(KTVI)- Now that the St. Louis Cardinals have clinched their third straight Central division title, the focus turns to deciding on the roster which will face either the Chicago Cubs or the Pittsburgh Pirates starting next Friday at Busch Stadium.
Six months ago, would you have guessed Stephen Piscotty or Tommy Pham would have strong cases for being in the discussion? They do now, thanks to their performance as the team endured a season-long struggle with injuries.
Historical trends against Cubs or Pirates pitchers will undoubtedly factor into who makes the cut. Plus the final three games of the regular season should help sort through lingering questions: Are Matt Holliday and Matt Adams ready to play a full nine innings? Can Randal Grichuk make all the throws in the outfield? Will Jon Jay’s previous postseason experience trump his production at the plate (.216, 1 HR, 10 RBI)? Will Piscotty be fully cleared of concussion protocols following Tuesday night’s collision in the outfield? And what about Yadier Molina’s left thumb?
Here’s one look at a possible 25 man roster:
Catcher: Molina, Cruz
Comment: Ed Easley steps in as Cruz’s backup if Molina can’t go
Outfield: Holliday, Grichuk, Heyward, Pham
Comment: Again, this weekend bears watching. If health is a factor, then Jay and Brandon Moss are in the mix.
Infield: Carpenter, Peralta, Wong, Adams, Piscotty, Reynolds, Garcia
Comment: Assuming Piscotty is back to normal, he gets the start at first base with the ability for in-game switches into the outfield mix. Adams and Reynolds provide punch off the bench.
Pitchers: Lackey, Wacha, Lynn, Garcia, Maness, Siegrist, Wainwright, Villanueva, Lyons, Broxton, Cishek, Rosenthal,
Comment: Lyons’ performance down the stretch earns him a bullpen spot as a lefty specialist since he can eat up more work than Randy Choate.
We’ll know what the real roster looks like soon enough.