Pitcher available to pitch in relief in Game 4 if necessary
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Jason Marquis has relief experience from his time with the Braves. (Scott Rovak/Cardinals)
LOS ANGELES -- An already deep St. Louis bullpen will get a boost on Sunday -- assuming that the Cardinals have a game on Sunday.
After being chased in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Thursday, right-hander Jason Marquis will be available for relief work if needed. Marquis has quite a bit of experience pitching in the bullpen, including two playoff relief appearances for Atlanta in 2001.
"I think a guy like Jason Marquis would be available tomorrow, not available today," manager Tony La Russa said before Game 3 on Saturday.
"It's viable if we have to get a win to go to the next round. We absolutely will not take anything for granted and not think that the Dodgers will find a way to scare the [heck] out of us. So we'll try not to miss a trick. And one of the tricks is to have Jason available tomorrow and Monday. But I want to win today. I want to go home."
Marquis walked four and allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings on Thursday, but did not receive a decision as the Cards rallied to win. It was his first career postseason start.
La Russa has declined to reveal how his rotation would set up for the second round of the playoffs, should the Cards get that far.
Hurry up and wait: Jeff Suppan, the Cardinals' scheduled Game 4 starting pitcher, hasn't appeared in a game since Wednesday, Sept. 29, the 158th game of the regular season. That translates to a layoff of at least 10 days for the veteran right-hander, more if he's not needed until the NL Championship Series.
He acknowledged that it's a strange situation, but he's not exactly complaining about being in the rotation for a team in the playoffs.
"If I don't pitch tomorrow, then we'll see," Suppan said before Saturday's game. "I mean, it's uncharted territory for me. I'm sure I'll go back and throw some more, a simulated situation again. You never know what could happen. But mentally, I feel strong. I think that's part of the key, is being focused.
"It really hasn't been that difficult at all. Well, I'll take that back. The waiting is definitely always the hardest part, the excitement. You can't wait to get out there. That's how I feel. ... I think this is where your routine is crucial. This is where you believe in your routine more than you ever have before, whether it's mental preparation or physical with bullpens and things of that nature."
One thing is for sure regarding Suppan: in the event of a fourth game, he will be the starter. Earlier in the week, La Russa did not completely rule out the possibility of starting Woody Williams on four days' rest in Sunday's Game 4. However, the manager said Saturday that Suppan is definitely the choice if needed.
"Jeff's ready to go," said La Russa.
These guys are good: Count Dodgers pitching coach Jim Colborn as one of the many people in baseball who are impressed with the St. Louis batting order.
Albert Pujols / 1B
Weight: 225 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
"The last two games are essentially what we saw in the first six," Colborn said, referring to the two regular-season series between the two teams. "There are no surprises. What you've got are a couple or three veteran hitters that think with you and will try to predict what the pitcher's going to throw.
"And then you have [Albert] Pujols, who is one of the best hitters in baseball. I'm not sure he fits in the category of those other guys. But he's got enough raw ability and smarts and a plan that he's very tough to pitch to. Then in general there are a lot of battlers, as evidenced by their two-strike and two-out hits that they've gotten."
Lineup the same: The Cardinals went with the same lineup in Game 3 as they did in Game 2: Tony Womack, Larry Walker, Pujols, Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, Edgar Renteria, Reggie Sanders, and Mike Matheny as the eight position players before right-hander Matt Morris.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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