Notes: Encarnacion stuck in a funk
Cards right fielder admits he's not pleased with his approach
ST. LOUIS -- It's tough, and maybe even unfair, to single out individual players when an entire team is scuffling with the bats. And that's the case for the Cardinals, who are a collective 12-for-67 (.179) in the World Series and are averaging fewer than four runs per game in the postseason.
But with all of that said, there's no denying that Juan Encarnacion has not had his best month. The Cardinals right fielder is 0-for-7 in the World Series, 0-for-his-last-11 dating back to the National League Championship Series, and 8-for-43 (.186) in the playoffs.
Encarnacion acknowledged on Monday that he needs to make a change in the way he's taking his at-bats. He's been overly aggressive, chasing balls out of the strike zone.
"I don't feel good about my approach right now, because I'm not producing," Encarnacion said. "But that's part of the game. I started like that, early in the season, and I made adjustments later in the season. Hopefully I make a good adjustment [on Tuesday]."
For Encarnacion, it's not a matter of how well he's seeing the ball or a need to make mechanical adjustments. He said he's simply looking to swing at better pitches and lay off the bad ones. Not that that's easy to do.
"I see the ball," he said. "I just think I'm jumping. I'll make an adjustment and try to have better success."
Two choices for five: The Cardinals have changed their thinking regarding their starting rotation for the final three games of the World Series. After initially leaning toward going with their top three starters all on short rest, the club is now considering using Anthony Reyes in Game 5, with Chris Carpenter in Game 6 or 7 and Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan in the other of the final two games.
"Anthony really gave us a flying start in this series," said manager Tony La Russa. "What [pitching coach] Dave [Duncan] and I have talked about is making sure our options are open. And I think that's just the best way to approach the last series you're going to play in a season. So if he'd have had just an adequate start, I don't think there's any doubt that we were going to bring back the three guys [Weaver, Carpenter and Suppan] with three days' rest. And now we're keeping our options open.
"Dave talked to Anthony today; it's not been decided. So the options are open and we'll see. "
Is Nate great? Left-handed starters have given the Cardinals trouble this year, to the point that the issue has probably been over-reported. But Detroit's Game 3 starter, southpaw Nate Robertson, is cast from a different mold than some of the lefties who have frustrated the Redbirds, such as Game 2 starter Kenny Rogers.
That may or may not translate to more success, but Robertson's more aggressive style might suit the Cards' hitters better.
"He's not the [Tom] Glavine-Kenny Rogers type left-hander," third baseman Scott Rolen said. "I guess our numbers on lefties aren't very good no matter how they throw, but he's a little different lefty. He throws a little harder, moves it in and away a little more. He's not sinking the ball and changeups. He's thrown great all year. He's going to be a quality pitcher for them. we have to be on top of our game and put good at-bats on him."
Two Cardinals have excellent numbers against Robertson. Ronnie Belliard is 8-for-25 (.320) with four doubles and five walks. Preston Wilson is an eye-popping 5-for-5 with two home runs and a walk. The only other active Cardinal who has seen Robertson is David Eckstein, 1-for-5 with a homer.
"Robertson is the kind of lefty who doesn't throw 86," said Belliard. "He can pop it up to 92. He's different than the other lefties. He's going to work on that cutter and he's going to work on that changeup."
Midwestern chill: The temperatures were low in Detroit on Sunday night, and could be even lower in St. Louis for Game 3. A forecast for downtown St. Louis shows a low of 38 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.
"It was cold [Sunday] night, and I know it's going to be cold [Tuesday]," Belliard said Monday. "I think we've just go out there with it in our minds that it's going to be hot."
This date in Cardinals history: On Oct. 23, 1985, John Tudor shut out the Royals on five hits in Game 4 of the World Series. Tudor struck out eight and walked one in a 3-0 win at Busch Stadium. Tito Landrum and Willie McGee both homered for St. Louis, which took a 3-1 series lead with the victory.
Coming up: The Cardinals send Carpenter to the mound with a chance to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series on Tuesday night. Game 3, which will be the first World Series game at new Busch Stadium, is set for 7:33 p.m. CT. Robertson starts for Detroit.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.