New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Game 1: Dodgers (Derek Lowe, 16-8, 3.63) at Mets (Orlando Hernandez, 11-11, 4.66), 4 p.m. tomorrow (ESPN).

Game 2: Dodgers (Hong-Chih Kuo, 1-5, 4.22) at Mets (Tom Glavine, 15-7, 3.82), 8 p.m. Thursday (WTTG-5).

Game 3: Mets (TBA) at Dodgers (Greg Maddux, 15-14, 4.20), Saturday, TBA.

Game 4*: Mets at Dodgers, Sunday, TBA.

Game 5*: Dodgers at Mets, Monday, TBA.

All eyes will be on the Mets' rotation. With Pedro Martinez out, this is a shaky bunch that comprises aging former stars (Orlando Hernandez, Tom Glavine , left), an unproven youngster (John Maine) and a classic fifth starter (Steve Trachsel).

All eyes should be on Dodgers LHP Hong-Chih Kuo , right. Los Angeles tabbed him for the Game 2 start (ahead of Greg Maddux) because he shut out the Mets for six innings at Shea Stadium on Sept. 8, and because the Mets hit only .254 vs. lefties this year.

Key stat: October experience abounds -- the Mets' Hernandez and Glavine, and the Dodgers' Derek Lowe and Maddux have combined to make 99 postseason appearances, including 81 starts.

Prediction: Mets in five.

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