Mets beat up on Cards' pen 

October, 16, 2006
Everyone expected a slugfest in the fourth game of this NLCS, due to the starting pitchers involved. And with seven homers and 17 runs, the Mets and Cardinals didn't disappoint, although the real culprits behind the explosion of runs were the Cardinals' middle relievers.

Anthony Reyes tried to get through the Mets' lineup with just his fastball and changeup, but he doesn't have the command to pull that off. His changeup was effective early, but it looked like he overused it the first time through the lineup, with Met hitters looking for it more the second time through. Reyes was lucky to escape with just two runs scored against him, as he walked four but none of them scored. It took him 86 pitches to get through four innings, due to the Mets' hitters finally taking an occasional pitch outside of the strike zone, and Reyes forced Tony La Russa to go to his bullpen early.

Even if we acknowledge that the first pitching change was out of La Russa's hands, the way he went to his bullpen was questionable. He went to Brad Thompson, his best long man, with the game tied after four. Thompson faced five batters, retired one, and gave up Carlos Delgado's three-run bomb to put the Cardinals behind. At that point, La Russa decided to play matchup baseball, bringing in lefty Randy Flores after Delgado and Shawn Green had already batted in the inning. If La Russa was willing to use Flores, he should have either started the inning or at least come in to face Delgado.