Wainwright's start shifted in line with NLDS
Cardinals righty will pitch on Saturday, Kelly set for Sunday's finale
ST. LOUIS -- Though the Cardinals have yet to set a postseason rotation, at least one piece of the puzzle appears to be in place.
Manager Mike Matheny announced on Friday that Adam Wainwright will start Saturday's game against the Cubs with Joe Kelly closing out the regular-season slate on Sunday. Starting Wainwright on Saturday will line him up to pitch Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday.
Should the Cardinals squander their three-game lead over the Pirates in the NL Central, Wainwright would then be unavailable to start the Wild Card Game on Tuesday.
With Wainwright likely pegged for the NLDS opener, every other St. Louis starter would be available to pitch Game 2 on Friday, with all but Kelly getting additional days' rest.
The 32-year-old Wainwright leads St. Louis in innings pitched and has tossed a career-high 236 1/3 this season. His next start will match his 2009 career high of 34. If Wainwright earns his 19th win on Saturday, it will tie him with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for the NL lead.
"What had as much factor of anything was sitting and talking with [Wainwright] about what he feels gives him the best chance to be successful, and just continuing to treat the ace of the staff and as if were the ace of the staff," Matheny said. "[We] continue to listen to these guys and how their body feels, and he feels good. He's been on regular rest for a while. I think he's ready to just stay here."
• After going 1-for-3 in Friday night's 7-0 win over the Cubs, Matt Carpenter is one hit shy of becoming the first Cardinals player with 200 or more in a single season since Albert Pujols' 212 in 2003. Carpenter's 199 hits are the most in the National League.
• The Cardinals can set the record for most wins at Busch Stadium III this weekend. Friday's win moved them to 52-27 at home, matching the previous high for wins in 2010. The club record will stand at 60-17, set by the 1942 Cardinals at Sportsman's Park.
• Matheny put former closer Edward Mujica back on the mound on Friday night -- a brief one-pitch appearance to retire Darwin Barney on a popup for the final out in the seventh. Mujica hadn't pitched since Sept. 20, after he blowing his third save opportunity in his last five chances. The Cardinals are hoping to allow the right-hander to build some confidence before defining his role going forward.
"Just get some confidence going again. It's huge in any role, but especially for a guy who has been pitching later in the game," Matheny said. "... When things start happening and going in the wrong direction and it just seems to snowball on you and it's hard to get it stopped and rolling the other direction, you just need to have a little bit of success to help you get going in that direction again."
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.