Notes: Lone roster move significant
Reyes to start Game 4 instead of Marquis; Rolen ready to go
NEW YORK -- The Cardinals made just one change to their roster from the National League Division Series to this week's Championship Series, but it was a significant one. Left off of the NLCS roster was Jason Marquis, with Anthony Reyes taking his place.
That means Reyes is the starter for Game 4 of the series at Busch Stadium on Sunday.
"The spot between Anthony and Jason came down to starting Game 4," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "That game is in St. Louis, and Jason has been struggling there lately. I don't think it's a fair challenge for him. What's not good for him is not good for us."
Neither pitcher got a start in the Division Series, with Marquis kept on the roster as a potential reliever or emergency pinch-hitter or pinch-runner. The NLCS schedule will require the Cards to use a four-man rotation, rather than three. St. Louis will carry seven relief pitchers.
It's the second straight year that Marquis will not appear in the starting rotation for the NLCS, but the first time since he's been a Cardinal that the right-hander has actually been left off a playoff roster. Marquis, 28, is a native of the New York area. He declined to comment to reporters before leaving Shea Stadium on Wednesday.
"The fact that he's been an important member for three years -- and he has a lot of respect and admiration and affection from his teammates -- that weighed," La Russa said. "But I think whatever anybody's opinion is -- whether it's our teammates, whether it's [media], fans, ownership, front office -- what's clear is that the obligation is the best shot to win."
In 33 starts, Marquis posted 14 wins but also lost 16 and recorded the highest ERA (6.02) of any pitcher who pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. Reyes, who turns 25 on Monday, went 5-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 17 starts for St. Louis this year. His ERA is somewhat skewed by a short-rest start on the season's final day.
In nine career postseason appearances, three starts, Marquis has a 2-3 record with a 4.57 ERA. Reyes has never pitched in a playoff game.
"I don't get too excited," Reyes said. "I just try to think of it as another game and not think about how big this game is."
One option for St. Louis would have been to carry both starters, and cut back to six relievers. But in a series where the Cards bullpen will likely be tested, La Russa and the team's staff elected not to scratch any of their bullpenners.
"There is a roster that you could have put together that had both Anthony and Jason on it," La Russa said. "But ... it would have had to be a right-handed reliever, and there wasn't a right-handed reliever that we should keep off there. Every one of those guys has thrown well."
The Cards will carry 14 position players and 11 pitchers on their NLCS roster, the same breakdown as they had in the Division Series. The full roster is as follows:
Pitchers (11): Chris Carpenter, Randy Flores, Josh Hancock, Tyler Johnson, Josh Kinney, Braden Looper, Anthony Reyes, Jeff Suppan, Brad Thompson, Adam Wainwright, Jeff Weaver
Hitters (14): Ronnie Belliard, Gary Bennett, Chris Duncan, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Juan Encarnacion, Aaron Miles, Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, John Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Scott Spiezio, So Taguchi, Preston Wilson
Rolen good to go: Rolen will start at third base in Game 1 on Thursday night, and he would have done so if the contest had been Wednesday as originally scheduled. Rolen has been cleared to play after receiving a shot to ease pain and inflammation in his left shoulder.
"I think he's ready to go," La Russa said. "If I didn't think he was ready to go, I wouldn't be playing him."
Rough trip: The Cardinals' bus from their hotel in Midtown Manhattan was delayed by more than an hour as it made its way to Shea Stadium on Wednesday. A combination of bad weather, typical New York traffic and the plane crash that claimed the life of pitcher Cory Lidle all led to major issues for the bus. Players and officials arrived at Shea about 4:35 p.m. CT for a scheduled 7:19 start, despite having a police escort.
HOF add: In honor of the 80th anniversary of the franchise's first World Series championship, the Cardinals announced Tuesday that they've acquired a significant piece of memorabilia from that title. The jersey Grover Cleveland Alexander was wearing when he closed Game 7 of the 1926 World Series will now appear at the Cardinals Hall of Fame in downtown St. Louis.
This date in Cardinals history: On Oct. 11, 1964, Ken Boyer's grand slam gave the Cardinals a key 4-3 win in Game 4 of the World Series. The Yankees chased Ray Sadecki in the first inning, and the 3-0 New York advantage held until the sixth, when Boyer went deep off Al Downing. St. Louis' win at Yankee Stadium evened the series at two games apiece; the Cards went on to win it in seven.
Coming up: They'll try again to play Game 1 of the NLCS on Thursday night at Shea Stadium. As originally scheduled, Weaver will face the Mets' Tom Glavine. The first pitch is scheduled to take place at 7:19 p.m. CT, with the broadcast starting on FOX at 7 p.m. CT.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.