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10/20/06 3:10 AM ET

Mailbag: Perez right choice for Game 7?

Bill Ladson answers fans' questions about the NLCS

NEW YORK -- A sampling of the e-mails sent in before and during Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Mets at Shea Stadium:

I am very curious about the Mets putting Oliver Perez on the mound in Game 7. The Cardinals hit him well in Game 4. The broadcasters have been saying that Darren Oliver could've been a potential starter in the game. With Oliver's six scoreless innings the other night, why are they putting a high risk of losing the game by playing Perez? I may just be a 12-year-old, but many people are saying that the Mets are making a risky decision.
-- Chris L.

The bottom line is that Perez won Game 4 and that was huge, so I thought he deserved to start, with Oliver able to pitch in long relief if Perez faltered.

What Mets manager Willie Randolph did reminded me of what Yankees manager Billy Martin did in the Game 5 of the 1977 ALCS, when he benched Reggie Jackson for Paul Blair, who didn't have the prestige of Mr. October. Blair came through and helped the Yankees start a rally in the ninth inning and win the American League pennant.

Are you seeing anything wrong with Mets closer Billy Wagner? Should we be concerned?
-- Michael W.

The game was tied, and Wagner would have been needed if a save situation arose, so Randolph made the right call. Aaron Heilman had a great season and there was no need for Randolph to change course.

So Taguchi is 4-for-4 with two home runs four RBIs in a reserve role. I guess that is not good enough for So to get a start in left field? Look at the other left fielders' stats. Is it because Perez, a lefty, started Game 7?
-- Bill C.

I'm not going to question any moves Cards manager Tony La Russa makes. He is one of the best managers in the history of the game, and I think La Russa was at his best during this postseason. To me, he played the right players.

Why didn't Randolph use Wagner in the ninth inning on Thursday?
-- Laurent J.

The game was tied, and Wagner would be needed if a save situation arose, so Randolph made the right call. Aaron Heilman had a great season and there was no need for Randolph to change course.

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It would have been a storybook ending if Cliff Floyd had hit one out to win Game 7. But wasn't the right play to bunt the runners over and go for the two chances to tie the game with a single?
-- Ed R.

It seemed like Randolph was going for the home run. One wonders why he didn't pinch-hit Julio Franco in that situation to move the runners over.

While the Cards are the underdogs in the World Series, don't you think with the great hitters in their lineup and the potential of Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver to pitch like they did in the NLCS, they still stand a good chance to win it all?
-- Nathan V.

I think the Cardinals have a great shot at winning the World Series because of their starting pitching. It could be too much for the Tigers.

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