10/14/2002 7:50 pm ET
MLBeat: Martinez on bench
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- So much for postseason experience.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa removed first baseman Tino Martinez -- he of the four World Series rings and eight straight playoff appearances -- from his lineup on Monday. Regular left fielder Albert Pujols will play first base. Essentially, the move boils down to right-handed hitting Eduardo Perez taking the lefty Martinez's spot in the order against Giants lefty Kirk Rueter.
Perez will play right field and bat fifth, with J.D. Drew also sitting against the lefty. Miguel Cairo, who was out of the lineup the last two nights, was called on to start at third base, and Eli Marrero will make his third straight start in left field.
"I think Tino's had a tough time getting hits, even though a lot of the time he hits the ball hard enough to get some," La Russa said. "Eddie has had a couple of good at-bats against Rueter, so it just seems like it gives us a better lineup today."
Cairo is 7-for-12 in the postseason, putting pressure on the manager to get him back in the lineup. Scott Rolen, the Cardinals' usual third baseman, remains unavailable to start, forcing some of the lineup shuffling.
Rolen not available: La Russa said that Rolen, who is suffering from a sprained left shoulder, remains unavailable for Game 5. However, the team has not given up on the possibility that its All-Star third baseman could play in a potential sixth game in St. Louis.
"We are still holding out hope that maybe he could be available Wednesday," La Russa said.
Schedule change: If a sixth game is necessary in the NLCS, it will start later than originally announced. Game 6 was initially scheduled to have a late afternoon start time. But because the American League Championship Series ended in five games, the NLCS will be pushed back to prime time. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
How long are the odds? Since 1995, a total of 31 teams have been in the Cardinals' position -- needing to win three straight games in a postseason series. That includes teams that trailed 2-0 in the Division Series and 3-0 or 3-1 in the LCS or World Series. Of those 31 teams, four (12.9 percent) have come back to win the series: the 2001 Yankees against the A's in the Division Series, the 1999 Red Sox against the Indians in the Division Series, the 1996 Braves against the Cardinals in the NLCS and the 1995 Mariners against the Yankees in the Division Series. Thirteen of the 31 trailing teams won at least one game in the must-win situation.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at Matthew_H_Leach@yahoo.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.