Ga. na­tive Wain­wright to start Game 3 for Cards

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - BASEBALL -

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

JEFF ROBERSON/AP

The Car­di­nals’ Adam Wain­wright was a first-round pick of the Braves in 2000.

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