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Cards line up Wainwright and Wacha for first two games

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  October 22, 2013 05:33 PM

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With the way Michael Wacha's been pitching in the postseason -- giving up just one run in three starts, shutting the Dodgers out of 6.2 innings in Game 2 of the NLDS and then giving up just two hits over seven innings in the decisive Game 6 -- it would have been reasonable to wonder if St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would give the 22-year-old rookie the nod as the World Series Game 1 starter.

But with 16 playoff starts on his resume (three in the World Series), no one's more trusted in this environment than Adam Wainwright.

It will be his fourth time starting a Game 1 and the first time he's done in it the World Series.

"I'm not surprised I'm pitching Game 1," Wainwright said. "I do think that for years and years to come, we're going to have -- those guys are going to push me, if I want to keep pitching Game 1s. They're incredibly talented, they're pitching great. And I couldn't ask for a better band of mates going forward."

Wacha will get the ball for Game 2, Matheny said. Things might seem like they've moved at warps speed for Wacha, who just last February was at Texas A&M pitching against Holy Cross, but Matheny said his path to being one of the Cardinals most dominant arms required a degree of patience.

"When I saw Michael early in spring, we had a couple of opportunities to put somebody in our pen, and I was ready to run with Michael right away," Matheny said. "But a kid at that point, not even a year out of college, we had to be careful. So it was a plan that we stuck to and John Mozeliak and the staff did a great job of allowing us at times.

"We would push him, and then back him off. He went into a six-man rotation, he was in the bullpen. Not to the point that we were being arrogant thinking that we would be right here right now, but we wanted to be prepared. If we did bring Michael up at the end and he threw the ball well, and he deserved get a start, we wouldn't be concerned with innings, and right now we're happy where we are."

More Tigers notes:

Allen Craig will be on the active roster, Matheny said. Craig has been sidelined since Sept. 4 with a foot injury.

Having the ability to use a DH makes Craig's presence that much more valuable.

"That gives us more depth," Matheny said. "We have a couple of hitters that we'd love to have in the lineup, and actually all season long we were in that situation, where we had a Matt Adams and Allen Craig and sometimes a Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday, that we were switching around, trying to find playing time for all those bats.

"But right now we feel comfortable with Allen as a DH. Once we get back to St. Louis we'll reevaluate, but we anticipate him being able to pinch-hit. But if he continues to progress and things look differently, we could make that change. But right now we're pretty happy with Matt Adams at first base."

Adron Chambers will come off the roster to make room for Craig

The Cardinals are actually staying in Boston this time around after being stuck in Quincy for the 2004 World Series.

"I think we were staying in Connecticut last time," Matheny said. "Boston is a beautiful city, especially this time of year, and I think we're all very happy to stay nice and close this time. It was about an $80 cab ride in '04."

Many of the young players were awestruck when they arrived at Fenway for their workout and media sessions.

"It's kind of fun watching a lot of these young players that have never seen Fenway Park," Matheny said. "So much nostalgia and history here. Watching them to go about it the first time. They all went out early, just like a bunch of kids, as soon as they got off the bus or the cab, they went straight out in the stands and looked around. It's a great experience.

"The atmosphere here, we know it's going to be wild and loud, and that's exactly what we want. That's exactly what you would hope for in a World Series setting. I know everybody is looking forward to it."

Right-hander Shelby Miller threw a simulated game and looked good, Matheny said.

Miller went 15-9 in the regular season but has only made one appearance in the playoffs, throwing one inning (and giving up a run) in Game 2 of the NLDS against Pittsburgh.

Whether that will change in the World Series is still uncertain.

"We're able to use him as needed," Matheny said.

Per Buster Olney's Twitter account, the Cardinals' sidelined starter Chris Carpenter took batting practice during the team workout and shot a few over the Monster.

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