NLCS Game 3: Cardinals (1-1) @ Giants (1-1)

Jenifer Langosch/

wpid-img_20141014_094135283.jpgIt’s not much of a surprise, but now it is official: Yadier Molina will not start Game 3. Despite Molina’s insistence on Monday that he will play again this postseason, the reality is that he is dealing with an injury that rarely goes away in 48 hours. For that (and other reasons), it made too much sense not to go with A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate.

Though this will be Pierzynski’s first start since Sept. 11, he has a season-long history with Game 3 starter John Lackey. They have been batterymates 20 times this season, and both are plenty comfortable with the arrangement. It doesn’t hurt, either, that Pierzynski is 8-for-21 in his career against Giants starter Tim Hudson.

Surely, San Francisco is ready to welcome Pierzynski back, too… with raining boos. He never endeared himself to the folks here during his one season (2004) as a Giant. San Francisco traded a lot of talent (Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano) to acquire Pierzynski, then released him after one season.

Molina had started 83 straight postseason games for the Cardinals before today.

With Molina out of the lineup, Pierzynski will also slide up into the sixth spot in the batting order. Manager Mike Matheny is sticking with Randal Grichuk in right field, apparently still siding with defense over Oscar Taveras. Peter Bourjos would have been another strong defensive option in this ballpark, but he remains on the bench.

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