September 28: Cubs (66-94) @ Cardinals (95-65)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

A reminder that today’s game time has been bumped up to 3:15 pm CT because of the threat of bad weather tonight. With the season ending tomorrow, the Cardinals did not want to risk a lengthy delay or postponement tonight. Remember, these weekend games could be critical in the home-field advantage race.

Busch Stadium has already been plastered with reminders that the Cardinals are the NL Central Division champs. A decal has been placed on the outfield wall in right-center, and the Jumbotron is flashing celebratory images.

If you missed any of the cardinals.com coverage on last night’s clincher, here is a rundown of story links:

  • Adversity was the theme of the season for the Cardinals, who are headed to the postseason largely because of unexpected contributions (link)
  • Friday night’s 7-0 win over the Cardinals capped a strong September run and showed signs of the team getting right at the ideal time (link)
  • A look at the seeding still at stake during this weekend’s final games (link)
  • With the organization’s seventh division title in 14 years, the Cardinals continue to be the NL’s team of the 2000s (link)
  • Ten reasons why the Cardinals are back in the postseason (link)

***

And some news and notes in advance of today’s game:

  • Carlos Beltran is resting a sore right wrist. The issue is what prompted his early exit on Friday, though the Cardinals are not concerned about this holding him back in the postseason.
  • Manager Mike Matheny announced that Jake Westbrook, not Joe Kelly, will now start on Sunday. Kelly will follow Westbrook, who is not built up enough to pitch too deep into the game. Why start Westbrook? It sounds like is intended to be a sendoff for the veteran right-hander, who likely won’t be on the postseason roster and whose 2014 option is not expected to be picked up. The Cardinals wanted to give him one more opportunity to be acknowledged by the home crowd.
  • The Cardinals have begun to discuss what their playoff roster will look like, but nothing is finalized yet. The Cardinals don’t have to set that roster until Thursday morning. The team will go with a four-man rotation, but it has not yet been announced which four pitchers it will include. Whoever gets squeezed out of a starting spot will slide into a bullpen role.

CARDINALS LINEUP:

  1. Matt Carpenter (2B)
  2. Jon Jay (CF)
  3. Matt Holliday (LF)
  4. Matt Adams (1B)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. Daniel Descalso (3B)
  7. Pete Kozma (SS)
  8. Adron Chambers (RF)
  9. Adam Wainwright (RHP)

CUBS LINEUP:

  1. Starlin Castro (SS)
  2. Junior Lake (LF)
  3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
  4. Dioner Navarro (C)
  5. Nate Schierholtz (RF)
  6. Donnie Murphy (3B)
  7. Brian Bogusevic (CF)
  8. Darwin Barney (2B)
  9. Edwin Jackson (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

6 Comments

Sweep the Cubs and hope Atlanta trips up.Home field throughout the Championship would be nice. AND YES,we still need a shortstop.

Can we afford the sentiment of starting Westbrook when one loss would lose home field advantage in the second round? Why not guarantee a relief appearance when the game is not on the line either today or tomorrow?

The Cardinals to obligated to WIN and get the home field advantage,, not to get warm- and-fuzzy over Jake Westbrook. This is outrageous

Agreed, home field should be the priority! As a side-bar,I think if the Reds lose to the Bucs in the WC game Dusty Baker’s job is in jeopardy.This might open the door to Joe Gerardi leaving the Yankees and signing on with the Reds.I believe the Cubs will make a run at him,but I’m not sure he wants to rebuild that much.Forget Seattle that place is a nightmare.

I am reasonably confident that most of the people whining about the Westbrook decision have no experience in managing an organization with a budget, and a pool of expertise in its employees, comparable to that of a major-league roster. As it happens, I do (okay, the budget was a lot closer to Houston’s or Tampa Bay’s than the Cardinals’, but still), and I endorse this decision. Loyalty and morale are not enough to make a bad team a good one, but they matter in the long run and they are a two-way street. Go get ‘em, Westy; just don’t go get ‘em for more than a couple of innings.

Question stanthemanfan:What key are you in when you blow your own horn?

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