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Notes: Trachsel, Perez to get starts

Notes: Trachsel, Perez to get starts

NEW YORK -- With zero fanfare, the Mets announced that Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez will, in fact, start Games 3 and 4 of the National League Division Series. The "announcement" came on the bottom of a sheet of postgame media notes, as if it was something of an afterthought or a given, even though Perez probably wouldn't have been on the postseason roster if Orlando Hernandez hadn't torn a muscle in his calf on Tuesday.

When manager Willie Randolph first listed his contingency starters for Game 1, he didn't name Perez or Trachsel ostensibly because Perez pitched on Sunday in Washington in the final regular-season game, and Trachsel missed his last start -- he returned to San Diego for personal reasons.

It wasn't until two hours before Game 1 on Wednesday that Randolph said Perez would be part of the postseason rotation. At the time, he was unsure which games Perez and Trachsel would start. But now, Trachsel, the Mets' leading winner this season, and Perez, the erratic 25-year-old left-hander the Mets acquired from the Pirates on July 31, are to start in sequence. Randolph already had acknowledged first-game starter John Maine will start Game 5, if there is one. Perez and Trachsel would each be making his postseason debut.

When Perez remained part of the Mets' rotation into the final weeks of the regular season, teammates assumed the club was weighing the high-risk, high-reward possibilities of having him make a postseason start. Several players said they would have been upset if Perez had been chosen over Trachsel, the active player with the longest Mets tenure who, until Sunday, was the only member of the rotation not to miss a start.

But the injuries to El Duque and Pedro Martinez created a void. And now Trachsel (15-8) and Perez (3-13) fill it.

Déjà vu all over again: The remarkable two-outs-on-one-relay double play the Mets executed in the second inning on Wednesday reminded some observers of another Yankees episode, one from Aug. 2, 1985, when the Yankees ran into two outs as the Dodgers did.

It was the seventh inning of what became a 6-5 White Sox victory at Yankee Stadium. Pinch-runner Bobby Meacham was on second base and Dale Berra was on first when Rickey Henderson delivered a base hit to the warning track in left-center field.

Meacham slipped getting his jump from second base, and a relay from center fielder Luis Salazar to shortstop Ozzie Guillen to catcher Carlton Fisk caught Meacham (now a third-base coach, incidentally) at the plate. Berra ran through the stop sign of third-base coach Gene Michael, nearly stumbled rounding third, and was tagged out an instant later while manager Billy Martin stewed in the Yankees dugout.

Bryan Little, the younger brother of Dodgers skipper Grady Little, happened to be the starting second baseman for the White Sox in that game.

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Long-time baseball watcher and author Roger Angell recalled another similar episode from 1933 in which Lou Gehrig and Dixie Walker were out at the plate on one throw. Washington Senators catcher Luke Sewell tagged both, Angell recalled, with one swipe.

Everybody loves the Mets: In the stands in their orange and blue attire were Ray Romano, Tim Robbins and John McEnroe. Also spotted was Ron Howard, though he's been known to don Dodger blue.

In owner Fred Wilpon's box: his former high-school classmate, Sandy Koufax.

In the dugout: Martinez and Hernandez.

Little notice: Randolph said he never told John Maine he was starting on Wednesday. But he realized Maine knew when he arrived at the park.

Compare that with how Yankees right-hander Johnny Kucks learned he was starting Game 7 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Manager Casey Stengel left the ball in Kucks' glove. Kucks, in his second season in the big leagues, pitched a three-hit shutout.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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