Rookie right-hander Shelby Miller won't be the only Cardinals starter ready for bullpen duty in Game 5 of their NL division series against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said Lance Lynn, chased in the fifth inning of Game 2, will be available as well. Lynn has failed to qualify for a victory in any of his three career postseason starts.
Miller led major league rookies with 15 wins but is adjusting to being the odd man out in the playoff rotation so far. He's worked just one inning in the series, and noted "I have no idea when I'm going to pitch" and added it felt "like I haven't thrown forever."
The Pirates are iffy about using starter A.J. Burnett in a relief role.
Burnett has an unsightly 31.50 ERA in the series after eight straight Cardinals batters reached safely to start their seven-run third inning in Game 1, and he has very little experience out of the bullpen. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle all but ruled out lefty Francisco Liriano, the Game 3 starter who "poured his whole tank out the other day" and has also been dealing with flulike symptoms.
All of Burnett's eight career postseason appearances have been starts. Only five of his 375 career outings have been in relief.
"A.J.'s preparation is such that I don't know, we'd have to talk to him," Hurdle said. "He takes a nice routine to get in line to go, so I'm not sure."
Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole will start Game 5 after a strong outing in Game 2. Adam Wainwright gets the ball for St. Louis.
AT HOME IN THE DOME: Tropicana Field, the site of Games 3 and 4 in the AL division series between Tampa Bay and Boston, has produced some strange plays over the years due to odd features like the overhanging catwalks.
But visiting manager John Farrell of the Red Sox pointed out that the dome stadium does have one big benefit:
"Well, the pros are you know you're going to play at the designated time every night," Farrell said. "Every ballpark is going to have its quirks, its intricacies. I think everyone that comes in here and plays a number of games is well aware there is some other things that they have to contend with."
Farrell added that both teams play under the same conditions.
"So, there's nothing in our minds that is a detriment to playing a game here," he said.
FAMILIAR FOE: Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams knew plenty about the Pirates growing up just down the road in Philipsburg, Pa. He's a little surprised he never got their attention.
"I didn't hear anything from the Pirates, and I played 40 minutes from their backyard," Adams said Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Adams set several career records as an all-state catcher at Philipsburg-Osceola High "smack dab in the middle of the state," with fans divided between the Pirates and Phillies.
Adams set more marks staying in state for college at Slippery Rock, where he batted .495 with 14 homers his junior year and was a Division II All-American.
Still, nothing from the Pirates. The Cardinals drafted him in the 23rd round in 2009, and Adams slugged his way to the majors.
Adams said he was a "bit of a Pirates fan" growing up, but mostly was a Ken Griffey Jr. fan.
SURPISE, SURPRISE: Stuart Sternberg had to admit it.
The Tampa Bay owner was surprised when catcher Jose Lobaton hit a game-winning solo homer off Boston closer Koji Uehara with two outs in the ninth inning of the Rays' 5-4, Game 3 victory Monday night in the AL division series.
Uehara had not allowed a homer since Toronto's Jose Bautista took him deep on June 30, a span of 37 regular-season outings and one playoff appearance.
The Red Sox right-hander had easily retired Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria before throwing a first-pitch strike to Lobaton, who then sent the second pitch he saw into the giant fish tank beyond center field that is home to a group of cownose rays.
"It was absolutely unexpected," Sternberg said before Game 4 on Tuesday night. "After seeing the two guys who made outs and then the way the first pitch was, you do all the calculations."
Lobaton, however, hit a splitter and the game was suddenly over.
"Everything stopped ... it ended," a smiling Sternberg said.
HANK'S YANKS: New York Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner admitted it's very tough watching the playoffs without his team participating.
The Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the second time in 19 years and finished with an 85-77 record, their poorest since 1992. All-Stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson missed much of the season due to injuries.
"At some point, you're going to miss out," Steinbrenner said Tuesday. "It happens, especially with injuries. You've just got to toughen up and move on. But it is difficult, very difficult. Just like the fans, I'm used to seeing us in there, and it's strange when we're not."
Steinbrenner lives in Tampa, Fla., about 30 minutes from Tropicana Field, where the Rays and Red Sox played Game 4 of their AL division series Tuesday night.
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