It's not the be-all and end-all, but in my opiniion, if Mets starter Oliver Perez steps to the plate with a bat in his hand in tonight's game, the Mets probably win. If not, the Cardinals probably win.
Given how ineffective Perez has been this year, the fact that he's pitching on short rest, the Mets probably only want to get through three or so innings anyway. So if he bats, it means:
- It's the first or second inning, which means the Mets have had at least three base runners against Suppan in the first two innings, or
- Perez is mowing down the Cardinals hitters in the first three innings such that Randolph doesn't feel moved to pinch-hit for him in the third.
Either way, it's bad news for the Cardinals, whose greatest advantage in this game is the starting pitching match-up.
If I see Perez in the batter's box, it will mean the Cardinals have failed to capitalize on that advantage.
And then things don't look so good...