During the regular season, Randy Choate appeared once in the fifth inning and a handful of times in the sixth but more often not the reliever came on in the later innings for the St. Louis Cardinals. However, the postseason is different and in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, the lefty was called upon to get the final out of the fourth inning.
“The guy has had a great season for us and we’re going to need him,” said Mike Matheny of the confidence to bring Choate in to a similar situation that got away from the reliever in Game 3. “We needed him tonight–we need him as long as we can play. And he’s going to have to continue to get big outs for us and we trust that he’s going to get the job done regardless of what happened last time.
Choate, who afterwards said the outing was big for him getting back on track and putting Game 3 behind him, walked Gregor Blanco, but got Joe Panik to ground back to the mound for the final out of the inning.
“Always anxious to get our guys back in after they had a tough night and watch them answer the bell,” added Matheny. “He did a nice job of getting us out of that inning and giving us a chance to keep moving forward with the lead.”
Michael Wacha was warming up to come into the game if the Cardinals tied things up in the 9th–Matheny explains what he likes about the right-hander in that situation versus long-inning earlier in the game.
“We haven’t had a situation really to get him in there that he’s going to get stretched out like we need him to. We’re also in that spot that if we get a chance to get somebody on and hit a home run and we don’t have anybody at the back end of this game to throw multiple innings, we’re in bad shape.
“Exactly the same situation I told you before the first series. This is (Wacha’s) role right now. Now it could change tomorrow, since we have used the bullpen pretty hard. It could be different. You know, we keep kind of talking about this, but it’s the same answer and this is what he’s going to have to be prepared for–and he will. And when he gets his chance, I know he’ll be sharp.”
Matheny also shared that Yadier Molina would have caught the 9th inning had St. Louis tied the game in their at-bat.
–Shelby Miller finished with a line of 3.2 IP, allowing 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 BBs, and 3 strikeouts against the 18 batters he faced.
“Started throwing some balls over the plate in the third, gave up a couple of runs and let them back in the game–it’s not my job to do that,” said Miller afterwards. “We definitely had a lot of momentum winning 4-1, then you give up two runs and they’re right back into the ballgame. That’s on me.”
photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports