MOZELIAK: Cards offense needs to simplify, seems to be 'pressing'

"Perhaps maybe just simplify (the offense) a little bit, get the ball in play, try to have the ability to move runners and I guess most importantly is get on base."

Sports Open Line
October 14, 2019 - 8:58 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) - St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak says his inbox is full of opinions on what the NLCS Game 3 lineup should look like. He didn't talk about personnel changes but did say there could be a change in his hitters' approach at the plate. 

"Perhaps maybe just simplify (the offense) a little bit, get the ball in play, try to have the ability to move runners and I guess most importantly is get on base," Mozeliak said on Sports on a Sunday Morning. Take a listen to the full interview he had with our Tom Ackerman in the audio at the top of this page.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt refused to reveal his Game 3 lineup until Monday. It's possible he makes a tweak, but after analytics showed his hitters aren't chasing the ball out of the strike zone at a higher rate, St. Louis is ready to stay the course without major changes.

"I understand we're in a sprint mode with being in a series like this, but also trusting your guys is pretty important," Shildt said in the visiting clubhouse Sunday. "One play, one thing could turn this thing completely around. We believe that, and we feel comfortable and confident with how this series will go."

Teams that have taken a 2-0 lead on the road in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win 88% of the time in MLB history. The first step toward bucking those odds for St. Louis is sending 23-year-old ace Jack Flaherty to the mound in Game 3, and there's no shortage of belief in what he can do in what should be a raucous atmosphere.

"He's in a big spot, but I don't think there's any spot too big for him," St. Louis center fielder Dexter Fowler said. "We've had our back against the wall basically all season. We've come back and excelled. That's what we're accustomed to doing."

Game 3 is set for 6:38 p.m. and pregame coverage on KMOX begins at 5:43. 

MAKING THEIR PITCH

Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals try to move within a win of the World Series. They lead St. Louis 2-0 in the NL Championship Series after dominant starts by Max Scherzer and Aníbal Sánchez — the Cardinals totaled just four hits in their two losses at Busch Stadium and are batting .070 in the best-of-seven matchup.

Strasburg faces Cardinals star Jack Flaherty as the series shifts to Nationals Park. Strasburg has a 1.32 ERA in six postseason games, five of them starts. He's 2-0 in the playoffs this fall.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt wouldn't reveal his lineup a day before Game 3. It's possible he makes a tweak, but after analytics showed his hitters aren't chasing the ball out of the strike zone at a higher rate, St. Louis is ready to stay the course without major changes.

Teams that have taken a 2-0 lead on the road in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win 88% of the time in MLB history.

The Nationals remain uncertain about the status of outfielder Victor Robles as he returns from a strained right hamstring. The 22-year-old Robles hasn't played since injuring himself in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Dodgers. Manager Dave Martinez said Robles planned to run and get treatment Sunday, then would take batting practice and do more running prior to Game 3 to determine if he could play.

"I'm not going to anticipate anything until he comes in tomorrow, but he's progressing," Martinez said. "And hopefully he'll be ready."