Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cardinals Ride Rookie Pitching into Series

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cardinals Ride Rookie Pitching into Series

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS -- At the trade deadline in July, the Cardinals appeared to be in the market for starting pitching. Instead, St. Louis stood pat and trusted their young arms.

That trust paid off -- in a trip to the World Series.

Michael Wacha capped a nearly untouchable month by being selected the National League Championship Series MVP after outpitching Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for the second time in a 9-0 win in Game 6 Friday night.

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, a 19-game winner, said the 22- year-old rookie has been so good he wouldn't be surprised if Wacha was on the mound for Game 1 of the Fall Classic on Wednesday.

"I told them if we have enough time off they might try to get Michael back for Game 1," Wainwright said during the Cardinals' celebration Friday. "You never know."

Joe Kelly was the strongest member of the rotation for a long stretch in the summer and has been tough in the postseason, too. Closer Trevor Rosenthal hit 100 mph on the stadium radar in finishing off the Cardinals' 19th NL pennant, tied with the Giants for the most in the league. Carlos Martinez emerged as the setup man, 41st-round draft pick Kevin Siegrist had a lights-out 0.43 ERA and Seth Maness was one of the best at inducing the double-play ball.

Kelly is in his second season and the rest are rookies, all of them enjoying themselves in the postseason instead of stressing out about the implications of each pitch.

Wacha made his major league debut in late May, but he was back at Class AAA Memphis when many of his teammates were promoted. "They were performing at a high level, they weren't letting a lot of things affect them," Wacha said. "So whenever I got called up, I felt like I had to hang with these guys."

The Cardinals have a mid-level payroll with a handful of high- paid players and rely heavily on a system that keeps promoting prospects -- who keep coming through. …

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