Matheny Names First Three Starters for NLCS

As expected, the St. Louis Cardinals will send Joe Kelly to the mound to start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“To be named a Game 1 starter, when he told me that, I got chills and goose bumps,” shared Kelly. “To have the confidence that he has in me, my skipper, it’s going to be really fun, and I really can’t wait for it.”

“Joe’s earned this,” stated Manager Mike Matheny. “He started off this season, and I’ve said it many times, he showed us so much and earned our respect coming out of spring training in a fight for that fifth spot.  Nothing that he did not do, but it worked out where he was going to be working out of the pen and getting very few opportunities.  But when he did get the opportunities, he made the most of them and continued to come in here regardless of what his role was and trying to figure out how to help our team win.

“Those sort of things pay off in the long run, especially on a winning team.  If you just stay the course and you buy into the overall philosophy and realize that you’re going to have your chance, and when he got his chance, he made the most of it.  So when the starting opportunity became available, it was obvious, then Joe just continued to push and work and show us that he’s ready for an opportunity like this one.”

Kelly will be followed in the rotation by Michael Wacha in Game 2 and Adam Wainwright in Game 3. Matheny also shared that the Cardinal roster will likely remain the same as in the NLDS. Allen Craig is progressing, but is not ready to return to the active roster.

–MLB has announced the start times for the NLCS with the first pitch for Game 1 on Friday night in St. Louis at 8:37 p.m. (ET)/7:37 p.m. (CT).  Game Two will be played on Saturday afternoon at 4:07 p.m. (ET)/3:07 p.m. (CT).

When the NLCS shifts to Dodger Stadium for Monday’s Game Three and Tuesday’s Game Four, first pitch will be scheduled for 8:07 p.m. (ET)/5:07 p.m. (PT) on both nights.  The final NLCS game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, October 16th will slated for a 4:07 pm. (ET)/1:07 p.m. (PT) start.

If needed, Games Six and Seven are in St. Louis – on Friday, October 18th and Saturday, October 19th, respectively – will be scheduled for 8:37 p.m. (ET)/7:37 p.m. (CT).

–The Cardinals 6-1 victory over Pittsburgh in Game 5 of the NLDS brought home big ratings for the national telecast on TBS, which averaged 6.1 million viewers, up +69% over comparable Wednesday coverage in 2012 according to Nielsen.

Overall, through 15 Division Series telecasts, TBS has averaged 3.7 million viewers, up +9% through the same number of games in 2012.

In St. Louis, Wednesday’s game drew a 33.6 rating, the highest mark for an MLB game there since Game 6 of the 2012 NLCS. By the conclusion of the game, 58% of all TVs on in St. Louis were tuned to the game. In Pittsburgh, the game drew a 31.1, second-best ever on record in the market behind only last week’s Wild Card game.