MILWAUKEE (AP) - Shaun Marcum thinks people really want to see two aces face off in Game 7 with the NL pennant on the line. He can go a long way to forcing that matchup with a strong effort Sunday.
Marcum will get the ball for Milwaukee when it faces Edwin Jackson and St. Louis in the league championship series, with the Brewers trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. If the Brewers win, Yovani Gallardo would pitch against Chris Carpenter on Monday night.
“I think I’m on the bandwagon with everybody in here, probably everybody in the country that wants to see Yo versus Carp in Game 7,” Marcum said. “I’m going to try to get the ball to Yo.”
This series has been more about what comes next on the mound.
St. Louis has taken the lead in every game of the series and the Cardinals bullpen is 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 21 2-3 innings over the first five games. Manager Tony La Russa has made 23 pitching changes using all eight of his relievers.
“In the end, players decide, pitchers decide who plays,” La Russa said. “We’re all basically reading basically the same. We just have different weapons. When you watch the game tomorrow, the players will decide.
“Edwin’s going to decide how far he goes. It depends on how he’s pitching. I don’t go in thinking let’s get 5 1-3 from him. I don’t think anything. I just watch the game.”
Cardinals closer Jason Motte said La Russa is deflecting credit he deserves for his managing in this series.
“He knows how to push the right buttons. You can say what you want, but it’s worked so far. He knows so many stats and so many numbers and situations, this and that, everything he does, he does it for a reason,” Motte said. “We go out there, the way I look at it, the phone rings, we’re ready to go. It doesn’t matter what inning.”
Miller Park’s retractable roof will be closed for Game 6, the same conditions that Milwaukee played with in all three wins in the NLDS against Arizona. The roof was open in the first two games against the Cardinals.
“It’s going to be noisy no matter if the roof’s open or closed,” Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal said. “No problem. It’s a regular game.”
Milwaukee won a major-league best 57 times at home during the regular season, and four more in the postseason. But St. Louis won the most recent one at Miller Park and needs one of the next two for its 18th NL pennant.
“Our record kind of speaks volumes. Our crowd has been outstanding for us all year,” Brewers third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. said. “We feel confident at home. Hopefully we’ll play tomorrow like we always have here.”
The NL winner hosts the World Series opener against Texas or Detroit on Wednesday night.
Milwaukee set a franchise-record with 96 wins this season, six more than the Cardinals, but the NL Central champions are on the brink of elimination because starters have stumbled.