Notes: Weaver gets nod for Game 2
Cardinals tab Suppan to pitch Game 3 against Padres
SAN DIEGO -- Acknowledging some overwhelming split statistics, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa announced Monday that Jeff Weaver will start Game 2 of St. Louis' National League Division Series against San Diego, with Jeff Suppan pushed back to Game 3.
Suppan is widely acknowledged as the club's No. 2 starter, but he has been significantly more effective at home than on the road. Weaver, meanwhile, has an opposite breakdown. With the series opening in San Diego, the setup allows Weaver to pitch at PETCO Park and Suppan to go at Busch Stadium.
Ace Chris Carpenter will start Game 1 and, if necessary, Game 4, with a potential Game 5 starter to be determined.
"We're going to announce the pitchers for the first four games and then we'll see what happens in Game 5," La Russa said.
Suppan went 7-2 with a 3.18 ERA in the first season of new Busch Stadium, as opposed to 5-5, 5.36 on the road. Weaver was 4-1 with a 4.03 ERA on the road as a Cardinal, as opposed to 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA at home.
Weaver could pitch on short rest in a potential Game 5, or the Cards could turn to either Anthony Reyes or Jason Marquis. The manager would not divulge the makeup of his series roster. The club faces decisions among pitchers and position players as it narrows down to a 25-man unit.
Wainwright is the man: After spending the last four weeks without a single, designated closer, La Russa acknowledged Monday that given the chance, he will use Adam Wainwright to finish off games in the playoffs.
Since Jason Isringhausen was sidelined with a hip injury, the Cardinals have had few save chances, but La Russa was willing to use Wainwright before the ninth in the right circumstances. In one game, he brought Wainwright in to pitch the seventh and eighth with a lead, holding Braden Looper for the save chance.
In the playoffs, that's much less likely to be the case. Thanks in part to the extra days off that allow a manager to use individual relievers in more games, La Russa will typically funnel his bullpen toward the rookie right-hander.
"I just think we've got a really good thing going with Braden," La Russa said. "He was really solid [as a setup man] with Izzy behind him. And I think if the game allows, that's what I would do. But I would have no hesitation if the matchups were right to have Braden pitch the ninth."
Edmonds flies: Jim Edmonds made the trip with the Cardinals and is expected to be on the active roster. Approximately a week and a half earlier, Edmonds was cleared to play, but not to fly to Houston. However, his post-concussion syndrome did not hinder him from flying to San Diego on Monday.
"I got off the plane and got here and everything was good, and hopefully it stays that way," he said.
Edmonds continues to deal with a sore left foot, which is the more limiting issue at this time. He had a cortisone shot on Monday morning before boarding the flight. The eight-time Gold Glover does not expect that the shot will keep him from playing.
"If that's going to be sore, then I'll get another one," he said. "I think we did a little one today and we'll see how it goes."
Still, there remains an issue of how much La Russa will use Edmonds. The lefty-swinging outfielder has struggled mightily against left-handed pitching, and his physical troubles have frustrated the manager.
"I anticipate having an honest conversation with him about how he is physically," La Russa said.
"The makeup of our outfield, especially the first two games, is going to be a tough call. Jim is part of that, because it's a big center field. But we really have a lot of options there -- a lot of good options -- and only three guys can play. ...
"The answer is, Jim's a real good player if he can play. But if he's hurting, then he could be protection. So we need to have that conversation with him."
Good to go: La Russa said that none of his banged-up players would be kept off the roster or out of action due to physical issues. Josh Hancock has been dealing with some lower abdominal pain, and David Eckstein is still getting better after sustaining a strained left hamstring.
Take a break: The Cardinals did not work out at PETCO Park on Monday. The players who were with the team all year held a meeting to determine the distribution of playoff shares. Other players were free to go after brief media availability. The team's last off-day was Sept. 14, so La Russa determined his team could use a breather.
Umpires announced: Major League Baseball announced the umpires for the Division Series on Monday. Working the Cardinals-Padres series will be the following men in blue: Gerry Davis (crew chief), Bill Welke, Brian Gorman, Greg Gibson, Wally Bell and Marty Foster.
This date in Cardinals history: On Oct. 2, 2005, the Cardinals played the last regular-season game at the second park to be called Busch Stadium. St. Louis beat the Reds, 7-5, to close out the old stadium. Matt Morris pitched three innings as the starter, Chris Duncan hit the last home run at the park and Jason Isringhausen recorded the final out for the save.
Coming up: Carpenter faces Jake Peavy at PETCO on Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT. The game will be carried on ESPN.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.