The questions surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason

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Jack Flaherty (22) pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jack Flaherty (22) pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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The questions surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason.

There is not much going against the St. Louis Cardinals, who have won 17 consecutive games and are preparing for a wild-card matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But they do enter the postseason with some uncertainties throughout the roster.

First, it’s the status of shortstop Edmundo Sosa. He was hit by a pitch on his fourth metacarpal against the Chicago Cubs and while he is progressing, he has not resumed swinging a bat. He is viewed as day to day, but with the wild-card game less than a week away, time is running out for him to return in time. If he isn’t able to go, Paul DeJong is the natural replacement — and at this stage, would present a downgrade from Sosa.

Second, and less pressing, is the status of Jon Lester. His velocity dipped against the Cubs, prompting manager Mike Shildt and the athletic trainers to check on him. While he stayed in the game, and the team downplayed any potential injury, there is obvious concern for a 37-year-old pitcher whose velocity drastically declines before the fifth inning. He likely wouldn’t be on the wild card roster anyways, with the Cardinals putting another position player or reliever on the roster instead, but this is one to watch if they advance to play the San Francisco Giants.

Finally, the Cardinals need to figure out how to proceed with Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson. They can pitch in small doses, but neither can start and throw deep into games. With Flaherty, the option remains for the team to start Adam Wainwright in the wild card game and should they get to, say, the seventh inning with the lead, bringing in Flaherty for an inning or two before handing the ball to Giovanny Gallegos in the ninth inning. Again, just an option, but it’s a possibility if the situation presents itself.

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There’s not much currently not working in the Cardinals’ favor. They are clicking on all cylinders, both offensively and pitching, and have the best defense in baseball. But like every other team, they enter October with concerns that they will need to overcome to continue their Cinderella story.

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