After playing coy for two days, La Russa finally confirmed the unsurprising decision on Friday afternoon, a few hours before first pitch.
"Actually didn't decide until this morning," La Russa said. "And I think first of all, [pitching coach Dave Duncan] had a real heart-to-heart with him to gauge just how ready he was to pitch just physically, not mentally but physically. And then I think if he would be available to pitch, he probably would have pitched in this game sometime. [It] makes sense to start him -- goes through his routine, gives us all he has. And it made less sense, I think, to come out of the bullpen at some point -- got to rush, warm up, warm him up once, you don't use him, all that stuff. It's complicated."
La Russa acknowledged that it would have been difficult to face his club without having used his ace in the final game of the season. Carpenter pitched Game 1 and Game 5 of the Series.