If the Cardinals had a problem with Adrian Gonzalez flashing Mickey Mouse ears after homering in Game 5, they’re not letting on.
“As far as getting under our guys’ skin, our guys want to compete,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Thursday, an off-day in their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “We’re not out there to make friends.
“We’re not out there to do anything except win,” he said.
The Cardinals lead the Dodgers 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Friday in St. Louis.
Dodgers leadoff man Carl Crawford thought it was a gesture the Cardinals wouldn’t forget.
“I’m pretty sure it rubbed them the wrong way and they’re going to use that as some kind of fuel,” Crawford said. “So, you might as well keep doing it, Adrian.”
And what does Gonzalez think? He was just having a little fun.
“It’s just something that doesn’t need to be talked about,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t need it to get out of hand here, because it shouldn’t be.”
MISSING BAT: The Cardinals are hopeful injured cleanup man Allen Craig could be a contributor if they get to the World Series. They could really use him, too.
St. Louis has been leaning heavily on pitching to overcome .193 hitting in the postseason.
Craig has been out since early September with a left mid-foot sprain, a fluke injury sustained stepping off first base. He had been scheduled to take batting practice Thursday but that was pushed back to Friday.
Lefty Jaime Garcia, coming off shoulder surgery in May, is among the pitchers Craig was scheduled to face.
“Just really felt like today would be a good day for guys to shut down and stay away from the yard,” manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ve spent a lot of time together.”
Craig led the majors with a .454 average with runners in scoring position and was among the league leaders with 97 RBIs.
Rookie Matt Adams helped the Cardinals surge in September to the NL Central title, but Craig’s replacement is hitting .237 in the postseason with a homer, three RBIs and 12 strikeouts in 38 at-bats.
FAMILIAR FOE: Skip Schumaker came up through the Cardinals system and played for them in four postseasons, including the 2011 World Series title team that was down to its last out — or even last strike — several times.
Facing them as a member of the Dodgers in the postseason for the first time, he knows the Cardinals are not panicking after a loss in Game 5 Wednesday — even if St. Louis blew a 3-1 lead last year in the NLCS.
“They’ve been through a whole bunch of stuff over there the last few years, so I don’t think they’re shaking at all as far as what’s going on,” Schumaker said. “They’re still winning 3-2. I think they’re going one game at a time, too.”
Schumaker predicted a seven-game series before the NLCS started.