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Notes: Staff must throw strikes
10/25/2004 8:18 PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- When you lose two straight games, and allow 17 runs in those two games, more than one thing went wrong. But one big thing has gone wrong for the Cardinals thus far in the World Series: they're not throwing strikes.

St. Louis pitchers have issued 14 walks in two games, and that, more than anything, has helped the Red Sox score 17 runs. The team that ranked second in the National League in walks allowed has been pitching behind in the count and getting in trouble as a result of it.

"I think they're just trying to do too much," pitching coach Dave Duncan said of his hurlers. "I think they're trying to make the perfect pitch, and it's not always necessary to make the perfect pitch. So we'll be a little bit more aggressive in the next few games, and we'll see how that works."

Boston scored the most runs in the Majors this season, so it's understandable that the Cards would want to be careful in approaching the Red Sox lineup. But maybe not this careful.

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"It's not characteristic of our ballclub, of our pitching staff," Duncan said. "During the season, we didn't walk guys. We were second in the league in fewest walks given up. So it's not characteristic of our pitching staff, and I don't think that you'll see that in the remaining games of the series."

Manager Tony La Russa said he doesn't think anybody is pitching scared.

"I think they have a very good lineup," La Russa said. "I can give you a bunch of lineups in the National League that are good lineups, and we dealt with them. I don't think we executed like we had to. For whatever the reasons. It's not the way we pitch and we got hurt for it."

Sunday night's Game 2 may have turned on a pair of first-inning walks. After retiring the first two batters and getting ahead of Manny Ramirez 0-2, Matt Morris walked Ramirez and David Ortiz. Jason Varitek followed with a two-run triple, and the Cardinals never led the game.

"Matt Morris had very good stuff last night," said Duncan. "He had good enough stuff that he could have pitched a winning game with it. I think walking Ramirez and Ortiz in the first inning definitely was a negative for him. Then he made a mistake to Varitek. That's how runs get scored.

"All of our pitchers are better when they pitch aggressively."

Marquis still a go: Jason Marquis pitched an inning of relief in Sunday's Game 2, but that doesn't mean that he's out of the Cards' plans for Game 4 on Wednesday night in St. Louis. The right-hander is still St. Louis' scheduled starter for that game. In fact, the inning he tossed on Sunday makes the team even more comfortable with sending Marquis out for the first World Series start of his career.

"One of the bright spots last night is Jason got a chance to get out there and make some pitches," La Russa said Monday. "He pitches better when he's had some activity. So now he'll take his two days and he will be the Game 4 pitcher."

Sunday would have marked Marquis' regular four days' rest, but the Redbirds elected to go with Morris in Games 2 and 6 and bump Marquis back to Game 4.

Duncan said on Monday that he believes any problems with Marquis tipping his pitches have been solved.

   Ray King  /   P
Born: 01/15/74
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 245 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

Left alone: The absence of Steve Kline means a bigger role for fellow lefty reliever Ray King, but King said he's not going about things any differently now that he's the only southpaw in the bullpen.

"Pressure is when you have bills to pay and you don't have money to pay them," King told reporters at Monday's workout. "That's pressure. This is the game of baseball. I thrive in this situation. I miss Kliner, having to get up two or three times the other night. But I live up to this.

"Whoever I've got to come in and face, (Trot) Nixon or (David) Ortiz or whoever it is, I'm up to the challenge. This is what I do and I feel like I'm pretty good at it."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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