"I think these guys are in a good place right now," Matheny said as his club went through a light workout on a gray, drizzly Thursday afternoon. "They've figured out a way to get it done. It's kind of what we anticipated, because that's what we've seen all season long. They continue to impress me, at least how they fight and the caliber of baseball they play when they need to."
There's been some question about Wainwright, the Cardinals' right-handed ace who won 20 games this season, after his performance against the Dodgers in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium. He surrendered six runs on 11 hits and was yanked by Matheny with one out in the fifth inning after A.J. Ellis hit a two-run homer. At the time, the Dodgers had a 6-1 lead, and Clayton Kershaw was cruising along with a one-hitter.
But the Dodgers left-hander collapsed in the seventh inning, as the Cards scored eight runs and held on on to win, 10-9, setting the tone for the series.
Wainwright missed one start in June with tendinitis in his right elbow and suffered through a rocky dead arm period in August. Thus, some speculated after the first NLDS game about the condition of Wainwright's pitching arm and that he might not be available to start again if the series had been extended to a fifth game.
"It was just like all year," Matheny said. "There were some things taken out of context and blown up more than they really needed to be. It was a statement just of the obvious that Lance Lynn would be on regular rest [for a possible Game 5] if something didn't look right. It was stating the obvious, too, that Waino was struggling to find a good feel that game, and that's why it looked very atypical of Adam Wainwright.
"But that's happened at different times throughout our season. He's been able to bounce back and figure it out and, not just make it work, but be an elite pitcher. He's fine. We'll just watch him close like we watch any pitcher and just take it from there."
As far as the other three guys are concerned, they combined to allow the Dodgers to score only five more runs against the starters the rest of the series.
Lynn was effective, allowing only two runs on seven hits in six innings in Game 2 at Los Angeles, the only game the Dodgers won -- on Matt Kemp's eighth-inning homer off reliever Pat Neshek.
Lackey, a July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline acquisition from the Red Sox, has oodles of experience, having nailed down World Series titles in 2002 -- for the Angels, in Game 7 against the Giants -- and last year -- for the Red Sox, in Game 6 against the Cardinals. He didn't disappoint in Game 3 of the NLDS at Busch Stadium, pitching seven innings of one-run, five-hit ball and striking out eight as the Cards won, 3-1.
Even Miller, making his first career postseason start Tuesday at home in Game 4, held the Dodgers to two runs on five hits before he was removed with two outs in the sixth as the Cardinals went on to win, 3-2, and wrap up the series.