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FRIDAY • 10.11.2019 • B

INSIDE The Maddux plan pays dividends

Benfred: Shildt’s fire powers Cards

Hochman: Mikolas returns to Game 1

Nats’ top three pitchers are key

Cards stick with pitching picks

Young pitchers, starting and starring, power Cardinals’ pursuit of 20th NL pennant. B2

Color aside, Shildt’s viral postgame speech shows the fire that keeps the Cardinals hot. B4

He started the opener vs. Atlanta as well as a memorable Game 1 when he pitched in Japan. B5

Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin are Washington’s best starters, and the best relievers. B6

Mikolas set to start the opener, with Waino in Game 2. Flaherty will start Game 3. B8

NLCS SCHEDULE: CARDINALS VS. NATIONALS G1: 7:08 p.m. Friday at Busch • G2: 3:08 p.m. Saturday at Busch • G3: TBA Monday at Washington • G4: TBA Tuesday at Washington • G5: TBA Wednesday at Washington G6: TBA Fri., Oct. 18 at Busch • G7: TBA Sat., Oct. 19 at Busch • Game 1 starters: Mikolas (9-14, 4.16) vs. Sanchez (11-8, 3.85) • Wainwright starts Game 2, Flaherty Game 3, Hudson Game 4 TV: All games on TBS • Games 5-7 are if necessary

SPORTS

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NLCS PREVIEW

B2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • FRIDAY • 10.11.2019

THEIR TIME TO FLY Maddux method gives young guns a chance at October greatness

CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, left, shares a laugh with pitching coach Mike Maddux on Thursday during workouts at Busch Stadium.

BY DERRICK GOOLD

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

D

uring the frenzy of the Cardinals’ first champagne celebration this fall, pitching coach Mike Maddux stood near a tub of ice and beer in the far corner of the home clubhouse. He had a bottle of beer in his hand — presumably to share by splashing at another coach or a player — and another at his feet, stashed under the tub and behind his right leg, presumably for later. After motioning toward it so a reporter didn’t kick the beer over, Maddux made a gesture toward the room, nodding in the direction of Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hud-

son and the other young pitchers sharing in their first sudsy jubilee. “They’re a big reason I wanted to come here,” Maddux said. He’s a big reason why they’re pitching here, this deep into the playoffs. Schedules put in motion as far back as February have helped shape October. The Cardinals monitored innings through the summer so they would not have to mothball two of the game’s youngest and best starters, Flaherty and Hudson, at the most important point of the season. As they begin pursuit of their 20th league pennant Friday at Busch Stadium in Game 1 of the Na-

tional Championship Series, the Cardinals will face another pitching-rich team in Washington, one that has committed $575 million to three headline starters, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and former Mizzou great Max Scherzer. The best-of-seven series pits two of the top-three pitching staffs from the National League against each other and, as Cardinals Game 1 starter Miles Mikolas listed Thursday, has “Cy Young Award-winners, guys who are probably going to win Cy Young awards, All-Stars, franchise icons, I mean, the list goes on and on.” Please see CARDINALS, Page B3

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NLCS PREVIEW

10.11.2019 • FRIDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • B3

Cardinals From B2

Maddux is the isthmus between the two staffs — connecting his two-year stint with Washington that featured back-to-back Cy Youngs for Scherzer and postseason brilliance from Strasburg to this year, his second with the Cardinals, and youth with similar potential. “From across the field throughout all the years I saw, the Cardinals organization has always called up a pitcher and he wins a dozen games, calls up a hitter and hits 25 homers and I’ve been like, ‘Where do they get these guys?’” Maddux said Thursday after the team’s brief NLCS eve workout at Busch Stadium. “It’s like every year they call somebody up and they perform. I think it was a testament to the organization. Look, last year it was Jack who came up and solidified himself. This year, Dakota comes up and — yes — wins 16 games. That’s the organization. That’s what I wanted to see.” What the Cardinals wanted to get was a pitching plan that nurtured their young talents, developing them for their future, yes, but assured their availability in the priority, the postseason. They saw the alternative in person. Washington showed them. When last the franchises met in a playoff series, the Cardinals staged a raucous rally in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS to advance and make Pete Kozma a household name in the nation’s capital. He still inspires bipartisan shudders. The series was most notable for who didn’t throw a pitch in it: Strasburg. The Cardinals got two starts from their best pitcher, Adam Wainwright, and Washington got none, voluntarily. They shelved Strasburg, on purpose, out of concerns for his recovery from surgery, for his workload, and for his future. The Cardinals never forget their advantage. “There is nothing guaranteed about October,” said John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations. “You don’t want to have this take-for-granted mentality because we were in it a lot. Understanding as an organization, they were getting their first taste and what might be their last taste — why not put their best 25 out there? It didn’t seem logical. I understand you want to protect your young players, but I think you could do that by being more thoughtful in April, May and June.” The next season, the Cardinals scripted breaks into Michael Wacha’s season so that come October the rookie, less than 20 months removed from Texas A&M’s mound, would not have limitations and could help pitch the Cardinals to their 19th and most recent pennant.

CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

A Busch Stadium grounds crew member touches up the NLCS logo with paint along the first base line on Thursday. 25-year-old Hudson made a Game 4 Washington, meanwhile, had yet to win a playoff series before outlaststart that helped rally the Cardinals to ing the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game win the series. Of that group of pitch5 on Wednesday. Within those losses, ers ages 25 and younger, only Flaherty Strasburg came to shine in the postseaentered this season with more than 150 son once denied him. He did not allow innings in the majors. Hudson, Fried, an earned run in 14 innings against the and Soroka all had fewer than 60. Each Cubs in the 2017 NLDS. He struck out had his schedule somehow massaged 17 in 12 innings and two starts against this season to ensure availability in October. Thanks, Stras. the Dodgers the past week, and into this NLCS he brings a 1.32 career ERA “Every time you turn the TV on, it seemed like there was in October in six games. consensus that we were He and Scherzer are the “There is nothing going to give these guys pocket aces that stand between the Cardinals and guaranteed about too many innings,” Braves the World Series. manager Brian Snitker October.” “Obviously (we’re) a lot said. “I think we did a re— John Mozeliak, Cardinals better to have him on the ally good job of limiting president of baseball operations team for the playoffs,” said stressful innings, getting first baseman Ryan Zimthem out of innings early, merman, a member of not pushing them too the ’12 Nats. “But I think what we did hard. I’m a big believer that with those young starters like that … you’ve really in 2012 is the reason why he is the type got to monitor effort in between starts of pitcher he is now. In 2012, it was a in the course of a long season.” highly debated issue, but I think at that For the Cardinals, that accounting of point, as tough as a decision it was for innings began in spring training. them to not pitch him, they honestly were looking out for the best interests At times it seemed like there was no of the player. … In the moment, it was rhythm to the schedule for the starters, a tough decision and maybe not a very but there always was a purpose. Maddux popular decision, but you can also say wanted each pitcher to get to 24 innings that Stephen wouldn’t be the pitcher he in exhibition games. How they got there is now or be doing what he is now if they was part of the preparation — and the didn’t make that decision.” competition. If a pitcher was scheduled Or, that teams would be doing what to throw three innings one day and did they’re doing. so in fewer pitches than planned, then On the same night Strasburg started he finished those pitches in the bullpen. for Washington, the Dodgers started If a pitcher ran out of pitches before 25-year-old Walker Buehler. In Atreaching three innings, then he had to lanta, the Cardinals started 23-yeareconomize in his next outing to get back old Flaherty and the Braves eventually on the 24-inning track. had to turn to 25-year-old lefty Max The Cardinals used the All-Star break Fried. Earlier in the Cardinals’ NLDS, to build in extra rest for the young startAtlanta’s 22-year-old Mike Soroka ers and regularly used off days to give the bedeviled them with his sinker, and entire rotation a break. Hudson would

often be removed after five or six innings to bank for later. The Cardinals reverse-engineered the rotation for the second half around ideal innings that would keep the starters viable for October. If Hudson had 66 innings to give, they’d find a way to limit him to 11 starts, for example. Like the Braves and many other teams, the Cardinals also monitored stress innings, giving them added weight when a pitcher throws many pitches (40 is often the cap) or deals with runners on base. Most important, the pitchers have bought in with their between-start work. “It’s been a collaborative effort that has allowed these guys to be fresh and ready to go in this part of the season,” manager Mike Shildt said. He added: “(Maddux) just has a real clarity of how he wants to build guys up, and there’s an art to it. There’s art and some science, but there’s an art to figuring out what that looks like.” The results can be measured. With Flaherty starting twice in the division series and Hudson once, the rotation had the best ERA of any starting staff in the postseason, at 1.78. The Cardinals’ pitching staff leads the NL through the first two rounds of the playoffs with a 2.60 ERA, and the four starters as a group struck out 28 batters while allowing 24 hits in 30 1/3 innings against the Braves. They held the middle of the Braves order — Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis — to 10 hits in 60 at-bats (.167). Likewise, that’s the treacherous part of the Nationals’ lineup, as there lurks Anthony Rendon from the right and Juan Soto from the left. In the celebratory din, that beer still safe behind his leg, Maddux said there were other reasons he found the Cardinals appealing after leaving the Nats. The history. The tradition. He listed them off, while nearby Flaherty talked about his clincher performance, about how he got stronger as the season got longer. Somewhere Hudson was wringing champagne from his shirt. If the NLCS goes seven games, that duo will start at least three of them. This was all part of the plan. The Cardinals didn’t just want to have their young pitchers around, ready to participate. They prepared all season to have them be factors. They need their young, their best wings available to take flight. “I think it’s the Birds on the Bat,” Maddux said, pointing with the bottleneck of his beer to the logo on the jersey. “You know good things are going to happen.” Derrick Goold @dgoold on Twitter dgoold@post-dispatch.com

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NLCS PREVIEW

B4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • FRIDAY • 10.11.2019

CAUGHT IN THE MOMENT Color aside, Shildt’s speech shows fire that keeps Cards hot BE BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

O

f all the opinions Mike Shildt heard in response to a profanity-spiked speech that was never supposed to escape clubhouse doors in Atlanta, one voice mattered most to the Cardinals manager. Mom wasn’t thrilled. Yes, Shildt confirmed Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium, he’s had a chat with Lib Shildt. You better believe some of that conversation was referenced in the heartfelt apology Shildt had offered moments earlier, addressing the topic right away and just once before he steered the conversation toward the National League Championship Series. “I apologize if my language offended anyone,” Shildt said. “It’s not something I like to represent. It’s not to be excused. It’s supposed to be a private moment. But I will say that I’m flawed. I have my moments. I grew up in a clubhouse, and one of the crosses I bear is my language. So, I have done a nice job over the many years of curbing that and trying to represent always this organization and myself in a positive light, with class and dignity. I feel like I’ve always done that. It was regretful that it was able to get out.” He paused, then added: “I will not apologize for having passion about how I feel about our team, and the accomplishments of our team.” Shildt passed the B.S. test. He really is sorry. Sorrier than he should be. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said during a Thursday morning radio

CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt addresses the media on Thursday after practice at Busch Stadium. interview that, while he wished the video had not made the rounds, it did capture Shildt’s “refreshing” fire. Those in the clubhouse and dugout, while trying to hide their smiles because they knew Shildt was legitimately disappointed in himself, pointed to the speech as evidence of how much Shildt loves to compete — and win. Rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena’s Instagram live-stream of Shildt’s speech probably helped the manager’s image in St. Louis as much as it hurt it. Here, uncensored and unvarnished, was the version of Shildt we rarely see, the one we catch only in snippets, the one his players see burning brightly when an umpire, opponent or anyone else challenges his club. If this side of Shildt shocked you, remember some of those snippets. It showed when Dexter Fowler watched two clear balls turn into called strikes in an at-bat against the Rangers, and Shildt stormed out of the dugout, mouth going a mile a

minute, to get tossed before Fowler could. It showed when home plate umpire Rob Drake showed up Yairo Munoz by not granting him time in the batter’s box, then dismissed him with a hand motion as the player tried to plead his case. Shildt’s severe case of red (rear) got him ejected then, too. It showed when a fan ran onto the field with unclear intentions, and Shildt became a cheerleader on the bench, rooting — colorfully — for security staff to level the intruder. And it really showed when Shildt, who had boiled hot while watching the Braves and Cardinals clash around the beef between Carlos Martinez and Ronald Acuna Jr., addressed his team after its Game 5 thumping of the Braves. “What I loved about this series is, we played the game hard, we played the game right,” Shildt said in the video. “They started some (stuff). We finished some (stuff). And that’s how we roll. We don’t

start it, but no one (messes) with us. Ever. Ever. All right? Now, I don’t give a (dang) who we play. We are going to (mess) them up. We are going to take it right to them the whole (entire) way. We are going to kick their (whole tail). This side of Shildt clashes with the buttoned-up version of the manager who can come across like a church secretary. But the truth is, sometimes God-fearing men who try hard to be ambassadors of their faith get caught letting bad words fly. Thank goodness for forgiveness and grace. Speaking of grace, how else would you describe how the manager handled the case of the rookie and his cellphone? “He was just excited,” Shildt said about Arozarena. “He’s a great kid with a great heart.” Those who piled on Arozarena should realize he speaks broken English, at best, and likely did not realize what he was streaming. Those who piled on Shildt should hear this from the Car-

dinals’ Game 1 NLCS starter. “We get to see that fired-up side of him when the cameras are off — or supposed to be off — and he gets fired up,” Miles Mikolas said. “And when you see your manager getting that excited and that fired up, it feeds into what everyone else is doing. It’s contagious.” Some will cheer Shildt’s speech. Some will accept his apology and move on. Others will do their best to bring it up again and again. That last group tends to include folks who like to see the Cardinals lose. That group is growing again. If you needed proof that the Cardinals are back, observe the critics coming out of the woodwork. The Cardinals chafed the Pirates by stealing bases when leading by a lot. They won the Battle of Boring by sweeping Joe Maddon out of his job at Wrigley Field. One of their relievers single-handedly turned certain Georgia politicians into a mewling chorus of sore losers. Shildt’s been supportive at every turn. “The guy lives and dies by his players,” second baseman Kolten Wong said recently. “That’s why we love him. That’s why we do everything for him.” Since Tony La Russa in his prime, the Cardinals are at their best when they irritate and inflame. Their edge is back. It has punctured through to public view at different times this season, but its return can be traced to a winter day when a pithy Kris Bryant line about “boring” St. Louis made Yadier Molina bristle. Don’t forget what Molina said about Shildt on that January day. “I call him ‘Jefe,’” Molina said. It’s the Spanish term for boss. Ben Frederickson @Ben_Fred on Twitter bfrederickson@post-dispatch.com

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NLCS PREVIEW

10.11.2019 • FRIDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • B5

AN ACE IN ANY LANGUAGE ‘Best version of self’ has Mikolas trending to former status BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

O

ver in America, their playoffs were going on, too. It was Oct. 10, 2015, and in St. Louis the Cardinals, yet again, were hosting a playoff game. That day, Jaime Garcia pitched with a stomach virus, made a brutal error, and the Cards lost to the Cubs. But the biggest rivalry game of the day was in Tokyo. Approximately 6,389 miles around the globe, the Yomiuri Giants hosted the Hanshin Tigers in Game 1 of the bestof-three first stage series. Biggest game of the year, and the home-team Giants called on their giant to start. Heck, Miles Mikolas looked like Giants legend Eiji Sawamura out there. The American pitched seven innings, allowing only two runs. And he made up for one of them with an RBI double of his own. “It was a real close game, and that was my favorite part,” Mikolas said Thursday of that 3-2 Giants win. “Then when I came back out for the sixth, the whole crowd started chanting my name. Just last name, just Mikolas. That was something I’ll remember.” When Mikolas ultimately joined the Cardinals for the 2018 season, he arrived with many attributes, including strike-throwing and stamina. But it turns out he also had some intense playoff experience. He relied on it during his first Major League Baseball postseason start — Game 1 of the Braves series — and will carry it into his next start, Friday’s Game 1 of the Nationals series. The decision to go with Mikolas for Game 1, and not

CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Not so long ago, Miles Mikolas had an 18-4 record and 2.83 ERA as the undisputed ace of the 2018 Cardinals’ pitching staff. Adam Wainwright, is a smart one. This gives “Waino” the chance to pitch Game 2 at Busch Stadium (he has a 2.56 home ERA), and then Game 6 back at Busch. Until this October, the day they chanted “Mikolas” in Tokyo was the date of the last home playoff game played at Busch. Finally, even mercifully, the Cards are back in the playoffs, much in part due to Mikolas. His home ERA (3.01), second-half ERA (3.72) and September ERA (3.34) were all in the threes. “He’s really been the better version of himself — to the best version of himself — here in the last several starts,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “And he’s a guy that you know is going to go in and throw strikes and control counts,

and he’s also used to pitching in bigger environments and enjoys it. So yeah, Miles potentially could be a little unsung, but he’s not underappreciated for us. He’s a big reason why we are here.” Even so, somewhere along the way he lost his title. When the 2019 season began, he was the Cardinals’ ace. A 2018 All-Star, he led baseball in first-pitch strike percentage (70.8) and fewest walks per nine innings (1.3),finishing 2018 with an 18-4 record and 2.83 ERA. But as he pitched inconsistently into 2019, the transition happened subtly. And by August, arguably Mikolas’ worst month and Jack Flaherty’s best, Flaherty entered September as the Cardinals’ ace. But before Flaherty’s gem in Game 2 at Atlanta was Miko-

las’ sturdy start in Game 1. The game turned into a wild one, with the Cards holding on, 7-6. Some fans might have a stronger recollection of who finished the game (Carlos Martinez) than who started it. But Mikolas pitched five strong innings, allowing one run and three hits. And just as he did in his first postseason start in Japan, Mikolas drilled a double. “I love the conviction of how Miles has competed,” Shildt said, “where pitch to pitch he’s just throttled down and looking to execute that next pitch, staying in the moment. I really enjoyed his competition and how he’s been able to execute his pitches.” Uncharacteristically, Mikolas walked the first batter of Game 1. Unfathomably, he walked back-to-back batters.

Unflappably, Yadier Molina lessened the damage by throwing out the first runner when Ronald Acuna Jr. attempted to steal second. “I got a little bit of over-excitement out of the way,I think,” Mikolas said Thursday after the Cardinals worked out at Busch Stadium. “And another takeaway from that game is my team has my back to an incredible degree. … So just knowing that no matter what I do out there that my team’s going to have my back,we’re going to scratch and claw,do whatever we can to win that game — that’s a good feeling to have.” To win this new Game 1, Mikolas will have to do a lot of things as the best version of himself. Strike-throwing and stamina — we’ll need to see both. The Nationals have a lot of speed — they tied the Cardinals for the most stolen bases in the National League — so keeping the Trea Turners off the basepaths is paramount. Twice, Mikolas has faced the Nationals this season, and he walked only one batter in each game. On May 1 in Washington, he allowed one run in six innings. On Sept. 17 in St. Louis, he allowed three runs in six innings. “It’s nice to have them fresh in your mind,” Mikolas said of the recent start. “As far as how hitters’ tendencies change, I don’t know if they had a whole lot of time for their tendencies to change too much in the last three weeks going into the playoffs, so it might make it a little bit easier. Their pitchers will be in the same boat as far as scouting our hitters, so it will be interesting to see how we attack each other.” Who knows? If things go well, maybe the postseason fans will once again chant his name. Benjamin Hochman @hochman on Twitter bhochman@post-dispatch.com

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NLCS PREVIEW

B6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • FRIDAY • 10.11.2019

BIG THREE IS THE KEY Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin test bats no matter the role BY RICK HUMMEL

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

W

ith their time-tested trio of twirlers, the Washington Nationals have what is considered the top starting pitching threesome in the National League. Righthander Stephen Strasburg led the league in wins at 18. He, righthander Max Scherzer and lefthander Patrick Corbin were 2-3-4 in the league in strikeouts at 251, 243 and 238. All were in the top 10 in NL earned-run average. A blessing, and perhaps a curse, is that each also is a top reliever on the club. Beginning with the Nationals’ wildcard win over Milwaukee, manager Dave Martinez has employed Corbin twice, Scherzer once and Strasburg once (for three innings) in the six postseason games the Nats have played before the National League Championship Series begins at Busch Stadium on Friday night. “In the late innings, the way they use their bullpen is unorthodox to say the least,” said one veteran scout. “They have only two guys they trust in the bullpen in Daniel Hudson and (Sean) Doolittle. “They’re going to have to get some length out of some of their starters. They can’t keep running these guys (Scherzer, Corbin, Strasburg) out there.” Scherzer, Corbin and Strasburg have worked six innings out of the bullpen in six games, compared to 13 for the normal relievers. With a best-of-seven series upcoming, Martinez said he would talk to the Nationals’ analytical staff about the possibilities. But, he added, “In these games you try to go 1-0. You try to win that first game. These guys understand what they’re playing for. With that being said, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got our starting pitchers ready to go each game.” The hard-throwing Hudson, who has assumed the closer role from Doolittle, hasn’t been scored on in 3 2/3 innings in four postseason games. Used earlier in games, Doolittle has shown a good slider to go with his high-riding fastball. The ‘X’ factor might be young Taylor Rainey, who was impressive here in a three-game series last month. “He’s got

JULIO CORTEZ,ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nationals starter Patrick Corbin struck out 238 batters in the regular season. That was fourth-best in the National League but third on his team. electric stuff,” Martinez said. “When he throws strikes, he’s tough to hit.” Rainey can reach 100 mph and has a good slider but not much of a changeup. His command can be erratic, and, as one scout said, “I don’t think he’s a guy you can trust late.” Veteran Fernando Rodney is 42 and has been with about as many teams (11). He still has a palm ball but no longer is a lockdown late, as he used to be. Scherzer, Corbin and Strasburg, along with Anibal Sanchez — the latter of whom will start Friday — often lock down early. Sanchez is a four-weapon pitcher

with a good sinker. He is not overpowering and must have command to win. The other three, however, are overpowering. St. Louis-born Scherzer, who is expected to pitch Game 2 here Saturday, has a riding, four-seam fastball, killer slider and a good circle change that he uses against righhanded hitters. Strasburg, not quite as effective lately, has a four-seamer and curveball. Hitters can have some success if they can lay off the high fastball, although that’s easier said than done. Corbin is strictly fastball-slider. Those last three started the three games here last month in St. Louis,

where they struck out 28 in 17 2/3 innings.

OFFENSE IS ‘ALL RIGHT‘ The Nationals’ lineup is very dangerous but heavily righthanded, with the exceptions No. 2 hitter Adam Eaton and cleanup man Juan Soto. The Cardinals have all righthanded starters. Anthony Rendon — the third hitter and premier defensive third baseman — and Soto provide the power. Each had 34 homers during the season, and they had back-to-back home runs off Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw in the eighth Please see NATIONALS, Page B7

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NLCS PREVIEW

10.11.2019 • FRIDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • B7

Nationals

able. Prospective base thieves, however, have stolen 45 times out of 50 when Suzuki has been behind the plate. “It’s just not Kurt,” Martinez said. “We’ve got to pay attention; our pitchers (have) got to be a little quicker.” Sanchez said, “The key for every pitcher in this series is to hold the runners on first, because we need to help the catcher. Make a couple of different moves, hold the ball, whatever you have to do to keep those guys there. I know those guys are going to try to steal, especially early.” One scout said, though, “The Cardinals will be able to run.”

From B6

inning to turn around the fifth game of the divisional series in Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. Leadoff man Trea Turner has pop (19 homers) and stole 35 bases in 40 tries during the regular season. “The Cardinals will have to keep Turner off base before that middle of the order comes up,” a scout said. “He’s an extra-base guy who can fly easily from first to third.” The middle of the order also includes veteran second baseman Howie Kendrick, who scouts say does not have good hands in the field. But he had good enough hands to hit a game-winning grand slam on Wednesday. Nationals staple (14 years) Ryan Zimmerman, the first baseman, still has power. With center fielder Victor Robles “iffy” because of a right hamstring injury sustained in the NLDS, Michael A. Taylor, who spent some time in the minors this year, has been a capable replacement. He might be difficult to take out anyway as he has hit .333 as Robles’ replacement. “I’ve said this all along,” said Martinez via conference call Thursday. “We don’t miss anything on defense with Michael out there, and he’s putting together some huge at-bats for us. It actually gives us a little bit more time (with Robles).” Whether it’s Taylor or Robles in center, the Nats’ outfield which includes left fielder Soto and right fielder Eaton, can cover ground from wall to wall. The right

MEET ME IN ST. LOOIE — EVENTUALLY

SUSAN WALSH, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nationals starter Max Scherzer throws against the Dodgers during Game 4 of their NLDS on Monday in Washington. side of the infield is not strong defensively with Kendrick and Zimmerman.

THE RUNNING GAME The Nationals can run but may not do as much in this series. “The way the Cardinals’ staff holds runners on and the way (Yadier) Molina throws, I don’t think Washington’s speed will have that much of an impact on the series,” a scout said. Zimmerman said, simply, “Their catcher is one of the best players of our generation.”

Kurt Suzuki, one of two Nationals catchers, took a pitched ball off his left wrist Wednesday and then the ball glanced off his face. Martinez said Xrays taken on Suzuki’s left hand were negative. Suzuki was to go through concussion protocol after the team arrived in St. Louis late Thursday, but Martinez said, “He says he feels good. He should be ready to go tomorrow.” Yan Gomes, the better thrower of the two catchers, could play but it likely will be Suzuki, who had 17 homers, if he is

This will be Martinez’s first trip to St. Louis this year. He missed the regularseason series in September for a heart procedure. He didn’t bring his team to town here until Thursday night after the clincher in Los Angeles late Wednesday. The Nationals stayed in LA, just as the Cardinals did in Atlanta but the home team arrived here in the late morning. “It’s all about letting them sleep in a bed,” Martinez said. “Nobody really sleeps on a plane. They say you can, but nobody really gets good sleep so I wanted them to get into a bed and sleep at least six or seven hours, which they did, so they’re fresh and recovered.” Game on. Rick Hummel @cmshhummel on Twitter rhummel@post-dispatch.com


NLCS PREVIEW

B8 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • FRIDAY • 10.11.2019

MIKOLAS SET FOR OPENER Wainwright slated for home starts; Flaherty in Games 3 and 7 BY DERRICK GOOLD

CARDINALS NOTEBOOK

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A

dhering to the pitching plan the Cardinals scripted weeks ago has gotten them this far, so no matter the temptation on the scoreboard, manager Mike Shildt said he was not moved to pull Jack Flaherty early from his start Wednesday in Atlanta to get the righthander positioned for an earlier start in the National League Championship Series. Better to win and have him rested and ready, than just ready. “We want to respect the competition and we want to move forward without (limits),” Shildt said. “We want to make sure we’re moving forward. So compromising Jack to save 20, 30 pitches and maybe come back on short rest just wasn’t worth it. I think — I know we’re in a good spot.” They’re in the same spot, for sure. As they did in the NL Division Series against Atlanta, the Cardinals will use a four-man rotation that starts Miles Mikolas in Game 1 on Friday and follows with Adam Wainwright for Game 2. Flaherty will return on normal rest for Game 3 in Washington, and that sets him up to pitch the decisive Game 7, if necessary, and would assure the team’s No. 1 starter the assignment in back-toback winner-take-all games. Similar to his role in the NLDS, Dakota Hudson will begin the NLCS in the bullpen before getting the start in Game 4. The Cardinals will shape Hudson’s relief usage based on how close to his start they are. In the NLDS, that meant multiple innings in Game 1 and then targeted, fireman assignments in Game 2. A guiding light in the Cardinals’ pitching decisions has been to get Wainwright his playoff starts at home, where he went 9-4 with a 2.56 ERA in 16 starts this season. By getting Game 2 of the NLCS, Wainwright will get extra rest since throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Atlanta, and then be on turn for Game 6, which will be at home, if needed.

Blues bond The Blues, who will be in Washington next week to make a champion’s visit to the White House, reached out to the Cardinals on Thursday to coordinate attending Game 3 of the NLCS at Na-

CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Miles Mikolas, right, and Dakota Hudson talk on Thursday during a practice session at Busch Stadium. tionals Park. The Blues will be coming down from a game against the Islanders in New York and have time in their capital visit to catch a ballgame. When the St. Louis Rams bolted town to try their chances near Hollywood, a tighter bond forged between the Blues and Cardinals. In the seasons since, they’ve worn each other’s logos during warmups, had parallel giveaways (Yadier Molina goaltender bobblehead!), and their ownership groups have made public appearances together. The spillover from the Blues’ Stanley Cup championship has been visits with the Cup to the Cardinals’ clubhouse and a chance for Shildt and Blues coach Craig Berube to grow closer. “I love this energy that takes place with the two organizations,” Shildt said.“I just appreciate the fact that both organizations look at it as a collective part of the city, and they’re very supportive of each other and very sincere about that. I love that our players and the Blues players interact. … We have a really great opportunity to have a special year in St. Louis.”

Wacha’s rehab continues The Cardinals and righthander Michael Wacha (shoulder strain) were encouraged by how he felt after an assertive 45-pitch bullpen session Wednesday in Atlanta, but that does not speed his way onto the roster for the NLCS. The timing is wrong, Shildt said. The Cardinals will continue to have Wacha intensify his throwing on the side and be available if needed as an injury replacement for the NLCS or a consideration should the Cardinals win the pennant and advance. “Michael’s still in the buildup phase,” Shildt said. “And the great news is he threw an aggressive bullpen, but it’s just going to be difficult based on the time to get him in a spot where he can be on the roster potentially. From just a physical standpoint, he’s in a good place. We’ll ramp up his activity as we go.”

Manager material Given the chance Wednesday to detail his fondness for the Cardinals’ coaching staff, Shildt stumped for bench coach

Oliver Marmol as a candidate for one of the manager positions vacant (or soon to be) around baseball. “Ollie Marmol is phenomenal,” Shildt said. “Unfortunately there’s a lot of managerial openings available. I’d hate to lose him, but he’s a guy who is targeting in that direction.” Marmol, 33, moved from first-base coach to bench coach, and among his many duties are organizing and scripting spring training, working with the infield, acting as a liaison between the manager and players, and coordinating when and who and how much players want in their pregame workouts. He played a large role in the Cardinals’ commitment to improving their baserunning and fielding for 2019. He’s also bilingual. This was not the first time Shildt lobbied for Marmol to get some attention — as Shildt was the scout who urged the Cardinals to draft Marmol in the 2007 sixth round. Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux could also gain consideration from a team looking for a manager. The Cubs, who are looking for Joe Maddon’s replacement, have been intrigued by Maddux before. Maddux and Marmol both have at least another year on their contracts with the Cardinals, but the organizational etiquette is to not stand between an employee and a possible promotion with another team.

Extra bases The “victory” blue jerseys that debuted this season and caused such consternation because of the team’s lack of success in them have been retired for the season. The World Series will open in the American League city — regardless of who wins the remaining series — and that means the Cardinals will not have any road Saturday games. … The new Cardinals Hall of Famers, Scott Rolen and Jason Isringhausen, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1. … Backup catcher Matt Wieters was with the Nationals when the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup and joined the Cardinals just before the Blues made their title run. A pending free agent, Wieters mused: “May have more hockey teams recruiting me than baseball teams coming up here pretty soon.”

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NLCS PREVIEW

10.11.2019 • FRIDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • B9

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82

3 0 3

Muñoz

.267 .298

172 20

46

37

8 3 1

Goldschmidt .260 .346

1

2

13

2 1 0

83 24 4 9

13 2 10 42 35 7

15 1 5

4

7

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597 97

155 25

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3 1 5

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.243 .330 485 80

118 23

1 29 89 62

12 2 4

114

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.226 .334 416 59

94 20 2

15 46 63

129

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.214 .268 168

36

11 27

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15

31

4 0

71 14 3

12

47

1 1 2

12 39 46

117

11 3 4

Team Totals .245 .322 5449 764 1337 246 24 210 714 561 1420 116 29 66 PITCHERS

W L ERA

IP

H

R ER HR BB

SO

1

74.0

44

19

19

9

16

93

33

33 0

196.1

135

62 60

25

55

231

24

0 0

36.2

34

13

12

5

12

32

2 3.17 48

0 24

48.1

39

18

17

2

18

53

7 3.35

32

160 80

65

22 86

136

Gallegos

3

Flaherty

11 8 2.75

Helsley

2 0 2.95

C.Martínez

4

D.Hudson

16

Brebbia

G GS SV

2 2.31 66

33

0

3 4 3.59 66

1

174.2

0 0

72.2

59

31

29

6

27

87

8 0

48.2

36

21

20

6

26

52

33

Ponce de Leon 1

2 3.70

13

Webb

2

1 3.76

65

0

1

55.0

23

23

7

23

48

Mikolas

9 14 4.16

32

32 0

184.0

193 90

85

27

32

144

14 10 4.19

31

31 0

171.2

181

83 80

22 64

153

Miller

5 6 4.45

73

0

6

54.2

45

32

27

11

27

70

Cabrera

0

13

2

1

20.1

23

16

11

2

11

19

Wainwright

SKU# 82197

$56

99

2 4.87

Team Totals 91 71 3.80 162 162 52 1444.0 1284 662 609 191 545 1399

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Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux takes the field as catcher Mat Wieters throws warmups on Thursday at Busch Stadium.

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17

BATTERS

AVG OBA

Kendrick

.344 .395 334 61

115 23

1

17 62 27

49

2 1 2

Cabrera

.323 .404

40 10

1

6 40

18

0 0 0

HUNTING PACKS / BACKPACKS

Fenwick Rods

LIGHTNING AND CHERRYWOOD, RODS

AB

R

H 2B 3B HR RBI BB

5 1 11

124 24

SO SB CS E

19

Rendon

.319 .412 545 117

174 44 3 34 126 80

86

Turner

.298 .353

155 37 5

113 35 5 13

521 96

19 57 43

Soto

.282 .401 542 110

153 32 5 34 110 108

Eaton

.279 .365 566 103

158 25 7

Suzuki

.264 .324 280 37

Zimmerman .257 .321 Robles

171 20

.255 .326 546 86

132

12 1 2

15 49 65 106

15 3 6

74

11 0

17 63 20

36

0 1 3

44

9 0

6 27

39

0 0 3

139 33 3

Parra

.250 .300

188 30

47

11

Taylor

.250 .305

88 10

22

7 0

1

Dozier M.Adams Gomes

17

17 65 35 140 28 9 6 8 42

11

41

6 2 1

1

7

34

6 0 1

.238 .340 416 54

99 20 0 20 50 61

105

3 4 5

.226 .276

310 42

70 14 0 20 56 20

115

0 0 5

.223 .316

314 36

70 16 0

84

2 0 4

3

12 43 38

Team Totals .265 .342 5512 873 1460 298 27 231 824 584 1308 116 29 87

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PITCHERS Hudson

W L ERA 3 0 1.44

G GS SV 24

0

6

IP

H

R ER HR BB

SO

25.0

18

7

4

23

3

4

Scherzer

11

7 2.92

27

27 0

172.1

144

59

56

18

33

243

Corbin

14

7 3.25

33

33 0

202.0

169

81

73

24 70

238

2

1 3.30

9

8 0

43.2

33

16

16

5

13

44

Strasburg

Voth

18 6 3.32

33

33 0

209.0

161

79

77

24

56

251

Sánchez

11 8 3.85 30 30 0

166.0

153

77

71

22

58

134

Rainey

2

3 3.91

52

0 0

48.1

32

22

21

6

38

74

Doolittle

6

5 4.05

63

0 29

60.0

63

27

27

11

15

66

Rodney

0

3 4.05

38

0

2

33.1

29

16

15

3

16

35

Suero

6 9 4.54

78

0

1

71.1

64

36

36

5

26

81

Guerra

3

1 4.86 40

0

1

53.2

55 30

29

9

12

42

Team Totals 93 69 4.27 162 162 40 1439.1 1340 724 683 202 517 1511

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17 7

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136

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R

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.304 .350 326 59

7

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HURRY QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED • SORRY NO RAINCHECKS

The Nationals’ Juan Soto watches his home run in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS at Los Angeles on Wednesday.


B10 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • FrIDAy • 10.11.2019

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