Time for a quick poll the morning after the St. Louis Cardinals ended the 2013 season of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a Game 5 win in the NLDS.
Now that the DS is over, how will manager Mike Matheny build his NL Championship Series rotation?
In my opinion, it all starts with Adam Wainwright and build the rest around him.
Wainwright put the punctuation mark on the DS with a complete-game win Wednesday night. As the schedule here reminds us, the ace could pitch again on regular rest in the opener in Los Angeles, Game 3, next Monday, October 14.
The potential benefit is huge. Wainwright could then be ready on regular rest to repeat his final-game heroics if needed. The potential Game 7 in St. Louis would be on Saturday, October 19.
No matter what, Wainwright is clearly not available for Games 1 and 2, both at home, on Friday and Saturday nights. Game 4 star Michael Wacha’s fifth day would be Saturday, making him a tempting Game 2 candidate. The rookie is on a roll, but how hard do the Cardinals ride the hot hand?
If you are Matheny, who do you send to the mound for Games 1 and 2? Remember that the Cardinals will also need a starter to follow Wainwright in Game 4 in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 15. So, that need should also figure into your thinking. Who would be the best on the road?
Here are the other candidates, none of whom would be pitching on short rest in Game 1:
Shelby Miller: Won 15 regular season games with a 3.06 ERA as a rookie, but was squeezed out of the DS rotation. Career 10-3 with a 1.61 ERA at Busch Stadium. Has only pitched one inning since September 25. 1-0, 4.26 in 6 1/3 career innings versus Los Angeles.
Joe Kelly: 9-3, 2.28 in his 15 regular season starts, allowing two or less runs in 11. Career home/road splits comparable. Allowed three runs, two earned, in 5 1/3 innings in his DS start. 1-1, 3.72 previously against the Dodgers.
Lance Lynn: Went 9-3, 2.82 in 16 regular season starts at home and 6-7, 5.15 in 17 road starts. Yielded five runs to the Bucs in 4 1/3 inning start in the DS. 2-0, 2.50 in three career starts vs. LA.
Who is your NLCS Game 1 starter?
- Shelby Miller (48%, 32 Votes)
- Joe Kelly (41%, 27 Votes)
- Lance Lynn (12%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 66
Who is your NLCS Game 2 starter?
- Michael Wacha (72%, 46 Votes)
- Joe Kelly (16%, 10 Votes)
- Shelby Miller (8%, 5 Votes)
- Lance Lynn (5%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 64
Footnote: The above polls have been closed with Thursday afternoon’s announcement that the Cardinals starters in Games 1-3 will be Kelly, Wacha and Wainwright. It would appear that Lynn and Miller are the Game 4 candidates.
Also, the schedule page has been updated with all LCS start times.