ST. LOUIS -- It was a bleary-eyed group of players who arrived at Busch Stadium late Saturday morning, fresh -- or not so fresh -- off a brief night of sleep at their nearby hotels. Game 1 of the National League Championship Series did not end until 12:25 p.m. CT, forcing both teams to endure a quick turnaround before Game 2's 3:07 p.m. first pitch, local time.
"I don't think there's anything hard about it," Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis said. "You just get up. This is what we've done the whole season. We've done it for a long time. So you just get up and you get excited to play the game."
For some, that may be easier than others. Catchers A.J. Ellis and Yadier Molina, for example, squatted behind the plate for a combined 26 innings of the Cardinals' Game 1 victory. Each was back in the lineup the following afternoon.
"It's the postseason, it's playoffs -- you feel great," A.J. Ellis said. "Woke up today feeling fresh, ready to play, excited. There is no time right now for bumps and bruises and aches and pains. That goes away. That's what adrenaline is for."
Still, tell that to Andre Ethier, who was out of the Game 2 lineup to rest his injured left ankle, or to Hanley Ramirez, who was a late scratch with bruised ribs. Even if most players had no trouble bouncing back after Game 1, the turnaround can be tougher to handle at the back end of a long season -- particularly given the emotions of playoff baseball.
"I think everybody had a little trouble coming back down," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You never know how long that [game] is going to last, so you just try to keep yourself pushed, and I know the guys were trying to keep themselves amped up. It's hard not to with the crowd and the situation. But then it's hard to come back down. You look up at the clock and it's 12:30 when you're getting out of here, and you're looking at the clock at 2:30 trying to get some sleep.
"Everybody came in good this morning. They look like they're ready to go. Both sides are dealing with the same thing."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.