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Cards looking for better results vs. Folty

@anne__rogers
October 8, 2019

ATLANTA -- Win or go home. That’s the mindset that both the Braves and Cardinals have for Game 5 of the National League Division Series, with first pitch set for 4:02 p.m. CT on Wednesday at SunTrust Park. It’ll be a rematch from Game 2, with Jack Flaherty facing Braves

ATLANTA -- Win or go home. That’s the mindset that both the Braves and Cardinals have for Game 5 of the National League Division Series, with first pitch set for 4:02 p.m. CT on Wednesday at SunTrust Park.

It’ll be a rematch from Game 2, with Jack Flaherty facing Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who shut down the Cardinals with seven scoreless innings Friday in the Braves’ 3-0 win. Flaherty allowed three runs in seven innings and struck out eight.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3 STL 7, ATL 6 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 4 ATL 3, STL 0 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 6 ATL 3, STL 1 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 7 STL 5, ATL 4 (10) Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 9 STL 13, ATL 1 Watch

The Cardinals are going to try to do everything to get to Foltynewicz on Wednesday. That likely includes putting Matt Carpenter in the lineup. The third baseman went 0-for-3 on Monday in the Cardinals’ win, and he wasn’t in the lineup against Foltynewicz on Friday. A different look could go a long way, especially with Carpenter’s left-handed bat.

“We weren't able to do much against Foltynewicz,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “And clearly we'll need to be able to do both things, hold them and also score on our side. So we're going to take our best shot when the game starts to do that and manage it from there.”

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Foltynewicz threw his slider 44 percent of the time (36 sliders in 81 pitches) on Friday and fooled the Cardinals, so they will look to be a little more patient. They’re also hoping that the familiarity they have from Friday will help them in Game 5.

“He threw a lot of good ones,” Shildt said about Foltynewicz’s slider. “We'll need to be able to be patient with getting a ball we can handle. We're just going to have to make sure we're getting in better parts of the plate and then not chasing it and letting it work for us.”

STL-ATL: Game 5 lineups, matchups, FAQ

All hands on deck

Almost all of the Cardinals’ pitchers will be available out of the bullpen Wednesday, except for Dakota Hudson, who threw 74 pitches on Monday. Adam Wainwright is available, along with Miles Mikolas, who threw a scoreless 10th inning on 10 pitches Monday.

Shildt said the Cardinals will be smart about their bullpen usage, especially knowing that there would be a game Friday if they do advance to the NL Championship Series. But Shildt will manage like the season is on the line -- which it is.

“With Jack, [Monday], we had a sincere conversation with Jack, and he was very pro being available,” Shildt said. “And I certainly respect the mindset and the heart of the competition for him and his desire to be there for his team. He said, 'I got an inning and I got a zero.' Me and [pitching coach Mike Maddux] said, ‘Well, we appreciate that, but we need to take care of you, and we need to take the opportunity for Game 5.’

“And obviously we need to have gotten here, which we are. But in Dakota's case, we'll be smart about it. I'm sure he'll lobby for it. The one thing that can be a little bit different is less pitches but also less rest. So I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't expect him to be one of the guys in serious consideration initially.”

Wacha ‘ready’ for NLCS

Michael Wacha knows that the Cardinals have to get there first, but if they do advance to the next round, he thinks he’ll be healthy enough to be available after rehabbing his right shoulder strain for the last week and a half.

“I believe I’ll be ready,” Wacha said. “Just a matter of how I bounce back. But everything has been feeling really good and going in the right direction.”

Wacha exited his start in Arizona on Sept. 25 because of tightness in the shoulder. He was shut down from throwing for five days, but since last week, he’s been throwing every day. His latest work was a bullpen session at SunTrust Park on Tuesday. He has another one scheduled for Wednesday, upping his intensity to around 40 pitches.

“It’s completely different,” Wacha said. “I feel great right now. I don’t feel anything in that spot in the shoulder, the ball’s coming out really nice. Just testing it out a little more, putting a little more on it. I’m really happy with how it bounced back.”

Shildt backs Helsley

When asked about the “Tomahawk Chop” chant used by Braves fans at SunTrust Park, Cardinals reliever and member of the Cherokee Nation Ryan Helsley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he found the chant disrespectful toward his heritage, although the chant was not directed specifically at Helsley.

If and when Helsley is called on to pitch on Wednesday, Shildt emphasized that Helsley will take the mound with the same professionalism that he did Thursday night.

“I have not talked to him, because he's in control of his thoughts and there's nothing outrageous about what he said or what he thinks,” Shildt said. “Like I said, I support him. And regarding tomorrow night, Hels is a pro. He was speaking out of sincerity. He wasn't speaking out of maliciousness or anything like that. So people can take that in whatever context they want to take it in, and how they react is how they react. But I'm sure Ryan will pitch equally good regardless.”

The Braves’ released a statement regarding Helsley’s comments:

"Our organization has sought to embrace all people and highlight the many cultures in Braves Country. We will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the in-game experience, and look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community once the season comes to an end."

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.