Found October 08, 2013 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
Tony La Russa
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Angels
ST. LOUIS -- Heading into Game 5 of their NL division series against Pittsburgh, the Cardinals can take comfort in this: They're 7-1 the last three years when facing postseason elimination.
Manager Mike Matheny said poise comes from a mind-set of sticking to routine that is established during spring training.
"We saw it in Pittsburgh, and I anticipate seeing it tomorrow," Matheny said Tuesday after most players attended an optional workout. "They show up like it's another - it's another great day."
Starter Adam Wainwright was loose and playful on the podium, joking that he got knocked out early on purpose in last year's division series finale at Washington to "get the mojo flowing." He tore a page from the Tony La Russa quote book, declining to discuss possible wrinkles for Game 5, turning to Matheny and asking, "Is that a scouting report? That's a scouting report."
Though this is the Pittsburgh Pirates' first playoff appearance since 1992, they've looked seasoned, too.
"This is obviously an exciting time, a high-pressure situation, and you know, this is what you prepare for all year," rookie starter Gerrit Cole said. "Yeah, it's extremely exciting, and I can't wait."
The Pirates will be facing an opponent they all know too well. It'll be the 24th meeting of the season, with strong stretches on both sides and the Pirates holding a 12-11 edge.
"You've got to meet the demands of the game," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I don't think I've been in a game where somebody just didn't show up."
Runs figure to be at a premium. Michael Wacha flirted with a no-hitter for the second straight game on Monday, holding Pittsburgh hitless until Pedro Alvarez's eighth-inning homer, and St. Louis held on for a 2-1 win that brought the series back to Busch Stadium.
Wainwright allowed a run in seven innings in the opener and is 5-0 in his last six starts. The 19-game winner became the third pitcher in franchise history to twice lead the league in victories, joining Dizzy Dean and Mort Cooper. Wainwright embraces the role of ace he inherited from injured Chris Carpenter.
Last season was Wainwright's first year back from reconstructive elbow surgery, and he described his stuff as "hit or miss." He allowed six runs in 2 1-3 innings in Game 5 of the division series against the Nationals, then rebounded to beat San Francisco in Game 4 of the NL championship series.
"This year I have all the confidence in the world in my stuff," Wainwright said. "It's a completely different situation."
Wainwright leans on advice injured closer Jason Isringhausen gave him in 2006 - just breathe. Then a rookie, Wainwright got the final out in the NLCS and the World Series. He said the bullpen experience taught him the "urgency of each pitch."
"Going out there and getting a guy out one time like it's going to be the last time you ever face him, that's the mentality I took into starting," Wainwright said. "I have to give it everything I've got every pitch until they take the ball from me."
Cole made a dazzling postseason debut in Game 2, when he retired 11 consecutive hitters. Now that they've seen him, the Cardinals expect to have more success against him.
"I think it's going to help big-time," Matt Adams said. "We're going to know how the ball's coming out of his hand and know what his tendencies are."
Of course, Cole has seen them, too.
"So it's just going to come down to executing a handful of pitches, being able to hit the spot or execute the pitch when I need to," Cole said.
Statistically, the series is almost dead even. The Pirates are batting .236 with 14 runs, while the Cardinals are hitting .192 with 15 runs.
Matheny said leadoff man Matt Carpenter, in a 1-for-15 slide with six strikeouts, has been trying too hard.
"Looks like he's seeing the ball better," Matheny said. "What he's guilty of is carrying too much and feeling like he's got to do something extra special."
Alvarez has three homers and five RBIs for the Pirates, and NL MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen is batting .357. But leadoff man Starling Marte 1 for 15 and Neil Walker is hitless in 16 at-bats.
Hurdle said he wasn't contemplating changes for Game 5.
"These men are both capable and they have done it in the past," Hurdle said. "We have been pitched effectively in a couple different spots. I have every confidence that tomorrow night will be the night that they get going."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
After yesterday's games, the Red Sox are in and the Tigers get to fight another day. The Tigers forced a Game 5 with a thrilling (and disputed) win over the Athletics. Yesterday, I speculated on whether Max Scherzer would start instead of Doug Fister. He did not. But Fister was decent and Scherzer did pitch after all and got the win in relief. After all, he got the run support...
The St. Louis Cardinals will partake in the glorious, heart-pounding, frustrating-yet-exhilarating experience that is Game 5 of the National League Division Series for the third year in a row. They won both of those two previous games, but one player in particular most certainly hopes the game is more similar to 2011 than 2012 — Adam Wainwright.
The Cardinals 2011 ace, Chris Carpenter...
ST. LOUIS -- When the best start of his career was complete, as his teammates rushed around to celebrate yet another October moment, Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright wrapped up Yadier Molina in an embrace that neither is likely to forget.
"It was hard to contain myself," Wainwright said after his complete-game gem. "I was teared up big-time. I had a death grip...
Gerrit Cole was dealing in Game 2, will Game 5 be the same? (Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel)
In their biggest game in 20 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates will turn to a 23-year-old rookie, Gerrit Cole, to pitch Wednesday’s NLDS Game 5 in St. Louis against the Cardinals. The Pirates are looking for their first postseason series win since 1979. Facing St. Louis Cardinals ace and 19-game...
Right-handed ace pitcher Adam Wainwright is The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com 2013 National League Division Series Most Valuable Player.
Midnight struck for baseball’s Cinderella last night, as Adam Wainwright‘s curveball played the part of the wicked stepmother. Actually, I don’t know the Cinderella story well enough to know if that sentence makes sense, so let’s move on from this tortured analogy after just one sentence. The Pirates lost last night, and the season that put the city back on the map as a...
Gerrit Cole will start Game 5 on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
The big question about a potential game five was whether the Pittsburgh Pirates would start Gerrit Cole instead of A.J. Burnett. Burnett struggled on the road in St. Louis in Game 1, while Cole dominated the Cardinals in Game 2. Both will be available on normal rest for Game 5 on Wednesday, and after Michael...
The St Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 in Game 5 of their NLDS matchup to win the series 3-2 and advance to the NLCS to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The inspirational run of the Pirates came to a close on Wednesday night in St Louis. Adam Wainwright was magnificent for the Cardinals in their 6-1 victory, allowing one run on eight hits in a complete game victory...
Nobody's better than the St. Louis Cardinals when they can't afford to lose.
Adam Wainwright went all the way on the mound and St. Louis got two-run homers from David Freese and Matt Adams to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Wednesday night, advancing to the National League Championship Series for the third straight season.
Wainwright scattered eight hits in his second dominant...
Yadier Molina and Game 5 pitching hero Adam Wainright shared this intimate embrace after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Wednesday night. I mean they were a couple of inches away from a kiss there. It’s kind of sweet seeing how close they are. All that was missing was a little Diana Ross and Lionel […]
Just like their regular season series, the NLDS matchup between the Cardinals and Pirates was as close as could be, with St. Louis needing the full five games to advance to the NLCS for the third consecutive year. Here are five observations from the five-game set.
1. You don't want to face Adam Wainwright in the playoffs.
Wainwright's Game 5 start was his sixth career...
Led by Michael Wacha, who threw 7.1 no-hit innings before allowing a homerun to Pedro Alvarez, the Cardinals avoided elimination by beating the Pirates 2-1 this afternoon. Rookies Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal finished off the Pirates from there to send the teams back to St. Louis for game 5.
This is the second straight game where Wacha has flirted with a no-hitter, after...
Two October heroes in the past for the Cardinals helped carry them to more October baseball in the future tonight at Busch Stadium.
Adam Wainwright the relief star of the 2006 World Series championship for the Cardinals held the Pittsburgh Pirates to eight singles over nine innings. David Freese the hitting star of the 2011 World Series championship for the Cardinals hit a two-run...
There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009.
The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013′ will look back on some of the major happenings...
Pirates at Cardinals–Series Tied 2-2
8:00 PM–Busch Stadium, St Louis
For the second time in just over a week, the season comes down to one game. (That Wild Card game feels like it was a while ago now, right?) The Bucs spoiled us in that one by taking an early lead and not looking back — after the second inning, their win probablity never dipped below...