10/04/09 2:35 PM EST
Smoltz, Lohse to be in 'pen early in NLDS
Both remain candidates to start Game 4 against Dodgers
By B.J. Rains / MLB.com
Both are candidates to start a possible Game 4 in St. Louis, but manager Tony La Russa confirmed Sunday morning that the pair will be on his list of available relievers for the first two games of the series.
"If you need John for one hitter or one big inning, that's what he's done," La Russa said. "You look at Lohse for more, multiple innings."
The bigger news is Smoltz, who is 15-4 with a 2.65 ERA in his career in the postseason and is considered one of the greatest playoff pitchers of all-time. The righty had a similar experience in the 1999 NLCS with the Atlanta Braves, when he earned the save in Game 2, started Game 4 and came out of the 'pen again in Game 6.
"And that was when my elbow was at its worst with Atlanta," Smoltz said. "So I've done it before.
"Everything changes in a best-of-five series. In a best of five, obviously, you're just trying to win. In a best of seven, it's more uniformed, but in a best of five, you just have to win Game 1 and go from there."
Smoltz is 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in seven starts since joining the Cardinals. Lohse, who has battled several nagging injuries this season, is 6-10 with a 4.74 ERA.
B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.