Friday, October 28, 2011
Chris Carpenter in, Matt Holliday out
ESPN.com news services
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter will pitch Game 7 of the World Series Friday night, while left fielder Matt Holliday will not play because of a wrist injury.
The team confirmed manager Tony La Russa's selection for the deciding game against the Texas Rangers several hours before the first pitch Friday night.
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La Russa said he decided Friday morning after consulting with pitching coach Dave Duncan, who gave the thumbs up.
"Dave had a real heart-to-heart with him to gauge just how ready he was to pitch just physically, not mentally but physically," La Russa said. "And then I think if he would be available to pitch, he probably would have pitched in this game sometime. ...
"He's the guy our club wants to have out there, and he's ready to take it," La Russa said. "Plain and simple. He's our guy."
La Russa could have chosen Kyle Lohse or Edwin Jackson, both well rested, but leaned on his 36-year-old ace.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals said Holliday was scratched because of a sprained right wrist. Originally, the team said he bruised his right pinkie sliding back into third base when he was picked off by catcher Mike Napoli in the sixth inning of Game 6 Thursday.
"As the night went on my wrist started bothering me pretty bad to the point where I couldn't sleep," Holliday said Friday. "As the night went on I thought 'Wow, maybe the adrenaline wore off.'"
Holliday said doctors found "pretty substantial inflammation" in the wrist and one told him he would need three weeks to recover.
"It's frustrating. This is something you look forward to," Holliday said. "But this is a team game. It's not about me."
It's the final setback of an injury-plagued season. Holliday was on the DL twice with an appendectomy and quadriceps injury. He had to leave a game in August when a moth got stuck in his ear, and he injured a tendon on his right middle finger late in the year.
"It would be nice to kind of get it all out of the way and hopefully have a clean year next year," Holliday said. "Every time I felt like I was getting close to 100 percent, something else has come up."
Holliday has been replaced on the roster by rookie outfielder Adron Chambers. Chambers has appeared in 10 games during the postseason, going 1 for 5 with two RBIs. Allen Craig will get the start in left field.
"Well, it's difficult when you have to bang one of your core guys, but in a situation like this, you know, the evaluation is: What can he provide to you if he plays?" La Russa said.
"It's pinch running," La Russa said. "You can't put him out there -- he can't swing the bat."
The speedy Chambers likely will be used as a pinch runner.
He spent most of the season at Triple-A Memphis, and had just eight at-bats in 18 games with St. Louis during the regular season. He's a combined 1 for 5 this postseason.
"The effect is that's one of our middle guys, especially against a left-handed pitcher," La Russa said of playing without Holliday. "He'd be hitting fifth today. It kind of shortens our lineup.
Carpenter will oppose Matt Harrison following a spectacular Game 6, in which St. Louis rallied twice to win 10-9 in 11 innings. Carpenter won Game 1 of the Series and pitched seven strong innings in Game 5 on Monday.
In three postseason starts, Harrison hasn't pitched more than five innings. How long he can go in Game 7 could be a significant key to the Rangers' success because a bullpen that virtually carried an underwhelming starting staff to this point is now under the gun.
Derek Holland, expected prior to Game 6 to be able to go several innings in Game 7 if needed, might now be good for one after throwing two innings in Texas' Game 6 loss.
Napoli and outfielder Nelson Cruz will be in the Rangers' lineup for Game 7. Napoli rolled his left ankle going awkwardly into second base in the fourth inning of Game 6, but remained in the game. Cruz came out in the 11th with a strained right groin suffered on his final at-bat of the game.
Both players, though, are in their usual spots in the lineup. Cruz will bat sixth and Napoli seventh.
Left-handed hitting David Murphy is in left field and will bat eighth with Josh Hamilton shifting back to center.
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan and The Associated Press was used in this report.