"I don't think that's a frame of mind our ballclub should have," La Russa said when he was asked in a pregame news conference. "Why should you talk about Game 4? You have an opportunity to win a game and not have it. I mean, why raise a question that you're even doing the kind of preparation?
"Our idea is we're going to play as hard as we can, as good as we can. If we're good enough, we don't have to worry about tomorrow. If we do the best we can, they beat us, tip our cap and we'll talk about it tomorrow. I don't even want to have a hint of that messing around with our team."
The candidates for the start are Jason Marquis and Jeff Suppan. Ideally for La Russa and the Cardinals, they would simply end the series in three games on Saturday night and not have to deal with the question.
One pitcher who has been ruled out of the start is Chris Carpenter. After pitching in the series opener, Carpenter could go on four days' rest in the fourth game. However, Carpenter will be held out for either a potential fifth game or the opener of the National League Championship Series, should the Redbirds eliminate the Friars.
"If we get to Game 5, Chris Carpenter is the pitcher for that game," La Russa said.
Mulder better, still not ready: Mark Mulder reported continued improvement in his sore left arm on Saturday, two days after he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Joe Randa. Mulder is still unable to throw in the bullpen, however, and La Russa ruled him out of even a relief appearance in a potential Game 5.
"I know it's way better today than it was yesterday," Mulder said before Saturday's game. "But whether I could go throw right now? No. There's no way. Hopefully if it gets better like it did from yesterday to today, then tomorrow, we'll see."
Mulder experienced less bruising and more mobility on Saturday than on Friday.
"It was black and blue," Mulder said. "I don't really turn black and blue that easy. It got me pretty good. All the fluid is just kind of going away now. It's still swollen a little bit. I don't know what you want to call it. It's not just in that one spot anymore.
"It doesn't really hurt. It's just, everything is tight. Because when you get hit there, everything protects it. So it made my shoulder tight. It made everything tight."
Arizona update: The Surprise Scorpions remained undefeated, going 3-0 in Arizona Fall League play with a 7-2 win over Phoenix. Right-hander Rich Scalamandre made his AFL debut with two hitless innings, allowing an unearned run and striking out two against one walk. Other Cardinals farmhands getting in the game were Cody Haerther, going 0-3 with a walk and a run scored, and Gabe Johnson, who went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts as Surprise's catcher.
Today in Cardinals postseason history: On Oct. 8, 1967, the Cardinals moved within one win of their second World Series championship in four years behind -- you guessed it -- Bob Gibson. The eventual Hall of Famer went the route in a 6-0 win over the Red Sox, allowing five hits, one walk and striking out five. The Cards chased Boston starter Jose Santiago with a four-run, six-hit first inning and never looked back.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less