10/3/2013 10:12 P.M. ET
Matheny rides late-season lineup for Game 1
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' lineup for Game 1 of the National League Division Series looked much like the one manager Mike Matheny wrote out with regularity over the final three weeks of the season. It included Matt Adams as the cleanup hitter and Daniel Descalso as the starting shortstop, batting eighth.
Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday were ahead of Adams in the batting order. Yadier Molina hit fifth, followed by Jon Jay and David Freese. The Cards are likely to utilize this same lineup -- one that keeps shortstop Pete Kozma on the bench -- in all of their games against right-handed starters.
The Pirates are scheduled to start just one lefty (Francisco Liriano ) in the series, and that will be in Game 3 on Sunday in Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m. CT on TBS).
"I don't think it was a shock to anybody that Danny was going to play short today by how he played down the stretch, defensively, and offensively how he's swinging the bat," Matheny said prior to Game 1. "We have some flexibility there, but we also have some ability to make changes late in the game."
Though Kozma drew the majority of the starts through the first four months of the season, Descalso has handled most of the work at shortstop as of late. He started 13 of the team's last 18 games at the position and finished the season on a six-game hitting streak.
The Cardinals have been aggressive in inserting Kozma into games late as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement, which adds to his value off the bench. Kozma hit just .179 after the All-Star break.
Adams, the team's everyday first baseman in Allen Craig's absence, slid into the fourth spot in the lineup for the team's final nine regular-season games. He hit .326 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and 19 runs scored in the 24 games following Craig's injury.
Cardinals select Kelly to start Game 3 of NLDS
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Mike Matheny on Thursday officially announced Joe Kelly as his starter for Game 3 in Pittsburgh -- scheduled for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. CT on TBS -- but will wait at least another day before revealing who he intends to pitch in a Game 4, should one be necessary.
Kelly thrived on the road all season, and his results at PNC Park likely weighed heavily in the Cardinals' decision to have him pitch the series' first road game. In two starts at the Pirates' home ballpark this year, Kelly limited Pittsburgh to seven hits, six walks and one earned run in 12 innings. He struck out nine.
Add in the home start Kelly made against the Bucs less than a month ago and the right-hander allowed just two earned runs in 18 innings as a starter. In total, Kelly went 5-1 with a 2.07 ERA in 19 games (seven starts) on the road in 2013.
St. Louis' other two starters -- Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha -- will be available out of the bullpen through at least Game 1. While both can offer the Cards length in relief, Matheny said that he is also open to using either in a shorter relief stint.
Cards to face rookie Cole for first time in Game 2
ST. LOUIS -- For all this talk about familiarity between the Cardinals and the Pirates, St. Louis will actually be facing an unknown in Game 2 on Friday (noon CT on MLB Network).
Despite being on the Bucs' roster for the final four series (14 games) between the two National League Central division foes, rookie Gerrit Cole never drew a starting assignment against the Cards. In fact, he was the only pitcher in the Pirates' rotation who the Cardinals did not face during a five-game series in Pittsburgh at the end of July.
Cole did, however, have plenty of opportunity to watch.
"Facing [Matt] Carpenter, [Carlos] Beltran, [Yadier] Molina, [Matt] Holliday, [David] Freese, [Jon] Jay ... they're just great hitters," Cole said. "So whether you've seen them a bunch of times or not, you know what they're capable of doing. You know in a playoff atmosphere, anything can happen. I don't think that it's an advantage that I haven't seen them, and I don't think they view it as one either. It's playoff baseball. Anything goes."
Cole finished the season strong, going 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five September starts to net NL Rookie of the Month honors. After making his Major League debut on June 11, Cole went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA in his 19 starts. On the road, he was 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA.
The Cards struggled against unfamiliar pitchers throughout the season, but they are hopeful that such a trend does not carry over in October.
"Obviously, facing somebody that's never been seen can have its challenges," Carpenter said. "But sometimes facing the same guys over and over again can have the same challenge. It can be hit or miss whether it works out in your favor."
• The Cardinals have claimed outfielder Joey Butler off waivers after the Rangers designated the 27-year-old for assignment on Monday. Butler, who made his Major League debut in 2013, spent the majority of the season in Triple-A. He hit .291 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs with the Rangers' affiliate in Round Rock, Texas.
The Cards designated Victor Marte for assignment to clear space on the 40-man roster.
• General manager John Mozeliak said there is no additional update on Allen Craig, who remains sidelined with a left foot sprain. Craig has been walking around without a walking boot more frequently, but the Cardinals have not yet determined when he will be re-evaluated by a doctor.
• Right-hander Chris Carpenter, who missed the 2013 season due to thoracic outlet syndrome, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 on Friday (noon CT on MLB Network). Carpenter has made more postseason starts (18) and won more playoff games (10) than any other pitcher in franchise history.
The Cards will also hold another pregame pep rally in the parking lot of Ballpark Village from 9:30-11:30 a.m. CT on Friday. The on-field pregame ceremony will begin at 11:45 a.m. and will feature retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Generald Wilson performing the national anthem.
• Major League Baseball has announced that Game 3 of this NLDS between St. Louis and Pittsburgh will have a start time of 3:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. TBS will televise the game.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.