Inside Pitch: Just in case, Duque preparing

Orlando Hernandez's torn right calf is responding.

The Mets hope Orlando Hernandez can be activated for the World Series. Of course, there's the little matter of getting that far, which became a lot more problematic when they lost Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night.

Hernandez, who has missed the postseason because of a tear in his right calf, threw 70 pitches Sunday in an extensive bullpen session and reported no after effects.

"I feel good. I will be ready," he said.

If Hernandez were to be activated, manager Willie Randolph said he'd ideally like to push him back to help his recovery, but he might not have that choice.

Because Monday's rainout pushed Tom Glavine back a day, if he started Game 1 of the World Series it would be on short rest.

Wednesday's starter, John Maine, and the Game 7 starter -- either Oliver Perez on short rest, Darren Oliver or Steve Trachsel -- would not be available.

That would leave the Mets' three options: Hernandez or the two Game 7 options not used.

REPLAY: The Mets' plan in Game 5 of the NLCS on Tuesday night was to run up Jeff Weaver's pitch count early, get into the St. Louis bullpen and give Tom Glavine a lead with which to work.

But the Mets squandered opportunities in the first and second innings, took a 2-0 lead in the fourth, then gave that away in losing 4-2 to the Cardinals in Game 5.

St. Louis leads the series 3-2, and John Maine will try to save the Mets' season as he starts Wednesday night against the Cardinals' Cy Young Award candidate, Chris Carpenter.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • RHP Orlando Hernandez's torn right calf has responded to treatment, and the Mets are hopeful he could be activated should they advance to the World Series. GM Omar Minaya said he wouldn't discount Hernandez coming back. Hernandez threw 70 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday and said he believed he would be ready for the World Series.

  • Mets manager Willie Randolph has three options in a possible Game 7: RHP Steve Trachsel or LHPs Darren Oliver or Oliver Perez. Trachsel lasted one inning in his Game 3 start and left with a bruised right thigh. Oliver replaced him in that game and pitched six scoreless innings. Should it be Game 4 starter Perez, he would be working on short rest.

  • LF Cliff Floyd continues to sit after he re-injured his strained left Achilles tendon in the second inning of Game 1. "He's supposed to come to me with a thumbs up," manager Willie Randolph said. "When he does that, that's when he'll play." Floyd did appear in Game 5 as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning and grounded out.

  • The Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants are interested in interviewing Mets third base coach Manny Acta for their vacant managerial positions. "It's a no-lose situation for me," Acta said. "If I don't get the job I still have a job here with a team that figures to be good for many years to come."

  • 3B David Wright doubled in the eighth inning but also struck out with two runners on in the first and went 1-for-4, leaving his NLCS average at .118 (2-for-17).

    BY THE NUMBERS: 80 -- Number of pitches LHP Tom Glavine threw in four-plus innings, an unusually high number for him. In his Game 1 start, he threw 89 pitches in seven innings.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "He had the one tough inning, obviously, in the fourth, but other than that I thought Tommy pitched pretty well." -- Manager Willie Randolph, assessing the performance of LHP Tom Glavine in Game 5.

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