Randolph: Do-or-die time for Mets

NEW YORK – Jeff Suppan has the ball Thursday for St. Louis, if necessary. The Mets' Game 7 starter goes by the initials T.B.A., not that his identity matters much now.

Without a victory Tuesday, the Mets won't live to see another day, so expect to see manager Willie Randolph pull out all the stops in Tuesday's National League Championship Series contest.

"We're going to see how things play out today," Randolph said. "Everyone is just about available, except maybe (Game 5 starter) Tom Glavine. We'll see what happens."

Randolph said that, should rookie John Maine falter early in his start against St. Louis, he would tend to lean toward using Darren Oliver in long relief.

A quick hook for Maine, who has pitched 8 1/3 innings in two postseason starts, would obviously preclude from Oliver making a Game 7 start – or even potentially appearing in the game.

But Oliver has been by far the Mets' most reliable long man, particularly evidenced by his six shutout innings of relief in Game 3 against the Cardinals after Steve Trachsel left due to injury.

In that event, Oliver Perez would be the odds-on favorite to make a start, with Trachsel's right hip and -- some say -- personal standing with Randolph a huge question mark.

Beyond that, all players figure to be available for duty in Game 6, a do-or-die game for New York. Randolph said he would go with the same lineup from Game 5, with Cliff Floyd's Achilles still leaving him ready for only pinch-hitting duties.

"We have to win the game," Randolph said. "If we don't win the game, we won't be thinking about tomorrow."

Meanwhile, though, Randolph tried to put a positive spin on what certainly appears to be a glass-half-empty equation.

He joked that he would not deliver any sort of special message to his players before Wednesday's game, except saying that they might discuss their travel plans for Friday – flights that would take them to Detroit, Randolph certainly intended to imply.

"It's not over yet," Randolph said. "We're still playing. We're playing tonight. We have to win tonight and we win tomorrow, we're going away."

REDEMPTION?: Shawn Green has had a couple of close calls in this NLCS, and some could speculate it was Scott Spiezio's two-run triple in Game 2 -- which bounced off the top of Green's glove -- that changed the Mets' momentum from early favorites to potential losers.

Green had another "coulda, woulda" moment in Game 5 Tuesday in St. Louis, flying out to center field with runners at second and third and one out in the eighth inning. A few feet shorter and Jim Edmonds might not have been able to snag the pop fly, pinning what could have been New York's third run at third base.

"Obviously, you want things to go the right way," Green said. "For me, I'll think about those plays and I'm hoping that when those things happen, I'll get another opportunity to make a series-changing play incident in the positive way. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity and I'll do my best."

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