"I was told by 'Carp' that he would be ready to go," La Russa said. "I think most important is for us to concentrate [on Game] 6. We did this even before the rainout. I think I mentioned to somebody that Dave [Duncan, pitching coach] and I have a really good idea how we could be very competitive in Game 7 had we played today. I don't think that'll change tomorrow if we win."
MLB officials held a conference call at 1 p.m. CT to discuss the weather situation, and shortly after 2 p.m. CT, the game was postponed. The last World Series game to be postponed before it started was Game 4 in 2006 in St. Louis, which was made up the following day. The Cardinals went on to win that Series against the Tigers in five games.
More recently, Game 5 of the 2008 World Series between the Phillies and Rays was suspended for two days after heavy rain hit in the sixth inning. Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of on-field operations, said that experience did not factor in the decision -- rather, he said, it came down to the magnitude of the game and the much nicer forecast for the next two days.
"Because of the forecast, there was no reason to wait any longer," Torre said, "and the earlier we can do it, the more people can change plans and do what they need to do, and including the players and managers, too."
While the rainout is no fun for ticketholders, there's a chance it might ultimately work to the Cardinals' advantage. St. Louis currently has no listed probable starter for a potential seventh game, though Kyle Lohse was the most likely candidate in the absence of a rainout.
But if the Cards win Game 6 to force a seventh game for the first time in the World Series since 2002, they could then use Carpenter on three days' rest rather than Lohse, Jake Westbrook or turning it into a "bullpen game." Asked what might keep Carpenter out of a seventh game, La Russa cited health concerns but still seemed very much open to the possibility. Carpenter would not be available in relief in Game 6.
"[We] just want him to have a long and prosperous career," La Russa said. "I'll tell you, either getting to Game 7 or winning a seventh game, whether it's Chris Carpenter or anybody, we will not jeopardize an arm. ... It seems like a push to think that he could contribute anything [in Game 6] without jeopardizing his career. Three days' rest, I mean, already done that. So we'd all feel better about [Game] 7 if we needed him."
Carpenter pitched on three days' rest in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Phillies and lasted three innings, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks. He has recently dealt with some elbow discomfort, so it is not necessarily a slam dunk that he would get the call in a winner-take-all Series finale.
As for Game 6, La Russa said that he expects to keep Rafael Furcal in the leadoff spot in his lineup and to play Nick Punto at second base. He will once again start Skip Schumaker in center field over the slumping Jon Jay, but will move Schumaker up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. Westbrook and Game 4 starter Edwin Jackson will both be available in relief in Game 6.
The forecast for that game calls for cool temperatures but no rain. It is expected that both Game 6 and a potential Game 7 should go off without any real interruption from the weather.
"One thing that you can't do is mess with Mother Nature," said Albert Pujols. "Obviously, we came ready to play today and they postponed it. I think an extra day of rest will be good for us, and I think for Texas, too. We'll see how it looks tomorrow and come with the same attitude, ready to play."