Cardinals set roster for NLDS against Braves

October 3rd, 2019

ATLANTA -- The Cardinals announced their National League Division Series roster Thursday morning ahead of Game 1 against the Braves, preparing to face a strong rotation and a lefty-heavy, powerful Atlanta lineup

Here’s a breakdown of St. Louis' 25-man roster:

Catchers (2): Yadier Molina, Matt Wieters

Molina will likely be making his 90th postseason start on Thursday. The veteran catcher has played in four World Series, and he helped guide his team back to the playoffs this year by coming back strong offensively from a right thumb injury and catching nine shutout games since Aug. 13. Wieters, a switch-hitter, gives the Cardinals a left-handed bat off the bench and he can fill in if needed behind the plate.

Infielders (6): Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Paul DeJong, Tommy Edman, Matt Carpenter, Yairo Muñoz

Wong was cleared to play after straining his left hamstring two weeks ago, and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said that Wong would start Thursday. It’s likely that Edman will start at third base, while Carpenter provides a left-handed bat off the bench, especially with left-hander Dallas Keuchel starting for the Braves on Thursday. Edman and Muñoz -- who can be valuable in pinch-hitting situations -- can also play the outfield and multiple positions in the infield.

Outfielders (5): Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler, José Martínez, Randy Arozarena

Martínez and Carpenter -- if he doesn’t start -- will lead the bench in most situations. Arozarena is the surprising but deserving position player that the Cardinals went with, beating out Tyler O’Neill for a spot. Arozarena impressed in Triple-A this year and when he came to the Majors, including Sept. 25 against the D-backs, when he got a start and went 2-for-4 with a home run. He provides speed both on the bases and in the outfield, and he could be used in pinch-running, pinch-hitting and late defensive switch situations.

Pitchers (12): Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martínez, Tyler Webb (L), Génesis Cabrera (L), Andrew Miller (L), John Brebbia, Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, Daniel Ponce de Leon

Mikolas and Flaherty will start Games 1 and 2, respectively, with Hudson available out of the bullpen. That sets up Adam Wainwright to start Game 3 on Sunday, if Hudson is used in relief in the early games.

Because of the lefty-heavy Braves lineup, the Cardinals went with three left-handers in their bullpen, adding Cabrera to the mix. Lefties have a 1.192 OPS against Cabrera, but the Cards like his stuff and might use him for righties as well if Miller or Webb can’t get out of innings.

Ponce de Leon didn’t pitch a lot innings in September, but he’s still looked at as a long-inning reliever and provides value in the bullpen. Helsley and Brebbia can hold the Cardinals in the middle innings as well as give some length if needed. Gallegos will continue to be the Cards’ go-to righty in high-leverage situations.