MILWAUKEE -- The Cardinals will continue with their rotation order unchanged for their upcoming series against Washington. How the club slots in its starting pitchers for its final series of the season next weekend, however, depend on its positioning within the division.
As it is set now, ace Adam Wainwright will start against the Nationals on Monday. His rotation spot would then come up next on Sunday, the final game of the regular season. But pitching Wainwright on Sunday would preclude the right-hander from being able to pitch in the first game of the postseason -- whether that be a Division Series or Wild Card game.
Manager Mike Matheny said it is "too early" to speculate on how the team could alter its pitching plans to set up for the postseason. If the Cardinals have the division won before next Sunday, it's unlikely the Cardinals would send Wainwright out to the mound that day.
The Cardinals will have added flexibility, too, because of Thursday's off-day. That would allow them to actually pitch Wainwright on normal rest Saturday, if the team knew it would not need him for a Tuesday Wild Card game. The club was intentional about structuring the rotation so that Wainwright would be available to pitch on the final day of the year should the Cardinals be in a situation where they need a win that day.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.