10/20/06 2:13 AM ET
Suppan an easy choice for NLCS MVP
Cardinals pitcher comes up big in Games 3 and 7
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Miraculously, the group suddenly simmered down."Yadi, Yadi," Edmonds screamed, and his teammates began chanting the same in unison. "Supp, Supp," Edmonds continued, and the Cardinals began following the center fielder. Then the party continued.
|Cardinals right-hander Jeff Suppan dominated the Mets in the National League Championship Series, going 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA in two starts.|
|2006||Jeff Suppan||St. Louis||P|
|2004||Albert Pujols||St. Louis||1B|
|2002||Benito Santiago||San Francisco||C|
|2000||Mike Hampton||New York||P|
|1998||Sterling Hitchcock||San Diego||P|
|1990||Rob Dibble/Randy Myers||Cincinnati||P|
|1989||Will Clark||San Francisco||1B|
|1988||Orel Hershiser||Los Angeles||P|
|1987||Jeffrey Leonard||San Francisco||OF|
|1985||Ozzie Smith||St. Louis||SS|
|1984||Steve Garvey||San Diego||1B|
|1982||Darrell Porter||St. Louis||C|
|1981||Burt Hooton||Los Angeles||P|
|1978||Steve Garvey||Los Angeles||1B|
|1977||Dusty Baker||Los Angeles||OF|
"The Mets are definitely a tremendous team all the way around," Suppan said. "We got here because we focused on what we had to focus on, and we were able to persevere."The Mets certainly had their chances. They had runners on first and third with two out in the fourth when Suppan walked Delgado and hit Jose Valentin. But Endy Chavez popped out to center. And the game probably pivoted in the sixth, beginning with the catch Chavez made leaping over the left-field fence to steal a two-run homer from Scott Rolen. He then had the poise to fire the ball into the infield to double off Edmonds at first base, thus ending that portion of the inning. When the Mets came to bat, they loaded the bases, the key play coming after Delgado walked with one out: a two-base throwing error by Rolen on what appeared to be an easy roller to third. Rolen tossed the ball into the stands behind first base, automatically moving the runners to second and third, and then Suppan walked Shawn Green intentionally to load the bases. "Yeah, that was one of the real key turning points of the game because Supp kept his composure, made great pitches and got out of it," manager Tony La Russa said. "The game could have gotten away right there. You have a combination of Chavez's catch, they capitalize [on the Rolen error], and with their bullpen ... but it didn't happen." It didn't happen because Valentin struck out swinging and Chavez hit the first pitch again lazily to Edmonds in center field. "That's the game right there," said closer Adam Wainwright, who had the game in his hands, too, when he whiffed Beltran looking on three pitches to end it with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. "They had a ton of momentum going into that sixth inning. If Supp lets up a couple of runs, we probably lose that game." But he didn't, and they didn't. And now the Cardinals go back to the World Series again with a chance to win it all for the first time since 1982. Molina was the hero and Suppan was the MVP. And the chanting in the clubhouse -- "Yadi, Yadi, Supp, Supp" -- resonated long into the night.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.