Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest
By ASSOCIATED PRESS  |  Last updated 10/8/13
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."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Recruit decommits from Michigan after mail mistake

Dez Bryant reportedly suffers concussion at practice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant to be honored with his own day in LA on 8/24

Colts sign Antonio Cromartie

Connor McDavid: 'I’m not some 18-year-old kid anymore'

Aguayo seeks out mental coach after missing kicks

Josh Norman unloads on Goodell: He is 'straight horrible'

Siemian named Broncos starter for third preseason game

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

NFL players under most pressure in preseason Week 3

Tre Mason's mother: RB is like '10-year-old' due to head injuries

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

Football Down Under: Looking back at college football overseas

31 memories from the XXXI Olympiad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker