a few days because I have yet to find the answer. On Sunday night there was a low line drive hit to shortstop Jose Reyes. The ball went into his glove, but certainly didn't seem like it was in long enough to be a catch, and he dropped it. The runner that was on first retreated to the bag and the batter walked off the field. Everyone sitting around me at the game, myself included, were befuddled with the call. Could you explain the call please?
-- Andy H., St. Charles, Mo.

The umpire made the right call. It was a catch. Reyes held the ball in his glove too long. Reyes was trying to trick the runner and turn a double play. But nobody bought it.

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