10/06/06 1:16 AM ET
Mailbag: Are Mets playoff underdogs?
Jim Street answers fans' questions after NLDS Game 2
By Jim Street / MLB.com
-- Adam, Queensbury, N.Y. Green's numbers against the Dodgers are outstanding all right, but in the bigger picture, Chavez hit left-handed pitchers better than Green. Chavez was 26-for-78 (.333) against lefties during the regular season, while Green was 44-for-165 (.267). Chavez also gives the Mets more speed on the bases, stealing 12 bases compared to four by Green. Therefore, with the Dodgers starting lefty Hong-Chih Kuo, Randolph decided that Chavez, who batted .306 overall this season, was the right guy for right field. Chavez proved that it was a good move as he went 2-for-4 and scored the first run of the game. After the first pitch of the game, why did Dodgers manager Grady Little appear to question the lineup with the plate umpire?
-- Ron, Ramona, Calif.
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I was wondering the same thing. Whenever that happens so early in the game, it almost always has something to do with a lineup discrepancy. After the game, Little explained, saying, "I guess it was a bookkeeping error from the other side, because the lineup card that we got was not the exact one the umpire had, the official one. I guess they had a late scratch from their lineup or something, but it was nothing major. That's what happens when you start using these computers to do these lineup cards." The lineup the Dodgers received had Green playing right field, but the "official" lineup had Chavez out there. Because the umpire had the correct lineup, Little walked back to the visiting dugout and the game continued.With Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez out of the Division Series because of injuries, do the Mets have less pressure on them? They might consider themselves underdogs instead of favorites and therefore are playing looser than the Dodgers.
-- Mike, Temecula, Calif. Well, Mike, you could be right on the money. In the 1972 World Series, the Oakland Athletics didn't have Reggie Jackson available because he was injured in the final game of the American League Championship Series, and they still beat the Cincinnati Reds. Good teams have a way of overcoming adversity, and the Mets certainly should be used to it by now. They have been extremely resilient all season, and the postseason apparently will be the same.
Do you think Grady Little will play someone other than Kenny Lofton in center field in Game 3?
-- Alex, Los Angeles
-- Bill, Ventura, Calif. My guess is that Little would play James Loney at first base. The rookie is a left-handed hitter who tied a club record with nine RBIs in a game against the Rockies on Sept. 28. He led the Pacific Coast League in batting this season with a .380 average and hit .284 in 48 games with the Dodgers. This is a much bigger stage, however, and expecting him to lead the offense could be asking too much. Even so, a hobbling Garciaparra might be a worse alternative.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.