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Rain could scramble teams' pitching plans

The pitching rotations are coming into focus for the rest of the World Series, and there's plenty of questions about whether Mother Nature might have some impact.

There is an 80 percent chance of rain for Wednesday in St. Louis, and Game Six is already considered to be in serious jeopardy. It's possible MLB will make an early decision on it that day so the teams don't burn pitchers, especially since the weather is supposed to be dry Thursday and Friday.

Colby Lewis will go in Game Six for Texas against St. Louis' Jaime Garcia. Texas lefty Derek Holland, who threw 8 1/3 brilliant shutout innings Sunday night, could start Game Seven on three days rest if it goes Thursday as scheduled but Rangers manager Ron Washington said he's going to stick with Game Three loser Matt Harrison.

Washington did not comment further on his pitching when he met with the national media prior to Monday's game but was pressed on it during a meeting with Texas beat writers. If Game Six is rained out, Holland would thus be available on regular rest for a potential Game Seven on Friday.

Would Holland pitch?

"That's Harry's game," Washington said of Harrison. "You're going to find out that I stay consistent. Derek might be available out of the bullpen, but that's Harry's game. Matt Harrison earned it. That's the way we roll."

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The Cardinals have not announced if Game Three starter Kyle Lohse or Game Four starter Edwin Jackson will pitch in the ultimate game.

"My attitude is really consistent," said Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. "It's about [Game Five], and then you have to get somebody ready for six, and that's Jaime. Then stop and see where we are at that point."

The Cardinals made one key lineup change for Game Five, starting Skip Schumaker for the first time in the series and playing him in center field in place of John Jay, who is in an 0-for-14 rut.

"He's starting to pull his hair out because he's just not right at the plate," La Russa said. "It's not affecting his defense at all. He's a good offensive player, and I'm going to give 'Schu' a shot because Schu is a really good player and can play the outfield and come in with a fresh stroke, and then we'll see about Game Six. But it's more just Jay is just not himself."

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Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said before the game he didn't have a feel for whether La Russa would be back next season. La Russa has been non-committal and unwilling to discuss his status for next season during the series.

"As far as handicapping that, I think I'm not going to go down that path," Mozeliak said. "But obviously having a manager in place and that staff in place, that would be probably something that we need to do right away, because obviously it's a very difficult task if we were to have to replace Tony.

"So at this point, hopeful that we can wrap that up rather quickly. And right now as far as what's going to happen, every time he and I start to sit down and talk about it, we always realize and we sort of pinch ourselves that here we are in the World Series or having success in the postseason. So we just really haven't stopped to focus on it."

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Prior to Holland's gem Sunday night, the last pitcher to throw 8 1/3 shutout innings in a World Series game was Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte, who did it in Game Five against Atlanta in 1996. Pettitte, strangely enough, is the pitcher Holland has considered his idol growing up.

"When you look at Derek's performance last night, I truly believe that's the biggest game of his career and it's the biggest game of our organization," Hall of Famer and Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said during a meeting with reporters prior to Game Five. "He stepped up, and it says volumes about where he's come in his maturity."

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Ryan was kicking himself for flubbing the catch on former President George W. Bush's ceremonial first pitch Sunday night. The ball kicked off Ryan's glove and glanced off a nearby photographer.

"I have to take credit, I booted it," Ryan said. "I'd love to be able to sit here and make a bunch of excuses, but you know, he threw an 80 mile an hour running fastball and I was using a catcher's mitt, and I should have taken a glove."

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com