The process I followed was to start with the 32 players then with the club and assess the chances of each. I went through the locks, those I thought would make the NLDS roster and those I thought would fall short.
Earlier, I had also shared with subscribers the Cardinals post-season roster history under Tony La Russa. In the last three playoffs, the club had gone with 11 pitchers and 14 position players. Early quotes from the general manager this fall were consistent with that.
Yet as the late season struggles of the club came into focus, a change in thinking occurred. Perhaps it was the desire to provide more relief help or the fact that there were no injured players to allow David Freese to be activated.
Whatever the reason, the Cardinals decided to go with 12 pitchers in the first round. They can still change that mix in subsequent rounds, however.
My other 24 predictions were accurate. My only miss was that I had assumed an 11/14 pitcher/position player mix with Freese in and Boggs out.
Following are the current details.
|Starters (5)||Relief (7)||Catcher (2)||Infield (7)||Outfield (4)|
|taxi squad||Wellemeyer||Pagnozzi||T Greene|
|sent home||Kinney||K Greene|
The eight starting position players and the starting pitchers for NLDS games one, two and three are listed on top, followed by the remainder of the 25-man active roster. At this point, the game four starter is not announced. It could be Kyle Lohse, John Smoltz or in an elimination game, even Chris Carpenter on short rest is an option.
The reason for this is that in recent years, MLB modified their post-season roster rules to allow in-series substitution of an injured player by another in the same position grouping (pitcher or position player). This way, the Cardinals have reserves immediately available if needed in an emergency.
One final point. As I detailed in an earlier subscriber article, the Cardinals past NLDS history under La Russa indicates that on the average, 22 players appear on the field, leaving three on the bench throughout the entire series.
In other words, the horses that brought the Cardinals to a 91-win regular season are the ones that need to step up again in the NLDS.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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