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6 rookies, 7 NLCS vets on Cardinals roster

October 11, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Ahead of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Nationals, the Cardinals are sticking with the same postseason roster that beat the Braves in five games in the Division Series.

ST. LOUIS -- Ahead of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Nationals, the Cardinals are sticking with the same postseason roster that beat the Braves in five games in the Division Series.

Game Date Time Matchup/
Gm 1 Oct. 11   WSH 2, STL 0 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 12   WSH 3, STL 1 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 14 LIVE STL vs. WSH TBS
Gm 4 Oct. 15 8 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
*Gm 5 Oct. 16 4 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
*Gm 6 Oct. 18 8 p.m. WSH vs. STL TBS
*Gm 7 Oct. 19 8 p.m. WSH vs. STL TBS

Preparing to face a stacked rotation and a powerful lineup, the Cardinals have 13 position players and 12 pitchers on their NLCS roster. There are six rookies and seven players with prior NLCS experience. Here’s a breakdown:

Catchers: Yadier Molina, Matt Wieters

Molina was a pivotal player in the NLDS with the game-tying and game-winning RBIs in Game 4 that sent the series back to Atlanta for the winner-take-all matchup. He guided the Cardinals’ pitching staff to limit a monster Braves lineup, and his postseason experience goes unmatched. 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: Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Paul DeJong, Tommy Edman, Matt Carpenter, Yairo Muñoz

Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna were a force in the NLDS, both with a .429 average and combining for 18 hits, seven doubles, four home runs and seven RBIs. If Wong (.250) can get going ahead of them, the top of the order could be dangerous. DeJong had a redeeming Game 5, going 2-for-4, after having just two hits before Wednesday. The Cardinals can change the look of their lineup by putting Carpenter at third base and moving Edman to right field, or they can use Carpenter as a strong left-handed bat off the bench. Having Edman at third base can help shore up the defense, which saw a few uncharacteristic mistakes in the NLDS. Muñoz provides infield depth.

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

Depending on the Nationals' starter, Bader, who was 2-for-10 with five strikeouts in four NLDS games, could be in the lineup or be used as a late defensive switch throughout the series. Fowler drew the leadoff walk that sparked the Cardinals’ 10-run first inning on Wednesday, and St. Louis is hoping that sparks Fowler, who hit just .091 (2-for-22) with a .167 on-base percentage. The playoff rookie Ozuna made the most impact across the NLDS, with multi-hit games in all but Game 5. Martínez and Arozarena provide bench depth, with the latter also having value as a strong center-field replacement.

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

The Cardinals set their rotation for Games 1-4, with Mikolas, Wainwright, Flaherty and Hudson, respectively. Hudson will also be available out of the bullpen in the first two games of the series, and he’ll join an effective group led by Gallegos, Miller and Martínez, who struggled closing games in the NLDS (he allowed six of the Braves’ nine runs in Games 1 and 3, but he bounced back with a scoreless ninth in Game 4). The Cardinals emphasized Martínez will continue to close, so he will need to be on his game against a Nationals lineup that has shown it won’t quit in the late innings. Webb and Cabrera join Miller as the left-handed options, and the Cardinals will utilize them to limit the Nationals’ lefties, like Juan Soto. Helsley and Brebbia can be used in short bursts or multiple innings, and Ponce de Leon is the long-inning reliever.

John Gant was left off the roster for the second straight series, along with Michael Wacha, who is recovering from a right shoulder strain. Wacha thought he would be ready for the NLCS, but the Cardinals are prepping him as an injury replacement if needed this series.

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.