La Russa could be managing his final game for the Cardinals as they look to complete a four-game home sweep of the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
St. Louis (85-76) will miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, and La Russa’s contract ends this year. This is his 15th season with the club he has guided to eight playoff appearances and one World Series title.
La Russa said earlier this week he will discuss his future with the club after the season.
The manager will likely re-insert Pujols into the lineup after the two-time reigning NL MVP did not start in Saturday’s 1-0, 11-inning victory. He walked as a pinch hitter in the ninth.
Pujols tops the NL with 42 homers, 118 RBIs and 115 runs, with Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez(notes) close behind in the latter two categories with 117 and 111, respectively. Those two along with Cincinnati’s Joey Votto(notes) are the leading candidates to win MVP honors.
Gonzalez also was out of the lineup Saturday due to a swollen hand, and whether or not he plays Sunday, it appears his lead in the NL batting race is big enough to claim that title - he’s currently at .336.
His strong year did not prevent Colorado (83-78) from losing 12 of its last 13 to drop out of playoff contention after being within one game of the NL West lead.
Catcher Miguel Olivo(notes) will miss his second straight game Sunday after suffering a mild concussion when he was hit in the head by the bat of Pujols during the slugger’s backswing Friday. Olivo was released from the hospital and met with his teammates Saturday.
“To see him walk through here this morning with a smile on his face, versus the way that I last left him last night, I’m elated,” manager Jim Tracy told the Rockies’ official website. “That was a very scary moment last night, and it had the potential of being a catastrophic injury.”
The Rockies have lost seven straight overall and on the road. They’ve gone 23 innings without scoring and their .228 road batting average is the worst in the majors.
This is the fourth four-game series between these teams in St. Louis, and the Cardinals have never swept.
The veteran right-hander has pitched well in seven home outings for the Cardinals, posting a 2.75 ERA. However, he allowed four runs over 5 1-3 innings Tuesday in a 7-2 home loss to Pittsburgh.
Rookie Esmil Rogers(notes) (2-2, 6.22) will make his eighth start of the year and first since Aug. 31 for Colorado. He went 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in the first seven starts, and the right-hander posted a 9.95 ERA in nine September appearances after being demoted to the bullpen.
Holliday is two homers shy of his first 30-homer season since 2007 with Colorado but has only one in his last 14 games.