Notes: Gall makes playoff roster
Cardinals rookie spent most of season at Triple-A
ST. LOUIS -- It hasn't been that long since John Gall wondered what in the world he had to do just to get a shot in the Major Leagues. Now the 27-year-old rookie is on the Cardinals' postseason roster.
Gall cracked the squad as a right-handed bat off the bench, solving one of the very few mysteries about the group that St. Louis would take into the postseason. Hector Luna and John Rodriguez took two of the remaining final spots, while Skip Schumaker and Scott Seabol were left off. As expected, both Cal Eldred and Brad Thompson made the roster as right-handed relievers. All five starting pitchers were included.
When Gall arrived at Busch Stadium on Tuesday morning, he headed straight to the lineup card, and saw his name listed among the right-handed reserves. For a player who spent two full years at Triple-A Memphis and played 114 games there this year, taking the field for a postseason game was quite a jolt.
"I've seen enough lineup cards in my life to know that if you're not on it, you're not playing," Gall said. "I walked over there probably a little quicker than I usually do to check out the lineup card."
Gall showed impressive acumen as a pinch-hitter in his brief Major League trial. He went 5-for-14 (.357) off the bench, which made him an appealing candidate to play a part as a postseason reserve.
"The coaching staff, especially Hal [McRae, hitting coach], who has helped me, and Tony [La Russa, manager], they don't put much pressure on you. They know it's important not to press. That's important as a rookie, not having pressure on you."
Familiar look: The Cardinals' lineup on Tuesday looked basically like it will for the entire postseason. David Eckstein led off, as he did all year, with Jim Edmonds in the No. 2 spot. Albert Pujols took his customary No. 3 position, followed by Larry Walker, Reggie Sanders, Mark Grudzielanek, Abraham Nunez at third base, Yadier Molina and starting pitcher Chris Carpenter. Nunez may slide down to the eighth spot against left-handed pitching, with Molina moving up to seventh, but those eight position players will likely toe the line for as long as the Cardinals are alive.
Bits and pieces: This is the second time the Cardinals and Padres have played a postseason series against one another. In 1996, St. Louis swept San Diego in three games in the Division Series before falling to Atlanta in the NL Championship Series. ... La Russa turned 61 on Tuesday. ... Carpenter was the first pitcher from the state of New Hampshire to start a playoff game since Mike Flanagan pitched for Toronto in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series in 1989. ... Hall of Famer Bob Gibson threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.
Today in Cardinals postseason history: On Oct. 4, 1930, Bill Hallahan shut out the mighty Philadelphia Athletics on seven hits as the Cardinals beat the A's, 5-0. Facing a lineup that included eventual Hall of Famers Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx, Hallahan went the distance, striking out six and walking five. The Cardinals closed the A's lead in the series to two games to one. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.
Coming up: The Cardinals will work out at Busch Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. Game 2 of the Division Series is set for Thursday with a scheduled first pitch of 3:09 p.m. CT. That game will be televised on ESPN2 with a broadcast start time of 3 p.m.
Mark Mulder, 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA in four career postseason starts, will oppose San Diego's Pedro Astacio. The Padres right-hander has four postseason appearances in his career, all in relief, with a 0.00 ERA over five innings.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.