(BaseballStL) – Without having to play a fifth game in the NLDS, the Cardinals had three days off to rest before beginning the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.
After a 162 game season, wear and tear starts to become evident and the Cardinals bullpen has been hit by some fatigue as Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal have struggled with effectiveness.
“We were in pretty good shape, but I think at this point in the season, any little bit of rest is going to be an advantage for us,” said manager Mike Matheny, “And the guys are coming in and getting their work, so they’re staying sharp, but the rest will help heal up the things that are nagging guys, because everybody has something.”
But Sunday’s starter Lance Lynn argued that this time of year and the size of the stage help to deal with the fatigue; if not physically, psychologically.
“You feel good. It’s October,” Lynn continued, “You’re excited. You’re going to feel good no matter what.”
Not having to start Game 5, Adam Wainwright also needed the extra rest after feeling soreness in the back of his elbow.
“You know what, it’s October,” he said, “Every team is dealing with their individual stuff. The problem that I have is being way overblown.”
Wainwright, who prides himself on being a capable batter, will face Madison Bumgarner who isn’t a slouch at the plate either. Bumgarner hit four homers and recorded 15 RBI over the regular season.
"I have seen him, faced him, I know he's prolific at the plate and can hit a home run as far as anybody I have seen," Wainwright said. "He's a big, strong fellow, so I will respect him."
Wong gets the start against left-handed Bumgarner
Mike Matheny made the decision to keep all four left-handed batters in his line-up Saturday against Madison Bumgarner, including Kolten Wong.
“As you look over his numbers for the season, he’s done a nice job against left-handers,” Matheny added, “and we’ve seen periods of time where it looked a little off, and I think that often is related to the fact that they’re not seeing a lot of left-handed pitching.”
But that has changed in the postseason as the Redbirds have faced lefties in three of their four games played and will add a fifth in Bumgarner.
“When they get to see some consistent left-handed at-bats, seems like the effectiveness goes up,” Matheny said, “Kolten in his short history here as a professional player had not had that much trouble with a left-handed pitcher, so it’s a matter of getting him reps.”
Wong was on the bench in Game 1 of the NLDS, but was in the line-up against Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw in Games 3 and 4.
Matt Carpenter 3B
Randal Grichuk RF
Matt Holliday LF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
Jon Jay CF
Kolten Wong 2B
Adam Wainwright RHP
Gregor Blanco CF
Joe Panik 2B
Buster Poser C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Brandon Crawford SS
Travis Ishikawa LF