Ga. native Wainwright to start Game 3 for Cards
ST. LOUIS — When October baseball returns to St. Louis on Sunday, Adam Wainwright will get the ball for the Cardinals again. Just like he has for so many big games over the past 14 years.
It was almost a much different picture. If not for one December trade back in 2003, Wainwright might be pitching for the Braves in Game 3 of the NL Division Series.
The 38-year-old Georgia native, who was selected by the Braves in the first round of the 2000 amateur draft, will make his 13th postseason start when the Cardinals face Mike Soroka in the first postseason game in St. Louis in four years.
“Feeling that playoff buzz in the crowd when the games are actually going on, you can never replace it or replicate it any other place in life that I’ve seen,” he said.
The NL East and Central champions split the first two games of the best-of-five series in Atlanta.
St. Louis, a regular October playground before its longest drought in two decades, might not seem like the best spot for a playoff debut, but Soroka is no ordinary pitcher. The 22-year-old right-hander went 7-1 with a 1.55 ERA in 16 road starts this year, compared with 6-3 and a 4.14 ERA at home.
For a long time, Wainwright was hoping to pitch in big games for the Braves. He was a prep star in Brunswick, Georgia, when he was drafted 29th overall by the Braves in 2000.
He had just finished a solid season playing for Snitker at Double-A Greenville when he was shipped to St. Louis with Jason Marquis and Ray King for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero.
Drew hit .305 with 31 homers in his only season with Atlanta, but the Braves were eliminated by the Astros in the first round of the 2004 playoffs — part of a streak of nine straight playoff series losses that is one away from the Cubs’ record for postseason futility.
Dodgers’ Ryu gets call: Justin Turner turned his cap around for the reporters addressing him. It was late Friday, after the Dodgers’ Game 2 loss to the Nationals, and the third baseman’s focus had already flipped forward to Sunday when the National League Division Series continues.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will start for the Dodgers in Game 3 at Nationals Park.
“They told me how we have four guys who could literally be a first guy up, and we have very competent and capable guys on this roster,” Ryu said through an interpreter.
Ryu’s counterpart is not decided. Max Scherzer was slated to start for the Nationals, but that was before he threw 14 high-octane pitches to strike out the side out of the bullpen in the eighth inning Friday.
If Scherzer doesn’t start, the Nationals will turn to Anibal Sanchez. The 36-year-old right-hander went 11-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 30 starts this season
The Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright was a first-round pick of the Braves in 2000.