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Reyes could go again

Times Staff Writer

The Cardinals originally had intended to skip Anthony Reyes’ Game 5 start and bring back Jeff Weaver, Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan -- all on three days’ rest -- if the series went that far.

Reyes, however, gave up two runs in eight innings in Game 1, and now Manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan are reassessing that strategy.

While Reyes pitched effectively against the Tigers, Duncan suggested later that baseball serendipity helped as well. Duncan has tried to convince Reyes to pitch to the bottom of the strike zone, rather than the top of it, as big-league hitters tend to hit high strikes a long way.

Reyes generally was up in the zone Saturday night, but the Tigers hadn’t seen live pitching in a week, and both Detroit Manager Jim Leyland and Duncan noted that many of the hitters swung for the fences. Only Craig Monroe, on Reyes’ last pitch of the game, succeeded.

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“One thing that’s hurt Anthony in the big leagues is home runs,” Duncan said. “A lot of good hitters like the ball up.”

Reyes gave up 17 home runs in 85 1/3 innings in the regular season, 11 in 50 1/3 innings after the All-Star break.

“It’s not been decided,” La Russa said. “The options are open and we’ll see. Right now, it’s all about tomorrow.”

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Justin Verlander pitched on nine days’ rest for the Tigers, showed significantly less velocity on his fastball than in the regular season, and didn’t get an out in the sixth inning of a Game 1 loss.

Tonight, Nate Robertson, who has not pitched since Game 1 of the ALCS -- Oct. 10 -- gets the start.

“I don’t know what we’re going to get,” Leyland said. “We could get a fastball with a little bit more velocity than normal, but maybe not as good control. Or we could run into a situation like we did with Verlander, which was a shock to me. The fastball was not there, which really, totally surprised me, shocked me.”

Robertson has made each of his playoff starts on the road. He was hammered in Game 1 of the division series at Yankee Stadium, then pitched well in Oakland. He said he’d thrown a couple side sessions since and was optimistic he’d maintain his velocity and precision.

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“In my side two days ago it went really well,” he said. “So, I don’t think ... two weeks is going to affect me that much.”

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Tigers rookie Joel Zumaya, weary of questions regarding his injured wrist, announced to the media he would no longer speak before games, only after them.... Sean Casey, who tore his calf muscle early in the ALCS and was a designated hitter in Games 1 and 2, is expected to play first base tonight in the National League park.... Cardinals leadoff hitter David Eckstein is hitless in nine World Series at-bats and hasn’t hit the ball out of the infield. Since injuring his left shoulder and right hand in Game 5 of the NLCS, Eckstein is one for 17.... Six ballparks have hosted the World Series in their first season of operation: Forbes Field (Pittsburgh, 1909), the rebuilt Polo Grounds (New York, 1911), Fenway Park (Boston, 1912), Yankee Stadium (New York, 1923), Riverfront Stadium (Cincinnati, 1970) and Busch Stadium (St. Louis, 2006).... Stan Musial will throw out tonight’s first pitch. Bruce Sutter will throw out Wednesday’s. Presumably, it will be a splitter.

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tim.brown@latimes.com


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