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10/15/06 2:07 AM ET

Mailbag: Why start Perez in Game 4?

Bill Ladson answers fans' questions about the NLCS

ST. LOUIS -- A sampling of the e-mails sent in before and during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Mets at Busch Stadium:

I think Dave Williams would be the more reliable starting pitcher in Game 4 over Oliver Perez. What are the reasons Williams is not slated to pitch for the Mets?
-- David B.

First of all, Williams is not on the NLCS roster. Secondly, both pitchers were not good during the regular season, but if one looks at recent numbers, Perez is the better choice. In his last 10 games, he has a 3.93 ERA, while Williams has a 4.78 ERA. In other words, it makes sense to start Perez in Game 4.

I was just wondering why Cards manager Tony La Russa doesn't play Scott Spiezio in left field and Scott Rolen at third? I think this is the best lineup because Spiezio has great numbers in the postseason and he can do better than Chris Duncan and Preston Wilson.
-- Rafael V.

Your wish was answered in Game 3, except that Juan Encarnacion was the one that sat, while Wilson started in right field. Spiezio showed once again that he is a clutch player, delivering a two-run triple in the first inning off Steve Trachsel.

With Mets relievers throwing a lot of pitches, how does Willie Randolph approach these next three games when it comes to the starters?
-- Albert K.

This is not the regular season, where one could say that Trachsel and Perez need to take one for the team in order to rest the bullpen. Randolph has little choice but to use his bullpen once trouble arises.

Why didn't the Mets put Mike DiFelice on the NLCS roster?
-- Ryan S.

There was talk of putting DiFelice on the roster if Cliff Floyd couldn't play, but Floyd was included. Catcher Ramon Castro is on the roster and he has done a good job for the Mets when he's been healthy.

Which National League team do you feel will advance to the World Series? What are their chances of winning it all? And in how many games?
-- Big Joe

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I like the Cardinals, because I think they have a better pitching staff. I think the Mets have to outslug the Cards to win, and I don't think that's going to happen.

However, I like the Tigers to win the World Series in seven games. I think Detroit has the best pitching in the Majors. Also, the Tigers' offense is very balanced. They do not rely on the long ball, and I consider them an NL-type team.

If the NLCS goes to a Game 7, do you think the Mets will start Trachsel after he left early in Saturday's game?
-- Andy L.

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.

If Trachsel is OK, I have to believe that Randolph will use the right-hander in Game 7. Then again, veteran southpaw Darren Oliver earned a chance to start after his great relief performance on Saturday.

Why not start Chris Duncan or John Rodriquez instead of a right-handed-hitting Preston Wilson against the right-hander Trachsel?
-- Jack C.

I like La Russa's decision to start Wilson. The journeyman outfielder is a different player than he was when he was playing for the Nationals. I'm seeing a player who is looking good defensively. Besides, he gave the Cardinals a spark with the bat on Saturday as well.

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