Cardinals To Start Adam Wainwright In Game 1 Of World Series Wednesday

Allen Craig Likely Addition To St. Louis 25-Man Roster

Monday, October 21, 2013
Adam Wainwright, a former top draft pick of the Atlanta Braves, is the ace of the Cardinals' rotation.
Adam Wainwright, a former top draft pick of the Atlanta Braves, is the ace of the Cardinals' rotation.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ST. LOUIS --Adam 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.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak will not submit his final 25-man roster for the World Series until Wednesday's 9 a.m. CT deadline. All indications, however, are that Allen Craig's name will be listed on it this time in advance of Game 1 Wednesday

Stuck as a spectator in the first two rounds of the postseason, Craig continues to elevate his baseball activity with every intention of contributing in the World Series. On Sunday, for the second time in three days, Craig took at-bats in a simulated-game setting. After each one, he ran to first base, proving to onlookers that he is no longer limited by a foot injury.

Craig has had his eyes set on the World Series since suffering a Lisfranc fracture to his left foot in a game against the Reds on Sept. 4. The recovery time was estimated to be four to six weeks, meaning that the Cardinals had to play deep into October to give their cleanup hitter a chance to return.

While there are still questions about how sharp Craig's timing will be after a seven-week break from game play, the Cardinals are convinced that he makes their offense more formidable even if the layoff leaves him slightly limited.

With Craig, the Cardinals will have a legitimate designated hitter option for the first two games in Boston. It's an ideal fit for Craig, who has not resumed participating in defensive work. When the series shifts back to Busch Stadium next weekend, Craig will, in the least, be available off a bench that had been weakened by his absence.

And he might actually do even more. The Cardinals are not yet willing to rule out the possibility of Craig being cleared to play first base later in the World Series.

Craig was on his way to challenging for the National League's RBI title and possibly a top finish in the NL MVP Award voting before an awkward turn at first base prematurely ended his regular season. As it was, Craig still finished the year leading the Cardinals with 97 RBIs and a .454 batting average with runners in scoring position. Overall, he hit .315. 

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