Sep 28, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (26) checks his line-up card in the dugout before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
If it wasn’t already hard enough for St. Louis Cardinals to receive a sweep on behalf the Atlanta Braves and be held without a single run in their final regular season series, it could be just as difficult for manager Mike Matheny to prepare a playoff roster for a team known for positional depth throughout the season.
Before opening up the National League Division Series on Friday, the Cardinals must announce their 25-man playoff roster, which may not include players who have played a pivotal role in the team’s ninth 100-win season.
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Many of these tough decisions could depend on the outcome of Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game between division rivals Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. But there are several other undermining factors to consider, such as postseason experience, recent accomplishments and physical readiness.
While the Cardinals have a 30-22 record against the National League’s playoff contenders in 2015, some tough choices must be made soon to overcome recent struggles that nearly threatened their chance at a third straight division title. Considering that the team sticks to the 13-12 position player-pitcher format commonly used in postseason, the Cardinals have plenty of viable options to explore for the NLDS and possibly further into October.