Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Rotation Pretty Firm; Notebook; Only Variable Would Be Wednesday's Start If Team Has Already Clinched a Spot

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Rotation Pretty Firm; Notebook; Only Variable Would Be Wednesday's Start If Team Has Already Clinched a Spot

Article excerpt

While the Cardinals have some built-in flexibility for the starting rotation in the coming days, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny insisted Saturday that having his starters make their appointed rounds is the plan.

That is, until it isn't.

"It's really hard to get past what we have ahead of us," Matheny said. "We have to win three games (to clinch a playoff spot). We have to get ourselves up to win every one of the last five games. Our rotation is set up that way."

The Cardinals have announced starters for every remaining game except for Wednesday, Game No. 162, which would be Adam Wainwright's. Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia and Chris Carpenter are set for the next three days, respectively, including the series finale Sunday against Washington and the first two games of the season- finale series against Cincinnati. The elasticity of the schedule comes should the Cardinals clinch a berth before Wednesday.

Kyle Lohse, Saturday's starter, would be on turn for the wild- card playoff game Friday in, most likely, Atlanta. When asked Friday, Wainwright brought up the possibility of not starting Wednesday, calling it a season, and preparing for a postseason start. Wainwright said he would "welcome the opportunity" of clinching before his start so he could focus on a playoff appearance. He would be available then for the wild card game or Game 1 of a division series.

Asked if Matheny saw a scenario in which a pitcher not currently in the rotation made a starter this week - rookies Shelby Miller or Joe Kelly, for example - the manager shook his head. That's not "how it's slated" right now. They reserve the right to rewrite the rotation.

"Our big picture is five games. We have to have our heads ready to play those five," Matheny said before Saturday's game. "Five games feel like 100. We have a lot of work to do and a short time to do it."

HOLLIDAY RETURNS

Hours before first pitch Saturday, left fielder Matt Holliday was getting a form-fitted pad made for his left elbow to protect the joint from another beaning like it took Friday. …

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