Share This Page

Pirates notebooK: Cardinals seek amped up Busch crowd

| Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 7:24 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Cardinals reliever John Axford stands on the mound after the Pirates scored during Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals reliever John Axford wasn't exactly calling out his hometown crowd on Tuesday, but he did say the atmosphere at Busch Stadium for Games 1 and 2 of the National League Division Series wasn't the same as the atmosphere at PNC Park for Games 3 and 4.

“In all honesty, it wasn't quite on par with what was happening in Pittsburgh,” Axford said. “That crowd was crazy. It was insane. It was really a great and fun experience, actually, to be in that ballpark and that atmosphere.”

Part of that, Axford believed, has to do with Pittsburgh's joy in welcoming back playoff baseball for the first time since 1992. First against the Cincinnati Reds in the NL wild-card game and then again Sunday and Monday, the crowds of 40,000-plus rose to its feet for two-strike counts, erupted over routine fly balls caught and jeered opposing pitchers relentlessly.

“You could tell the team and the city was needing it for a while,” Axford said. “It would be great if our fans here (in St. Louis) could reciprocate with what that atmosphere was like.”

Pirates lineup stays intact

Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates' lineup for Game 5 will stay intact, which means Starling Marte and Neil Walker will remain in the 1-2 spots.

Marte and Walker are a combined 1 for 31 in the series. The lone hit was Marte's solo homer in the eighth inning of Game 2.

Walker has been on base just once in 17 plate appearances, a walk in the ninth inning of Game 4.

“I'm not contemplating any changes,” Hurdle said. “Both men are capable, and they've done it in the past. They've been pitched effectively. I have every confidence that (Wednesday) will be the night they get going.”

Mutual respect

Asked if the rivalry with the Pirates can be classified as friendly, manager Mike Matheny said it isn't so much friendly as it is a mutual respect for one another.

“We respect the talent they have and the way they go about their game,” Matheny said. “They fight until the end, and that's the kind of baseball we want to play. With that being said, it comes down to going out and competing.

“Good history, bad history, we're going out to win every single night. We've seen a lot of each other, and there are a lot of adjustments to make to see who's going to be one step ahead and who's going to execute. That's what it all comes down to.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.