Oct 10, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (center) talks with teammates during batting practice the day before game one of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

PostCards: 2013 NLCS Preview - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

The St. Louis Cardinals have finalized their 25-man roster for the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cardinals will go with a four-man pitching rotation once more.

PITCHERS: Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate, Carlos Martinez, John Axford, Edward Mujica, Seth Maness

POSITION PLAYERS: Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz, Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Pete Kozma, Daniel Descalso, Kolten Wong, David Freese, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Jon Jay, Shane Robinson, Adron Chambers

Mike Matheny announced yesterday that he will send Kelly, Wacha, and Wainwright to the mound, in that order.

“So it’s to me a great opportunity to watch these guys do their thing,” Matheny said about making it to the NLDS two years in a row. “I can’t help but take a lot of pride about how they go about their work and how they compete.”

Gerry Davis will serve as crew chief for the umpires. Other umpires for the series include Ted Barrett, Mark Carlson, Bruce Dreckman, Mike Everitt and Greg Gibson.

Matchup history between the two clubs:
*Three postseason matchups: 1985 NLCS, 2004 NLDS, 2009 NLDS
*The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 4-2 in the 1985 NLCS to advance to the World Series. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 3-1 in the 2004 NLDS but were swept 3-0 in 2009.
*This season, the Cardinals were 3-4 against the Dodgers.

With a few games remaining in the regular season, it was possible these two teams could have met in the NLDS.  Barrystickets.com provided a brief analysis on the matchup that you should check out.

What are the analysts saying? Redbird Rants spoke with MLB Network’s Joey Cora and ESPN Baseball analyst Doug Glanville.

Redbird Rants: What do the Cardinals need to do against the Dodgers in the NLCS in order to advance to the World Series?

Doug Glanville: They have a leg up already, given their ability to execute with runners in scoring position. They struggled a bit against the Pirates, so they will need to get back on track to squeeze across that extra run, especially against a rotation as tough as what the Dodgers are sporting.

Joey Cora: They need to win four games (laughs). I think, all kidding aside, the Cardinals—for me—need to play the way they’ve played. For me, I’m going to pick them to win. I think they play fundamentally sound on defense. They follow a game plan on pitching and they make enough contact to score runs, obviously. They need a little bit more from Matt Holliday. Definitely for this series, Matt Carpenter cannot go 1 for whatever he was against the Pirates. He needs to get on base. If he doesn’t get on base this series, they’re in trouble. What I expect from him is to come out of it and do what he did during the regular season. For Carpenter, he’s the big key for them.

Redbird Rants: Given that Clayton Kershaw is pitching Game 2, how important does this make a Cardinals win in Game 1 a priority?

Doug Glanville: Without the looming shadow of Kershaw, Game 1 is still extremely important. It sets to tone, if shifts the success rate dramatically, it controls that home field advantage. If they can get through the wall of fire called “Kershaw-Greinke” then they can get some momentum right when Wainwright is coming back around. They need big starts by their young guns. Kelly starts it off.

Joey Cora: The Cardinals want to win at him. Eventually, you’re gonna have to beat Greinke and Kershaw. At least one of them, maybe a couple times. So whether you scratch away at Greinke, it doesn’t matter but you have to beat them to go through the Dodgers. They’ve done well against Kershaw in the regular season and Greinke, they’ve done okay against, too. They’ve seen him when he was with Milwaukee and they played him when he was with Kansas City, too. They can handle him and Kershaw, definitely.

Redbird Rants: Matt Carpenter’s NLDS hitting was dismal at best so what does he need to do to start getting hits against the Dodgers?

Doug Glanville: Not everyone can be hitting at the same time, Carpenter is a solid hitter who is a run scoring machine. It is kind of late in the year to start revamping a swing so they just need to keep running him out there. He just seemed in-between in the NLDS. The Pirates did a nice job of neutralizing the strengths of many of the Cardinals hitters, so they weren’t just picking on Carpenter. The Dodgers are reading those scouting reports. Carpenter will get his timing back and we could look up and see him as NLCS MVP.

Redbird Rants: Allen Craig didn’t play during the NLDS. Matt Adams led all position players with a .316 batting average–how much of this is a credit to the Cardinals’ player development?

Doug Glanville: You cannot say enough about how well the Cardinals develop players, not just to be successful individually, but to be winning players. And there are plenty more coming up. Wong, Taveras and so on. They are built to last with great depth and a winning tradition. One of the best run organizations in sports.

Redbird Rants: How important is Matt Adams with the loss of Allen Craig?
Joey Cora: We’re still finding out about Allen Craig. He says he’s gonna play but if he plays, I would imagine he’ll be coming off the bench. He’s very important. We saw last night what he can do. He can swing a good bat. He’s a run producer. Holliday needs help. It can’t be all about Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Yadier Molina. They need somebody else to drive in runs. He’ll be a big key.

He’s good because he’s breaks all those right-handed hitters. At least Holliday and Molina. Having Matt as a left-handed hitter there and then you go with David Freese. He’s very important, definitely. He’s a run producer and provides power. He needs to drive in runs, definitely. I’ll go back to Carpenter. He needs to get on base and needs to score runs. If he does exactly what he does against Pittsburgh in this series, St. Louis is not winning this series. If he starts to get on base then they’ll win.

Tags: St Louis Cardinals

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