Early Cardinals notes: Craig feels good in return

Early Cardinals notes: Craig feels good in return
October 24, 2013, 6:15 pm
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BOSTON -- Allen Craig returned to the Cardinals lineup in Game 1 for the first time since Sept. 1, sidelined by ligament damage in his left foot. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout, but, more importantly, manager Mike Matheny said Craig felt fine.

“He felt good,” Matheny said. “A little bit different. He's been challenged here to move pretty fast in this rehab process, right towards the end. But I thought he took good at‑bats, looked like he was seeing the ball pretty well, and didn't see a lot of apprehension. [He's] still going to be guarded little bit, but everything came out pretty good.”

Craig served as the designated hitter in Game 1 and will probably remain in that role unless Carlos Beltran, who bruised his ribs when crashing into the bullpen wall in Game 1, isn't able to play during the series.

“That would be a tall order," admits Matheny of having Craig in the outfield.

-- The Cardinals finished the regular season with a home record of 54-27, a .667 winning percentage. Matheny was asked if there was anything specific about Busch Stadium that suited his team.

“I really don't like thinking that that's the case, because we have to play so many games on the road,” he said. “There's just times you play better in certain times. And I think at home there definitely can be an advantage. I think you see that at different places. I think we saw that last night. And whenever you have familiarity, I think there's a little bit more of an opportunity to be consistent.

“But I've seen us play very, very good against some tough teams and tough pitchers on the road as well as at home. It's something we don't really put that much thought into.”

-- In Cardinals playoff history, they are 22-16 in Game 2’s, 8-10 in the World Series, 3-7 on the road. They have lost four straight World Series Game 2’s, with the last win in 1985 at Kansas City.