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Adam Wainwright hopes to start the playoffs on a good note

Former closer looks to make a statement against the Dodgers.

October 08, 2009|Ben Bolch

Closing playoff games was a cinch for Adam Wainwright.

The right-hander hopes starting in the postseason will come just as naturally.

As a rookie fill-in closer for St. Louis three years ago, Wainwright memorably struck out the New York Mets' Carlos Beltran to end the National League Championship Series and then finished off the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

Wainwright went back to starting the next spring and will make his first postseason start today at Dodger Stadium in Game 2 of the NL division series. He said he still pitches with a closer's mind-set.

"What works best for me is taking a reliever mentality out there to start and get the guy out as fast as I can, get him out as many times as I can do it," Wainwright said Wednesday. "If I pace myself or try to save anything for the later parts of the [game] -- seventh, eighth, ninth [inning] -- I'm going to be out in the fourth. I figured that out in L.A., in '07."

That was when the Dodgers got to him for eight runs in 2 2/3 innings during a May start, prompting Wainwright to tell reporters he was "going to figure it out."

Wainwright has a 41-20 record since then and put himself in contention for the NL Cy Young Award this season by virtue of a 19-8 record and a 2.63 earned-run average.

"This guy has an ability to keep his concentration, keep his delivery, keep his guts together and he makes pitches in key situations," St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa said.

A red November?

Imagine this: Troy Glaus stepping to the plate at Angel Stadium to face John Lackey in a World Series game in November.

It could happen.

The duo that teamed to help the Angels win their only World Series title seven years ago could meet if Glaus' Cardinals and Lackey's Angels advance to baseball's biggest stage.

"I wish them all the luck," Glaus said. "I just wish us a little more."

Glaus, who struck out in the seventh inning in Game 1, is taking part in his first postseason since the Angels were swept by Boston in the 2004 American League division series. The Angels have only a handful of holdovers from that team, including Lackey, Scot Shields, Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero.

"A lot of the guys I played with aren't there anymore, but there are still a few," Glaus said. "If it turns out that there's a Cardinal-Angel World Series, that will be fun."

The Bonds treatment

Dodgers starter Randy Wolf intentionally walked Albert Pujols in two of the slugger's first three plate appearances in Game 1, and Pujols was stranded each time.

The Cardinals scored only one run after Wolf walked Pujols to load the bases with nobody out in the first inning and were unable to score after the left-hander issued another free pass to Pujols to put two runners on with two out in the fourth.


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