ST. LOUIS — The biggest secondary benefit to the St. Louis Cardinals beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series came Saturday, when they didn't have to play Game 7. If necessary, ace right-hander Adam Wainwright had been waiting in the wings if rookie Michael Wacha and the Cards lineup did not come through against Clayton Kershaw.
No such need arose. Instead, Wainwright said, he's spending the day at home, exercising his green thumb.
"I had a feeling we were gonna do it," Wainwright said as teammates popped champagne and splashed beer on each other in the home clubhouse at Busch Stadium. "I told our pitching coach, Derek Lilliquist, I told him, ‘I got a garden box to build tomorrow.’ I like going out and getting my hands dirty. I said, ‘We need to go ahead and win this thing so I can put that thing together tomorrow.’ I designed it, it feels like home (in coastal Georgia), it’s a special thing for me. ‘So let’s go and close this series out. Let’s get to work.’ "
The Cardinals did some raking against L.A., coming away with a 9-0 victory that ought to have positive repercussions going forward.
The Cardinals have four days between games, with the opening of the World Series scheduled for Wednesday at the American League champion's ballpark. It gives Wainwright extra time to prepare for the Red Sox or Tigers and ... to garden. It also gives Cardinals manager Mike Matheny more flexibility in setting up his rotation for the World Series. It is assumed that Wainwright will get the call, but even he has been taken aback at how well Wacha has pitched in his first postseason. Wacha was named MVP of the NLCS after not allowing a run against the Dodgers in two starts.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: Michael Wacha is the 1st rookie with 2 scoreless starts in a single postseason series in MLB history (Elias). #BBTN
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) October 19, 2013
"I told ‘em, if we have enough time off, we might try to get Michael back in Game 1," Wainwright said with a wink. "No, I’m fired up, I’m excited. I look forward to game-planning for Game 1."
He's also excited to get planting.
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