After vanquishing the National League Central division rival Pittsburgh Pirates, Mike Matheny and his St. Louis Cardinals have refocused on what they hope will be their next target – the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On Thursday afternoon, Matheny announced the Cardinals’ rotation plans for the first three games of the National League Championship Series. As many anticipated, Joe Kelly will start Game 1 on Friday, Michael Wacha will follow in Game 2 and Adam Wainwright will toss Game 3 in Los Angeles.
Wainwright tossed a complete game gem on Wednesday night, closing out the NLDS in front of the home faithful at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Just one game prior, Michael Wacha flirted with his second straight no-hit bid, leading the club to a crucial win in hostile territory.
Kelly, who said he got chills and goosebumps upon learning he would start Game 1, is eager to pitch in front of the home fans.
It’s obviously super exciting. Something that being a little kid, it’s something you look forward to just getting to the playoffs. To be named a Game 1 starter, when he told me that, I got chills and goose bumps. To have the confidence that he has in me, my skipper, it’s going to be really fun, and I really can’t wait for it.
Both Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn are potential starters in Game 4 and Matheny says the entire staff, and team, understands that things are no longer about any one player – it’s about the end goal.
I think all of our players realize at this point it’s whatever they can do to help the club. And whoever it is, and whatever role they’re going to be in, it’s about team. Sometimes things aren’t comfortable, and that’s the nature of this business. They learn to adjust and adapt. They learn to compete regardless. If they do have that idea that it’s about we and not me, it’s something that they convince themselves that they can function and execute.