10/12/2013 4:02 P.M. ET
Bunt not out of question for Adams to beat shift
By Jenifer Langosch, Adam McCalvy and Chad Thornburg / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- The strategy may be unorthodox for a middle-of-the-lineup power threat, but manager Mike Matheny said he won't discourage first baseman Matt Adams from considering laying a bunt down the third-base line if teams continue to shift their defense against him.
Adams has shown bunt a handful of times this postseason but has not yet tested the defense by laying one down. The Pirates routinely had their third baseman shifted over to the shortstop position when Adams was hitting in the National League Division Series. The Dodgers used a variation of that shift in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series, though the third baseman did not leave as much of a hole along the third-base line.
"You hate to see your four-hole hitter square around to bunt, but sometimes you need him on base," manager Mike Matheny said. "I'm not trying to be coy about it. I'll talk about it bluntly, because that's one of the ways to adjust it."
Matheny described Adams as a "good enough" bunter, though in this situation, just pushing a bunt past the pitcher would likely assure Adams of reaching.
When it comes to Adams' swing, though, the Cardinals do not want him trying to force hits the other way simply because of defensive alignment. He does pull the ball with regularity, but not exclusively. Of the 216 balls Adams put in play during the regular season, 193 were toward center and right. The remaining 33 went to left.
"He's not a dead-pull guy. He can hit the ball all over," Matheny said. "So I think it's going to work itself out. What I don't want him doing is trying to alter his swing for the shift. I just don't think that's a great approach. I think he needs to stick with his approach."
Lynn to start Game 4; Miller remains in bullpen
ST. LOUIS -- Pitching in relief, Lance Lynn picked up the Game 1 win in the Cardinals' 3-2, 13-inning victory over the Dodgers on Friday. On Tuesday, he'll take the mound at Dodger Stadium with a chance to also win Game 4 of the National League Championship Series (7 p.m. CT on TBS).
Manager Mike Matheny officially named Lynn the team's fourth starter on Saturday, which, in turn, also solidifies Shelby Miller's role as a postseason reliever. The decision, Matheny said, was made after considering several factors, including matchups, recent work, how comparable pitchers fared against L.A. and how each right-hander finished the season.
The latter carried particular weight.
"I think it's a young player, for the first time in his life, going through a complete Major League season," Matheny said, discarding the notion that Miller is fatigued while still acknowledging that he is in unknown territory. "That affects everybody. Your body is just getting used to it. It's a demand. I didn't see the fatigue, but also realized that we were asking him to do something he had never done before."
Of some concern with this decision, though, is how Miller reacts to it. A 15-game winner during the regular season, Miller has said all the right things about the move to the bullpen. It is not, though, the role that he would prefer.
Matheny and Miller have had several conversations this month during which Matheny has reminded Miller how highly the organization still thinks of him.
"I see him as a frontline starter," Matheny said. "He can be a top-of-your-rotation starter. But right now, we're just trying to take all the information with it being his first full long season with kind of how he pitched compared to the other guys through September. I don't want this to ever be translated to him or anybody else that we don't have high, high confidence and high expectations for him."
As for Lynn, he'll get his fourth career chance to finish five innings in a postseason start. Lynn went 3 2/3 innings in both of his NLCS starts last October. In Game 2 of the NL Division Series against Pittsburgh, Lynn was chased after allowing seven hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Lynn did throw 29 pitches in relief on Friday, but he used that work in place of a bullpen session he otherwise would have thrown on Saturday.
"I actually hadn't been off the mound for seven or eight days prior to yesterday, so I'm actually glad that I was able to get in the game situation and get going there," Lynn said on Saturday. "I think that will help me going forward into starting Game 4."
Rosenthal gets pitching tip from Hall of Famer Gibson
ST. LOUIS -- Maybe it was fitting that before his first multiple-inning outing of this postseason, Trevor Rosenthal was spotted chatting during batting practice with a Cardinals pitcher who worked many, many innings in the postseason.
Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, who completed eight of his nine career playoff starts for St. Louis, was on hand for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, a 3-2 Cards win over the Dodgers that stretched 13 innings, including Rosenthal's two scoreless frames.
When 23-year-old Rosenthal took a spot next to 77-year-old Gibson on the bench, the two talked, of course, about pitching.
"I got into a conversation about throwing fastballs away, mainly against right-handed batters," Rosenthal said. "Just little tidbits of information, that he had on some things that he used to do when he was playing. So it was really cool to get his perspective. It had been something that had been on my mind, so in that situation, I just wanted to be sure to get his thoughts."
Rosenthal, who has risen from a 21st-round Draft pick out of junior college in 2009 to Cardinals closer in '13, will revisit Gibson's tips next spring.
"When a guy like that says it, it maybe has a bigger impact, and you focus on it a little bit more," Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal threw 33 pitches in Game 1, the last a 98-mph fastball to Michael Young with one out and runners at the corners that produced the game's signature play. Young lifted a fly ball to right fielder Carlos Beltran, whose strong throw home was held by catcher Yadier Molina after a collision with Mark Ellis.
The 33 pitches were Rosenthal's most in an outing since he threw 40 in a Sept. 16 win over the Dodgers at Busch Stadium. He indicated he was available for Game 2 on Saturday afternoon.
"Right now, I think with the postseason and bouncing back with the adrenaline and how bad you want to be out there contributing, it helps a lot," Rosenthal said. "Especially with the travel days and the rest, that helps a lot, too.
"But I think I feel good right now. I know talking to a lot of the other guys in the bullpen, that they all feel really well, too. They seem to be bouncing back quicker than usual."
Jay in lineup vs. Kershaw, with Matheny's confidence
ST. LOUIS -- Despite his fielding gaffe and struggles at the plate in Friday's Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, Jon Jay was right back in the lineup in a left-on-left matchup with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on Saturday.
Jay's 0-for-5 night in the Cardinals' 3-2 win in 13 innings was punctuated by a failed bunt attempt in the top of the seventh that erased lead runner Yadier Molina. In the 10th, he took a "bad angle" on a Mark Ellis hit to center and had to chase it to the wall as Ellis stretched it into a triple.
"He had a couple of opportunities with getting a bunt down. Jon can do that," manager Mike Matheny said. "We know that with Yadier on base, you're going to have to get a good bunt down, and Jon can do that. He does those things, the small things, the little things every day so well -- the things that go unnoticed. I know he takes a lot of pride in the littler things that don't go noticed. That is part of being the quarterback in the outfield.
"But these guys hold themselves to high expectations. ... We've talked about that as a group. How much our team celebrates the grinding at-bats and doing the little things right. A guy gets a bunt down, you'd have thought he hit a home run when he hits the dugout, because the guys know that that's a big deal. It kind of preserves that selfless attitude that we think contributes to winning baseball."
Jay, a left-handed hitter, got the starting nod Saturday over reserve outfielder Shane Robinson, whose right-handed bat could have been employed against the Dodgers' left-handed ace. Though Jay is hitting just .143 (3-for-21) this postseason, Matheny reaffirmed his confidence that his center fielder can bounce back.
"When that happened, Jon didn't get [the bunt] down in a big situation late in the game, he's frustrated," Matheny said. "Then right behind that, [he] doesn't get back on the ball to right. These guys are hard on themselves, harder on themselves than our staff is, for sure. But we do know that's what pushes them for the next level and turns very good players into great players."
• The day after the move loomed large in the Dodgers' 13-inning loss to the Cardinals, manager Don Mattingly was still answering for his decision to remove cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of a tie game. Matheny had a similar opportunity in the ninth and opted to leave his cleanup hitter, Matt Adams, in the game. It was one of "a whole lot of non-moves" that Matheny watched pay off in his team's 3-2 win.
Walks to Adams and Yadier Molina pushed Adams into scoring position with two out in the ninth inning. Rather than inserting Shane Robinson or Kolten Wong to pinch-run, Matheny stuck with Adams. He explained his reasoning on Saturday:
"With two outs, I just don't like the move," Matheny said. "The other part is, how many times in the last month have we seen him score on a double from first base? The guy runs better than people give him credit for. I don't really like making [those moves] if we don't absolutely have to, especially when I feel good about our offense. It's a tie game, you just anticipate he might get another at-bat, and we've seen what he's been able to do in extra innings. It could go either way."
Matheny's non-move in the third -- leaving Joe Kelly in the game instead of turning to Shelby Miller -- also paid off, as Kelly finished off the inning with minimal damage and gave the Cards three scoreless frames afterward.
• Though Kevin Siegrist warmed up a few times in Friday's extra-innings win, Matheny said he held back from using him in case a critical situation arose where the Cardinals needed to get a left-handed hitter out. With Gonzalez on the bench, the Dodgers ended the game with only two lefties (Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier ) in their lineup. Siegrist, Miller and Edward Mujica were the only Cards relievers not to enter on Friday.
• The Cardinals are scheduled to fly to Los Angeles after Saturday's game and will hold a 2 p.m. CT workout at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. It will be the Cards' first visit there since a three-game series back in May.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.