They always talk about tough love, that it's the only way they will learn. I took a chance on Endy shirt and it paid immediate dividence in Game 4. I thought, "He's back! Endy shirt is back!". What a fool I was. It's back to the hamper with Endy shirt, who is now 1-2 in the LCS after going 3-0 in the LDS and 2-0 to close out the season. On a more serious note, the Mets have their proverbial nuts in a vise after dropping Game 5 to the Cardinals.
If you're an optimist, you would say the Mets took back home field advantage with their victory in St. Louis in Game 4 and that their two losses on the road were to be expected. You would say that, despite the fact that the Mets are down three games to two in this best of seven series, they bring their home field advantage back to Shea beginning on Wednesday night and all they have to do is win their home games and they're off to the World Series.
If you're more of a pessimist, you would say that the Mets lost a tough Game 5 with their best pitcher and now have to play two must-win games at home, one of which is against the Cardinals' ace Chris Carpenter and both of which would be pitched with unknown quantities on the mound. Add to that the fact that the Mets' bats have gone cold and that they four relievers to finish off the Game 5 loss and you might say that the odds of the Mets winning two games in the next two nights are mighty long.
As is usually the case, reality lies somewhere in between. Chances are pretty good that the Cardinals will win one game before the Mets can win two especially with their best pitcher going in Game 6 and the would-be Mets' pitcher for Game 7 still to be determined. Stranger things have certainly happened. For instance, a couple of years ago some team took a 3-0 lead in the LCS only to lose the next four games to some other team in what can only be described as the worst postseason collapse in baseball history. I don't remember all of the specifics but it definitely happened. That team won four games in a row; the Mets would only have to win two.
I guess what burns most right now is that things were going so well up until the seventh inning of Game 2 and, aside from an offensive outburst in Game 4, the Mets have collectively played pretty poorly for much of the past four plus games. It's hard to say how much credit goes to the Cardinals' pitching staff and how much blame to assign to the Mets' mostly-impotent offense; probably a little bit of both. The Mets won their first four playoff games this season with relative ease but it's been a major struggle since then.
Everyone who said the Mets would win this series in six games was wrong. If the Mets are going to win this series they'll have to do it in seven games, but they're going to have to win that sixth game first. They're going to need to take advantage of situations with runners in scoring position, and they're going to have to get some production -- any production -- out of David Wright, who is swinging the bat like an eighth place hitter and not the way Carlos Delgado's insurance policy should be swinging. He battled through a terrible second half slump and actually hit pretty well towards the end of the season, and he seemed to carry that into the LDS with the Dodgers. Whatever he found late in the season he has lost entirely, because he is no longer going the other way, he is opening up way too soon (as Tim McCarver pointed out), and it's a complete mystery why Delgado continues to get pitches to hit with Wright hitting so poorly batting behind him.
As bad as it feels to be down 3-2, you know Willie Randolph isn't going to let this team go overboard, if they would even do so given the Veteran Presence™ on the Mets. Say what you will (and I have) about Randolph's tactical in-game management, he knows what playing in the postseason is all about and he knows how to handle his players. The Mets are going to come out on Thursday night and give it everything they've got. John Maine will have to come out and pitch a whale of a ballgame and the Mets need to take the confidence they showed in Game 2 against Chris Carpenter and ratchet it up a notch, hopefully this time with better results. There's no tomorrow, as they say, so the Mets can have a singular focus for Game 6 and go out there and try to win one game.