10/23/11 11:32 PM ET
La Russa using bullpen at near-record pace
By Matthew Leach and Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
With two Cardinals relievers pitching in Sunday's 4-0 loss in Game 4 of the World Series, Tony La Russa has now made 61 calls to the bullpen in 15 playoff games this month. That is tops among all teams this postseason and is tied for second on the all-time list.
Only the 2002 Giants (62 relievers in 16 games) used more. The 1997 Indians (61 relievers in 18 games) deployed an identical number to the Cards, who will have at least two more games -- and possibly three -- to surpass the record.
The Rangers are creeping up that leader list as well. Their 54 relief appearances this postseason already ranks fifth. In terms of innings count, the Rangers and Cardinals are separated by a narrow margin. St. Louis' relievers have logged 56 innings, while Texas' bullpen has accounted for 53.
In covering 43 percent of the team's postseason innings entering Sunday, the Cardinals' bullpen has posted a 2.87 ERA. The Rangers went into Game 4 of the World Series with a 3.61 mark.
Cards confident if Rangers pitch around Pujols
ARLINGTON -- If the Rangers decide to stop pitching to Albert Pujols, the Cardinals won't have any problem with it. In fact, without saying so in so many words, St. Louis' feeling on such a plan is: Bring it on.
With Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and David Freese hitting in the Nos. 4-5-6 spots in the batting order, and a friendly hitting ballpark in Arlington, free baserunners would be more than welcome for the Redbirds. If Texas wants to provide extra RBI opportunities for the middle of the order, that's not a concern.
"You just don't spend a lot of time trying to anticipate or explain someone else's strategy, because they look at the game differently, and whatever they choose to do, you respect the fact that they think they know what's best for their club," manager Tony La Russa said. "I'm just saying that if the idea is for Albert not to beat them, that doesn't bother us, because of the depth that we have in front and behind him."
Rangers manager Ron Washington sounded like a man who will be more inclined to pitch around Pujols after the slugger's three-homer night on Saturday. But it won't be every at-bat.
"How many times do they unintentionally put him on? You've got to be able to do that," Washington said. "You can't always go four fingers. It's not Little League. This is the big leagues. You can't throw a ball inside that misses inside and makes him move his feet? Throw a pitch down and away in the dirt? Elevate something? Come on. When the opportunity says I'm not going to let them throw to him, I'll put four. But I can't do it every time he comes up. Come on. We're in the Major Leagues."
Elbow discomfort not an issue for Carpenter
ARLINGTON -- If Chris Carpenter didn't put to rest any lingering concerns about his right elbow with his performance in Game 1 of the World Series, he tried to end all that talk again on Sunday.
Speaking a day before he'll take the mound as the Cardinals' Game 5 starter, Carpenter said he felt no elbow discomfort when he threw his between-starts side session late last week. He did not make any changes to his throwing routine, either.
There had been whispers prior to Carpenter's first Series start against the Rangers that he dealt with some elbow discomfort during his one appearance in the National League Championship Series.
Carpenter responded by limiting the Rangers to five hits and two runs in a six-inning performance on Wednesday. The veteran right-hander threw 87 pitches and earned the victory in the Cardinals' 3-2 win.
"There [weren't]x a whole lot of stressful pitches for me," said Carpenter, who is 3-0 in four postseason starts this month. "It was a battle, but I was able to get through it pretty well, and I feel fine. I felt great throughout the last few days."
Carpenter will be making Monday's start on four days' rest, and the Cardinals, regardless of the Game 4 outcome, have not considered pushing Carpenter back any further. If St. Louis takes a 3-1 series lead, St. Louis would rather give Carpenter the chance to finish out the Series in Texas than save him for a Game 6 or 7 start back in St. Louis.
In five career starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Carpenter is 2-2 with a 6.99 ERA.
Cards not worried about Jay's slump in Series
ARLINGTON -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa downplayed center fielder Jon Jay's slump on Sunday, indicating that he did not seriously consider removing Jay from the starting lineup for Game 4 of the World Series.
Jay entered the game 0-for-12 in the World Series and 8-for-49 in the postseason.
"We've played three games in this World Series -- that's nothing," La Russa said. "He's putting the ball in play, he's not getting beat at the plate. It certainly hasn't affected his defense. We have a legitimate option with [Skip Schumaker]. But I just don't think you jump to conclusions based on three days."
La Russa also noted that the Cardinals faced difficult left-handed pitchers in two of the first three games of the World Series, with C.J. Wilson pitching Game 1 and Matt Harrison in Game 3, with two more left-handers, Derek Holland and Wilson, in Games 4-5. St. Louis does not have a right-handed-hitting alternative in center field.
Manager Tony La Russa said Sunday afternoon that Fernando Salas would likely be available in a somewhat limited role, but that Lance Lynn is probably out until at least Monday if not a possible Game 6 on Wednesday.
Albert Pujols had five hits in Game 3, while Adrian Beltre had four for Texas. It's only the second time in postseason history that both teams had a player with at least four hits. The Cardinals had three players -- Enos Slaughter, Whitey Kurowski and Joe Garagiola -- get four hits in a 12-3 victory over the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 1946 World Series. Wally Moses had four for the Red Sox.
Pujols' six RBIs on Saturday gave him 16 for the postseason, tying him with David Freese for the most of any Major League player this year.
Former Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin, who was released in late June, visited the club on Sunday. Franklin makes his home in Oklahoma.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.