Reyes or Weaver? La Russa gets another day to figure it out

October 26th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Reyes or Weaver? La Russa gets another day to figure it out

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Cardinals' third rainout of the postseason gave manager Tony La Russa another opportunity to fiddle with his rotation.
La Russa was undecided before Game 4 was postponed Wednesday night whether to go with Jeff Weaver or rookie Anthony Reyes in Game 5. So he sent both of them to the interview room.
Both will get a start, and the manager said he'd decide the order after Game 4 depending on where the World Series stands. The Cardinals lead the best-of-seven Series 2-1 over the Detroit Tigers.
In fact, the Game 4 pairing of Jeff Suppan and Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman, who'll try again on Thursday night, is the only lock for the rest of the Series.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to discuss his options after Game 4 was called. Justin Verlander had been set to go in Game 5, but Kenny Rogers could move ahead of him if the Tigers face elimination.
"You can speculate as you all do," Leyland said. "You can second-guess how the rotation's going to go the rest of the series, whatever you want to do.
"Jeremy Bonderman is pitching the next game for the Tigers, he's earned it. He's one of our horses and he will be on the mound when Game 4 starts, whenever that may be."
La Russa was more forthcoming and conceded it probably didn't matter. Weaver would have had to go on three days' rest if Game 5 had been Thursday, but now would be on regular rest, making him highly likely for that game.
Weaver also had been set to go on three days' rest in Game 5 of the NL championship series before another rainout in St. Louis.
Reyes would pitch in Game 6 in Detroit, where he pitched eight-plus innings in the opener, with ace Chris Carpenter set for Game 7 if needed.
"We're going to sleep on it and think about it," La Russa said. "My opinion right now, I don't think it makes a difference. But it might change overnight when you think about it more."
La Russa also could bring back Carpenter on three days' rest in Game 6 if the Cardinals faced elimination.
"That's not your preference," La Russa said. "But that would be the last start of the year, so it's something we would consider."
The rainout means Suppan, the NLCS MVP, would be able to pitch only once in the Series.
The pregame scene was unusual and somewhat awkward, with the two pitchers seated side by side, although neither right-hander sounded too worried.
"I always go at it like I'm going to pitch, so I just do everything I was going to do before, like I'm going to pitch," Reyes said. "If it's not my time, I just try to prepare for the next one."
Said Weaver: "Another day of rest always helps, but I feel good right now."
Verlander, a 17-game winner, struggled in a matchup of rookie starters against Reyes in Game 1. He gave up six earned runs in five-plus innings, leaving him with a 10.80 ERA against the Cardinals and a 7.47 ERA in three postseason starts.
The Tigers were disappointed with Verlander's lack of velocity in the Series opener. Normally around 100 mph, Verlander's fastballs were in the low 90s.
"I wasn't really driving with my legs as much as I had been earlier in the year," he said. "We worked on that a little bit. I think it was just a mix of maybe the mechanics and how my arm felt that day."

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