Cardinals notes: Beltran's health, bullpen updates, etc.


Cardinals notes: Beltran's health, bullpen updates, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Beltran's status is a fickle thing. He can go from "one hundred percent healthy" directly to the clubhouse without seemingly injuring anything.

In playoff baseball, you look for absolutes, but at the veteran age of 35 and nursing a history of knee and hand problems, Beltran won't give them to you. He's in tune with his body and pro-active on the injury front, as evidenced by his early exit in Game 3. But one thing is certain -- he's in the lineup for Game 6.

NEWS: Game 6 lineups

"I salute him and our medical staff for getting really ahead of this," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "And hopefully we'll be able to keep riding this out and it doesn't flare up again."

Beltran is 4-for-12 (.333) this series with one home run and two doubles. He is the all-time leader among playoff hitters (minimum 100 at-bats), batting .371 over 32 playoff games.

Adam Wainwright, who started Game 4 for the Cardinals Thursday in St. Louis, won't be available out of the bullpen for Matheny in Game 6. Wainwright is two days removed from his 96-pitch, seven-inning outing that earned him the win in St. Louis.

Wainwright, 31, served as the Cardinals' closer during their 2006 playoff run that culminated in a World Series title. Wainwright appeared in nine playoff games that year, recording four saves and a win without allowing a run.

Still, Matheny isn't concerned about his stable of late-inning arms.

"Right now we're excited about what we have today and have a bullpen that had a full day off yesterday and ready to go," Matheny said. "So we've got plenty of arms down there."

The closing responsibilities will be reserved for Jason Motte and his beard.

Motte, 30, owns all 45 of the Cardinals' saves his year, including three this postseason. He became the third player in MLB history to record a perfect save of two or more innings when he shut the door in the eighth and ninth innings of Game 3, joining Mariano Rivera and Byung-Hyun Kim.

The Cardinals are inching their way toward a dynasty. They have now been a part of seven of the past 12 Nationals League Championship Series, and are vying for their third World Series title over that span.

What makes them so good? If you ask Matheny, it's the strength of all facets of the organization that sets the stage for their players to shine.

"I absolutely give a lot of credit to our development system," Matheny said. "And even a step ahead of that is our scouting staff and bringing in some guys who have the stuff that's pretty visible, but also the makeup to handle a situation like this. I think they start to preach to them a pretty consistent message, one, of the way they're supposed to go about things when they wear this uniform; and, two, the fact that we're not afraid to use a young pitcher if he can make an impact on our club.And we've done that for years.

"The guys have been thrown into big situations and have delivered. So it's been something that's worked in the past and is working right now."

Game 6 starter Chris Carpenter is the old man on the staff at age 37. Kyle Lohse is right behind him at age 34. Wainwright 31. Motte 30. And the rest of the hurlers are in their 20s, and in a number of cases, their younger 20s.

Here is the Cardinals' collection of bullpen arms, and their time walking the earth:

41 -- Mitchell Boggs -- 28 years, 8.2 months
44 -- Edward Mujica -- 28 years, 5.4 months
59 -- Fernando Salas -- 27 years, 4.7 months
34 -- Marc Rzepczynski (L) -- 27 years, 1.8 months
58 -- Joe Kelly -- 24 years, 4.4 months
64 -- Trevor Rosenthal -- 22 years, 4.8 months
40 -- Shelby Miller -- 22 years, .4 months

No word on which Cardinal would start a potential Game 7, though it would be Kyle Lohse's turn in the four-man playoff rotation.

The Cardinals opted to send relief pitchers Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal to the media availability normally reserved for the next day's starter. Matt Cain spoke for the Giants.

If there is a Game 7, Matheny would be required to name his man and make him available to the media.

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen are the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Fitzgerald, one of the top receivers in the league, has made grants of more than one million dollars for the "First Down Fund."

The fund promotes reading and technology access for kids from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as supports efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer and support breast cancer survivors. 

Also, the fund makes grants to the American Cancer Society as well as breast cancer organizations based in Arizona and Minnesota, for activities such as education, support groups, and free mammograms. 

Fitzgerald was a finalist in 2012.

Olsen founded "Receptions for Research" after watching his mother deal with breast cancer in 2009.

The foundation’s program focuses on cancer research, support and education programming.

The program has distributed more than $520,000 to six hospitals and foundations.

The program’s most notable and largest fundraiser, Kicks for a Cure, has raised over $850,000 in its eight year history.

Olsen was previously nominated in 2015.

Manning is a two-time Super Bowl winner. He supports "Tackle Kids Cancer" at the Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center. Their research team gives patients access to more than 100 cutting-edge clinical trials to combat pediatric cancer.

Manning has volunteered for the "Tackle Kids Cancer" campaign since the start of the 2015 season and has visited the Children’s Cancer Institute.

Manning was previously nominated from 2007-2013 and was a finalist in 2015.

The winner will be announced the week of the Super Bowl in Houston.

Curry passes Stojakovic on all-time 3-point list

Curry passes Stojakovic on all-time 3-point list

Stephen Curry passed a familiar face on Sunday in Orlando.

With his 3-pointer at the 6:54 mark in the third quarter against the Magic, Curry moved past former Kings star Peja Stojakovic on the all-time 3-point list.

Curry entered the game trailing Stojakovic by four (1,756 to 1,760). He finished the game with seven made 3-pointers and now sits alone in 13th place all-time with 1,763.

Next on the all-time list is Rashard Lewis with 1,787.

“Records are meant to be broken,” Stojakovic told last week. “Steph is definitely a guy, that if he continues to shoot - him and Klay (Thompson), if they continue to stay on the same pace, they can climb all the way to one and two.”

When Stojakovic retired after the 2010-11 season, he ranked fourth all-time in made 3-pointers. Since than, he's been passed by Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Jamal Crawford, Kyle Korver, Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Lewis and now Curry.

All-time made 3-pointers list:
1.    Ray Allen    2973
2.    Reggie Miller    2560
3.    Jason Terry    2199*
4.    Paul Pierce    2137*
5.    Vince Carter    1996*
6.    Jason Kidd    1988
7.    Jamal Crawford     1983*
8.    Kyle Korver    1964*
9.    Joe Johnson    1882*
10.    Chauncey Billups    1830
11.    Kobe Bryant    1827
12.    Rashard Lewis    1787
13.    Stephen Curry    1763*
14.    Peja Stojakovic    1760

(*) denotes active player