Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

October 11, 2013

Kelly, Greinke set for Game 1 of NLCS

ST. LOUIS — Carpets were still drying out from a champagne bath and a few players looked bleary eyed after a workout at Busch Stadium. A day after advancing, there wasn't much time to rest for the St. Louis Cardinals.

"Obviously, it was a great celebration and a lot of fun,'' reliever John Axford said Thursday. "The clubhouse guys, I don't know if they even went home.''

The Los Angeles Dodgers don't have home-field advantage in the NL championship series, but they got a few extra days to savor early postseason success. Zack Greinke was getting ready to go in Game 5, then went on stand-by, and now he guards against feeling too good in the opener Friday night.

"Once we won it, it was just kind of make the best adjustments possible,'' Greinke said. "I mean, there's not much you can really do.''

No telling which side will benefit, the team on a roll or the team coming off a break. Joe Kelly, who flourished as a replacement starter with St. Louis and gets the call for Game 1, was elevated to the fifth starting spot and then waited almost two weeks before actually getting on the mound.

"You could be laid off for eight days and come out and play absolutely the best baseball you've ever done,'' Kelly said. "You could come out and play the next day and not have a good game. This is all about execution.''

As a youth, Kelly was a budding skateboard star with a sponsor. Like other Cardinals youngsters, he's seemed oblivious to the pressure.

"It's Game 1 of the NLCS, but me being me, I'm going to go out there and just pitch like it's another game,'' he said.

The staff aces won't go until later in the best-of-seven series, with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw set for Game 2 and the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright ready for Game 3.

Rookie Michael Wacha, who has flirted with a no-hitter his last two starts, goes in Game 2 for St. Louis. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he'd probably announce the rest of the starting assignments on game day.

The series matches a largely homegrown team seeking its second World Series appearance in three years against one that's been among the biggest spenders trying to get there for the first time in a quarter-century. The Dodgers spent well over $200 million to put together their team.

"I think the payroll gets thrown out there in general, and then it becomes an expectation,'' Mattingly said. "You've got these high-profile guys, you've got big names, guys making big money, you're supposed to win.''

They won the NL West for the first time in four years, then eliminated the Braves in four games in the NLDS.

Greinke is among a half-dozen Dodgers making $15 million or more and Mattingly said it's like having a pair of aces.

"So it's nice to start a series with a guy of his caliber,'' Mattingly said. "In this environment, it's nice to have those two right on top.''

St. Louis led the National League with 97 wins, including a major league-high 33 by rookie pitchers. The Cardinals' payroll is at about $119 million outlay, a large chunk going to players like Chris Carpenter, Jason Motte and Rafael Furcal who didn't make it to opening day and another, Jaime Garcia, who was sidelined for the year in mid-May.

The Dodgers won three of four in St. Louis in August, notably limiting rookie Shelby Miller to just two pitches in one start after taking a liner by Carl Crawford off his elbow.

This is the third straight NLCS appearance for the Cardinals, who'll try to keep winning without their cleanup man. Allen Craig met with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday for a second opinion on a left mid-foot sprain that's sidelined him since early September.

General manager John Mozeliak said the team expected to learn about therapy options "if we're going to try to get him ready for the next series.'' Craig's .454 average with runners in scoring position led the majors.

"It's a tough injury and one you can't be aggressive with,'' the GM said.

Replacement starter Matt Adams' two-run homer helped the Cardinals finish off the Pirates with a 6-1 victory in Game 5.

Mozeliak said the Cardinals would likely not make any roster changes for a series matching their largely homegrown roster against the free-spending Dodgers.

Mattingly isn't optimistic that outfielder Andre Ethier, limited to three at-bats in the division series by a left ankle injury, will be ready for regular duty in the series after getting pushed in a workout Wednesday.

"Honestly, for me, it didn't look that great out in center field,'' Mattingly said. "This is the playoffs and you've got to be able to play 100 percent or pretty much full speed.''



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0114web.jpg SOCCER: JV Lady Zebras edge Verdigris, 2-1

    Claremore sophomore forward Brylee Brasher may have felt a little out of position Monday night during the junior varsity game against Verdigris.
    Normally, starting in the goal for the Lady Zebras varsity team, Brasher came out of her comfort zone to start at forward for the Claremore JV.
    The position switch proved to be a great decision for head coach Robin Sutherland, as Brasher showed a tenacity on offense that led to Claremore’s 2-1 win over Verdigris.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hart: Vols hoops job still 'extremely attractive'

    Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart believes the criticism former men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin encountered this season won't hinder the Volunteers' search for a successor.

    April 17, 2014

  • BIG 12 MBB: Kansas State gives Weber 1-year contract extension

    Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber has received a one-year contract extension through the 2018-19 school year after leading the Wildcats to 47 wins in his first two seasons, the most victories by any coach in his first two years in school history.

    April 17, 2014

  • NCAA MEN'S BB: Manning completes Wake Forest coaching staff

    New Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning is bringing three members of his Tulsa coaching staff with him.

    April 17, 2014

  • NCAA MEN'S BB: Duke's Parker declares for NBA Draft

    Duke freshman Jabari Parker is entering the NBA draft.
    Coach Mike Krzyzewski says in a statement Thursday it was ''an honor for us to have him in our program.'' In an essay posted on SI.com, Parker says the NBA offers him the best chance to develop both as a player and off the court.

    April 17, 2014

  • NBA: Blake Griffin's 16th technical triggers 1-game suspension

    Blake Griffin has picked up his 16th technical foul of the season, triggering a league-mandated one-game suspension.

    April 17, 2014

  • NBA CAPSULES: Wizards top Celtics, clinch playoff berth

    Bradley Beal scored 27 points and Washington clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 118-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
    The Wizards will be facing Chicago in their first playoff appearance since 2008.

    April 17, 2014

  • Let the (real) games begin: It's NBA playoff time

    Finally, the NBA playoffs are set.
    It took the entire season to fill out those brackets.
    Overtime thrillers in Memphis and Charlotte, a go-ahead dunk in Oklahoma City to win a game and cap another scoring title for Kevin Durant, plus some good old-fashioned disinterest by Brooklyn ... all that, and more, on the final night of the season was needed before the eight conference-quarterfinal matchups in this season's NBA playoffs could be decided.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hopes high Negro Leagues stadium makes comeback

    The light touch of a paint roller is enough to dislodge a chunk of plaster from the crumbling walls of Hinchliffe Stadium.
    Though silent for decades, the former home of several Negro Leagues teams is getting another chance at bat as baseball's first National Historic Landmark.

    April 17, 2014