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Cardinals' expanded bullpen pays off in NLCS

CBSSports.com wire reports

The St. Louis Cardinals added an eighth reliever to their bullpen before the start of the NL Championship Series, and it's certainly paid off.

Every member of the bullpen has pitched in the first five games of the series, and manager Tony La Russa has made 23 pitching changes. In 21 2/3 innings, Cardinals relievers have given up only four earned runs for a 1.66 ERA.

The relievers have pitched at least four innings in each game.

"You don't want to end the game thinking that you had weapons that you didn't use," La Russa said before Game 6. "You were hoping for the guy out there to get it back. You just don't have that kind of patience that you can have."

La Russa knows that he couldn't manage the same way in the regular season.

"It could not be sustained," he said. "You've only got usually seven relievers. It could be sustained if you don't win very often because you save them the days that you have a chance to win."

La Russa said he would manage Game 6 "like it's the last game of our lives" so the bullpen could be called to pitch several innings again.

"You won't know for sure until you're playing if this is one of those games," he said.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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