ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals had Adam Wainwright on standby, ready to pitch the elimination game if the National League Championship Series had extended a day longer. Now, they'll deploy him to kick off the World Series.
Manager Mike Matheny confirmed Sunday that Wainwright will take the ball for St. Louis in Game 1 of the World Series, which opens in Boston on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. CT airtime on FOX/ 7:07 p.m. CT first pitch). It will be Wainwright's fourth start of the postseason and first since a loss last Monday at Dodger Stadium.
"We love Waino on the mound," Matheny said on Sunday. "He's our guy that we build off of in more ways than just the production when he's on the mound. He's the guy that sets the tone for our club, especially our pitching staff. It's fitting that he'll be out there."
Wainwright opened and closed the NL Division Series with wins over the Pirates. The need to have him pitch in the final game of that series precluded him from pitching until Game 3 of the NLCS. In total, Wainwright has allowed four earned runs on 17 hits and one walk in 23 innings this postseason. He has struck out 20.
How the rotation lines up behind Wainwright has not officially been announced. With the break between the NLCS and World Series, the Cardinals have the flexibility to turn to any of their other starters in Game 2. Michael Wacha, who has allowed one run and eight hits in 21 postseason innings, would seem the likeliest candidate to immediately follow Wainwright.
General manager John Mozeliak confirmed that because of the limitations the Cardinals placed on Wacha over the summer, there are no concerns about having him make as many as two starts in the World Series.
The other rotation spots are expected to be filled again by Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn. The Cardinals do not seem to have any plans to reinsert Shelby Miller into the rotation after placing him in the bullpen at the start of the month.
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.