Joe Kelly is the Cardinals’ new fifth starter

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Via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The Cardinals have not yet determined when they will use a fifth starter in the coming weeks, but they know who will be added to the rotation when they do.

Joe Kelly, who held the Cardinals in Friday’s game with five shutout innings of emergency relief, will get the next open start once the Cardinals figure out how to navigate three off days coming in the next nine days.

Tyler Lyons had been filling that role for the Cards but was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Saturday after posting a rough 5.51 ERA over his first six starts.

Kelly, who was stretched out as a starter this spring before ultimately settling into a long relief role, owns a 3.69 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 101/44 K/BB ratio in 139 career MLB innings. He was a third-round pick in ’09.

If Kelly doesn’t work out, the Cardinals can either turn to Carlos Martinez or back to Michael Wacha.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.