One of the game's celebrated big-game pitchers, Hernandez is 9-3 in 19 postseason games, 14 as a starter.Offensive slumber: The Mets entered Game 4 having gone 12 2/3 innings since scoring their last run on Paul Lo Duca's RBI double in the sixth inning of Game 2, staking his team to a 6-4 lead that evaporated in a 9-6 loss. The Mets, through three games, were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position, with homers accounting for six of their eight runs in the series. Carlos Delgado's three-run blast and Jose Reyes' RBI single -- in the first and second innings, respectively, of Game 2 -- were the only New York hits with runners in scoring position. In the regular season, the Mets batted .274 with runners in scoring position.
The Cardinals' pitching staff has done a remarkable job of shutting down postseason offenses in key situations. The Padres were 2-for-32 in the NLDS with runners in scoring position, meaning clubs are 4-for-49 -- a .082 average -- against St. Louis pitching with men on second and third."I still feel like, overall, the guys are swinging the bats pretty good for the most part," Randolph said, in spite of the club's .196 batting average through three games. "Things can change pretty quick. Our guys come to play every day, and we'll find some holes [Sunday night]." Waiting on Floyd: Randolph said it's up to Cliff Floyd to make the decision that he's comfortable enough on his ailing left Achilles tendon -- and the sensitive area running from the ankle to the calf -- to return to left field. Floyd said he continues to improve, "and I'd really like to get out there [for Game 5]." "That's totally up to him," Randolph said. "I can't tell what he's feeling or how he feels. I think he's feeling a little bit better [Sunday]. But it's up to him. "When he comes in and gives me a thumbs up, I'll put him in the lineup after conversing with him on how he feels. Basically, it's what he feels as far as comfort and what he can deal with when he's on the field." Oliver starting candidate: Delighted with Darren Oliver's six scoreless innings of long relief in Game 3 behind Steve Trachsel, Randolph indicated that the veteran lefty would merit serious consideration if the series goes the distance. "Darren has spot-started for us, and that's a possibility," Randolph said. "Obviously, [let's] wait until we get to that point. Yeah, he's done great things for us this year. I love his versatility. We'll wait and see on that." Randolph had nothing new to report on the right thigh injury sustained by Trachsel on a line drive by Preston Wilson in the second inning of Game 2. Strawberry shake: At the request of a Mets official, Darryl Strawberry showed up for Game 4, recalling past exploits at the old Busch Stadium while wistfully mentioning all the smaller ballparks that have surfaced since he departed. "That ball I hit off the clock in the old park," Strawberry said, gazing out toward the scoreboard in the cozier new Busch, "I wonder where that one would have landed here. Man, I wish I could have hit in some of these new bandboxes." Strawberry said he'd try to pass along some encouragement to Mets hitters, "tell them to drop that bat head and let it fly."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less