One more ace
Cardinals send Kile against Batista in Game 3
Darryl Kile, who began the year as St. Louis' No. 1 starter, pitches in Game 3 Friday night in an NL playoff series that is tied at a game apiece.
The Diamondbacks will go with Miguel Batista, who pitched in relief and made a mental error in the ninth inning of Game 2 to give away an insurance run in St. Louis' 4-1 victory.
Kile (16-11) was a 20-game winner last year and was the Cardinals' Opening Day starter. He pitched in the season finale Sunday, with the NL Central up for grabs, but had one of his poorest outings, allowing seven runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Houston beat Kile and the Cardinals to win the division.
"This time of year, really all that matters is being able to compete and competing at your top level," Kile said. "I feel like I'm healthy enough to do that."
Kile had a 3.09 ERA this year, compared to 3.91 last season, but ended up with four fewer victories partly because the Cardinals scored 20 runs in his 11 losses.
"It would be nice to get him some runs for the first time all year," Jim Edmonds said.
Batista (11-8) is a decided step down after 20-game winners Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, who pitched in Games 1 and 2. He threw eight pitches in the ninth inning and froze on a comebacker, getting no outs instead of perhaps a double play, but manager Bob Brenly expects Batista will bounce back strong.
"That's what we're anticipating because that's what he's done all year long," Brenly said. "He's shown no adverse affects from what we've given him all year long.
"He's pitched between starts and he's come through it all with flying colors."
Batista also has played for the Cubs and Expos.
"A lot of people believe I come from nowhere," Batista said. "That's not true. I always feel I was a good pitcher, I just always play on teams that end up last."
Brenly hinted at perhaps a couple lineup changes, but wouldn't discuss what players he was thinking about removing. Matt Williams is one suspect, having gone 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
Brenly said he might come back with Schilling, who threw a three-hit shutout in Game 1 Tuesday, on three days' rest if needed in Game 4 on Saturday. Schilling would replace Albie Lopez (9-19).
"That would be an option," Brenly said.
La Russa said he would not bring back Morris, who dueled Schilling in the 1-0 loss, in Game 4 however. The likely starter is rookie left-hander Bud Smith (6-3), who no-hit the Padres in September, with 14-game winner Dustin Hermanson shifted to the bullpen.
Smith had two relief outings when he first was called up, but he's been a starter throughout his minor league career. Hermanson was drafted as a reliever and filled as closer in Montreal last year when Ugueth Urbina was injured.
"You pitch Bud in a game, you're not going to pitch him for two or three days afterward," La Russa said. "You could pitch Dustin everyday."
In Game 3, La Russa's only decision is whether he uses Mark McGwire, who batted .187 this season, or Craig Paquette, who led the team in hitting with runners in scoring position, in the sixth spot.
"The lineup is really well set and I think everybody knows who's going to hit in every spot except the sixth spot, and it'll be Paquette or McGwire," La Russa said. "Right now if we're playing I think I know who I'd play, but that's part of the fun of being a manager.
"Tonight when you're sitting around with nothing to do and you don't want to watch TV and you're tired of reading, you start thinking about your lineup."