The Carloses are a beautiful thing, aren’t they? ¡Nosotros Carlamos! We are them and they are us and we are all together…goo goo g’joob.
Yet they’re not Ollie and Ollie, saviors in arms.
Yeah, that’s who it figured to hinge on. All the series previews in print and on air had it exactly as it’s happened: Darren Oliver eating up innings in Game Three and Oliver Perez giving up solo homers in Game Four. Those were the keys to the pennant all along.
Nobody saw it coming, but that — without discounting any of the dozen delightful Met runs still crossing the plate — now defines why glee is outpointing glum in Metsopotamia. Oliver surrendered no earned runs in a loss. Perez absorbed five in a win. And somehow it’s all good.
Welcome to your narrative-free National League Championship Series. Forget that claptrap about momentum and the next day’s starting pitcher. The last night’s starting pitcher threw as pedestrian a 5 and two-thirds as you’re going to see and, in context, it was magnificent. The appeal of Perez was that he could go out and potentially blow hitters away. He didn’t. He didn’t have to. He pitched with the poise of a veteran who had been in the Majors for more than a dozen years.
Check that. He pitched better than Steve Trachsel.
I’ll admit my faith in Oliver Perez was well veiled — “folly” is what I believe I said it would be to count on him — but getting proven wrong is often the best part about being a nervous-nelly baseball fan. This isn’t about being right. This is about being happy. And we’re happy this morning. Twenty-four hours ago, we were blogging virtual suicide notes. Today we’re either seeding clouds over St. Louis (rest Glavine!) or spreading a tarp across Missouri (the bats…the bats…the bats are on fire!).
Whatever. There’s no legitimate pegging of this series. We have seen four contests, none of which has resembled the other three.
Game One? A taut pitching duel determined on a single swing.
Game Two? A seesaw slugfest.
Game Three? A suffocating shutout.
Game Four? A slambang beatdown by those that done been whitewashed the night before.
Game Five? I’unno.
So let ’em play tonight or let ’em wait. The Mets and the Cardinals have left few clues as to what comes next.