St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny made it official Friday, announcing Michael Wacha as the starter for Game 4 of their National League Division Series against the Pirates on Monday in Pittsburgh.
Wacha gets the nod over Shelby Miller, a 15-game winner during the year but 0-4 against the Pirates during the regular season.
"Shelby's throwing the ball very well," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But when it comes down to it, it's hard to ignore what Michael did on his last start."
Wacha was 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 15 appearance (nine starts) during the year, including a near no-hitter Sept. 24 against Washington. He gave up an infield single to Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the ninth inning that night to cap his strong September; in three of his five starts that month, he didn't allow a run.
Miller, 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 31 starts during the year, but was 5-6 with a 4.57 ERA in 15 road starts. His ERA was 5.32 in the four losses to the Pirates.
"Anytime anybody's roles are changed when they get to the postseason, whether it's a guy not being on the active roster or whether it's somebody moving into a different role," Matheny said, "that's never a conversation that they necessarily want to have."
Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69 ERA) gets the start for the Cardinals in Game 3 at 3:37 p.m. Sunday in Pittsburgh.
When's first pitch?
The Cardinals have learned the game times for the remainder of the series.
Game 4 is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. Monday at PNC Park.
Game 5, if the series goes that far, is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. Wednesday at Busch Stadium.
Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa turned 69 on Friday, the same day his old boss, Walt Jocketty, gave the heave-ho to Dusty Baker as manager in Cincinnati.
The move led to immediate speculation in cyberspace that TLR would return to the dugout under Jocketty. Two years ago, when La Russa retired, he said he was done managing for good.
La Russa was at Busch Stadium on Thursday night, along with his predecessor as Cards manager, Joe Torre.
Longtime Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter gave a long wave of his cap to the fans during the ceremonial first pitch Friday.
With daughter, Ava, at his side, Carpenter uncorked a pitch off the plate to his son, Sam, who nabbed it and joined in a family hug in front of home plate.
Carpenter, 38, has missed most of the last two seasons because of a nerve problem in his neck and throwing shoulder, but has refused to acknowledge he might have to retire.