The St. Louis Cardinals have several questions when deciding the composition of their roster in the National League Division Series, which starts for them on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.
As covered yesterday, the questions of the members of the rotation and its sequence are front and center, but there are also several other important decisions to be made and shared.
The club will be most interested in seeing how the right hand of outfielder Matt Holliday will respond to a cortisone shot he was to have received on Thursday. Even if the news is good, the club’s cleanup hitter may miss game one. If he is unable to go in the first round, Adron Chambers or Shane Robinson could be the possible replacement.
If Holliday can go, they would need another DL-related move to make a change to their reserve in center. Corey Patterson has the veteran stripes but has been very ineffective as a pinch hitter (1-for-18) since joining St. Louis two months ago from Toronto. He hits left-handed as does starter Jon Jay. Chambers offers youthful enthusiasm and some real speed on the basepaths. He hits right-handed like Robinson and the other outfield reserve, Allen Craig. However, without an injury-related roster move, neither September outfield call-up can be playoff eligible.
At shortstop, Rafael Furcal’s hamstring injury would need to be severe enough to put him out for the series to drive a roster change. In that case, Tyler Greene would seem at first blush to be the likely addition. Then again, the Cards could add an outfielder that way. Or, with a number of other options in the middle – Nick Punto, Daniel Descalso, Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumaker – might the Cardinals go with a third catcher instead, Tony Cruz?
Another direction would be for the team to go with a 12th pitcher. Ten seem set (Carpenter, Lohse, Jackson, Garcia, Rzepczynski, Rhodes, Motte, Dotel, McClellan and Salas). That would leave three pitchers for at most two spots – Jake Westbrook, Mitchell Boggs and Eduardo Sanchez. With two position players already banged up, would you risk adding that extra hurler, or is another reliever more important?
Time to vote for your preferences. Please add your thought process in the comments below. Note that rosters may not be disclosed until Saturday.