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Cards have backup plan for Wainwright

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals intend to start ace RHP Adam Wainwright for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Giants on Saturday, but they will have RHP Lance Lynn ready to go just in case, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Manager Mike Matheny announced Wainwright as his Game 1 starter after St. Louis' NLDS-clinching victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday night. He hedged, however, because of the club's concerns for Wainwright's health.

Wainwright has pitched for several months through tendinitis and discomfort in his right elbow. In Game 1 of the NLDS, he allowed six runs on 11 hits, only the second time in his postseason career he has allowed that many runs in a start.

"Just making sure that Waino feels right," Matheny told the Post-Dispatch. "We've got two guys on regular rest, it wouldn't be a stretch to have either one of them go.

"There's no question that Waino has been fighting it. I haven't made that a secret, and neither has he. It's all going to come down to how he feels. The likelihood of him saying, 'I can't go' is very slim. But it is a possibility that something might not feel right."

Wainwright said he did not expect any issue and would start Saturday.

MORSE REJOINS ROSTER: OF/1B Michael Morse, who made just two plate appearances in September because of a strained left oblique, will be activated for the NLCS, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Morse batted .279 with a .336 on-base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage in 131 games this season.

GIANTS SET ROTATION: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start Game 1 of the NLCS, Bochy announced. RHP Jake Peavy is expected to start Game 2 and RHP Tim Hudson is likely to start Game 3.

BRITTON A DAD: Closer Zach Britton will return to the Orioles today as a new dad. Britton and his wife, Courtney, became parents to a boy named Zander Lee Britton, who was born late Tuesday night in Burbank, Calif. Both baby and mother were resting and doing well.

WILLIAMS UNDER FIRE: Nationals manager Matt Williams immediately started facing questions about his decisions during the four-game NLDS loss to the Giants, especially about his bullpen usage.

Should he have lifted RHP Jordan Zimmermann with two outs in the ninth in Game 2? Should he have gone through Game 4 without ever using RHPs Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Craig Stammen or an available Stephen Strasburg? Should he have picked one of those pitchers for the pivotal seventh inning, when the Giants took the lead for good, instead of LHP Matt Thornton and rookie RHP Aaron Barrett, whose wild pitch let the go-ahead run score?

"Those are our seventh-inning guys," Williams said. "That's how we set this up."

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