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Game 5 starter depends on outcome of Game 4



Published: Thu, October 26, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Either Jeff Weaver or Anthony Reyes will pitch for the Cardinals in Game 5.

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jeff Weaver and Anthony Reyes sat together in the interview room, looking at each other and waiting for questions. There was one they couldn't answer: Who's going to pitch Game 5 of the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals?

"I don't know which it's going to be, so they're both getting ready," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday.

It made for an unusual and somewhat awkward scene, 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."

La Russa and St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan wanted to keep their options open and see what happened Wednesday night. The Cardinals led Detroit 2-1 in the Series, and the start of Game 4 was delayed by rain.

Depends on outcome

"We don't know what the outcome of Game 4 will be, don't know when Game 4 is going to be played," La Russa said. "The reality is, one of those two guys are going to start the fifth game."

Justin Verlander was set to pitch for the Tigers, who hoped he'd do better than he did in a Game 1 loss. While Reyes was brilliant for eight innings in a 7-2 victory that night at Comerica Park, Verlander struggled in a matchup of rookie starters.

Verlander won 17 games during the regular season, but gave up six earned runs in five-plus innings in the World Series opener, and has a 10.80 post-season ERA after three starts.

The Tigers had been disappointed with Verlander's lack of velocity in Game 1. Normally at 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."

The Cardinals seemed stuck with the 25-year-old Reyes for Game 1 after beating the Mets in a seven-game NLCS because their other starts weren't rested.

Reyes is ready

Now Reyes is ready to go again. On the other hand, it could be Weaver on three days' rest.

Weaver has never pitched on short rest.

"I've done my preparation for a short rest to start and everything feels good," he said. "So either way I feel like it's not going to matter."

Going with Weaver, though, could start a chain reaction of pitchers going on short rest if La Russa is intent on using his veterans.

Chris Carpenter, who worked eight shutout innings in Game 3 on Tuesday, could work Game 6 on Saturday, if necessary. Jeff Suppan, who was set to start Game 4, could then come back in Game 7 on Sunday.

"Anthony did a great job," La Russa said. "Our three best starters are lined up to pitch the last three games and they all come back with short rest, so that's something you consider.

"I just think there's no formula," La Russa said. "You play the one you're playing and you see how things were.

Reyes didn't seem mind being in limbo despite his impressive showing in Game 1.

"It's all strategies, and it's what's best for the team," Reyes said. "It's just one of those things where we're just trying to get the most out of our pitchers."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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