ST. LOUIS -- The electronic message board where the St. Louis Cardinals lineup is posted left no room for debate: Clubhouse Closed. Coaches Included.
The mandatory breather came Monday before the NL Central-leading Pirates, the team that used to be pursuing the Cardinals, comes to town. Manager Mike Matheny said before they get back to business, players need to get away.
"These guys, they're tired, no question about it. They deserve a half-day today, and a full day tomorrow," Matheny said Sunday. "We're locking the clubhouse doors just in case anybody has a stupid idea."
Adam Wainwright, who in recent starts has lacked the put-away pitch that makes him the staff ace, got a similar message. He has steadfastly maintained fatigue is not an issue, has worked at least seven innings his last four outings and is among the league leaders in most categories, but figures to be fresh after three extra days rest entering the series opener Tuesday night.
Wainwright (13-7, 2.66) was the first...