The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will face off one final time at Busch Stadium Wednesday evening for a deciding Game 5. The two clubs enter the rubber match the opposite end of the postseason success spectrum: The Pirates are trying for their first postseason series win in over two decades, while the Cardinals are looking to reach the NLCS for the third consecutive year.
Veteran hurler Adam Wainwright, who shut down the Bucs in Game 1 of the series, will take the hill for the Cards. Rookie sensation Gerrit Cole, who was just as dominant as Wainwright in his Game 2 start, gets the nod over A.J. Burnett for Pittsburgh.
The Bucs have been very consistent in their lineup construction throughout the series, and aren't changing a thing for Game 5:
It's the same lineup the club used the first time around against Wainwright, and also in Games 3 and 4. Pittsburgh managed only three hits against Wainwright in Game 1, so Clint Hurdle and company have to hope they can make some positive adjustments Wednesday night.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez has three home runs in the four games of this series -- providing all the offensive firepower in Games 1 and 4 -- so it's a bit of a surprise he isn't higher in the lineup for Wednesday's big game. Also of note is Hurdle's decision to keep the slick-fielding Clint Barmes in the starting nine over Jordy Mercer, who has a much better bat.
Now on to the Cardinals lineup:
Cardinals NLDS Game 5 Lineup: Carpenter, Beltran, Holliday, Adams, Molina, Jay, Freese, Kozma, Wainwright,— Benjamin Boyd (@benjaminhboyd) October 9, 2013
Like the Pirates, the Cardinals are going with the same batting order as in Game 4. St. Louis sent a slightly different lineup to the box to face Cole in Game 2 -- starting the lefty-swinging Daniel Descalso at short over Pete Kozma -- but for all intents and purposes it's the same.
The Cards scrounged out just two hits against Cole in Game 2. Like Wainwright, the lone blemish on Cole's line in his first start of the postseason was a solo home run. The young right-hander doesn't miss as many bats as the Cardinals ace, but his ability to get a high number of ground balls is just as disarming.
Game 5 is set for an 8:07 p.m. start.