That means, unlike later postseason rounds, the Cardinals will not need to include several starting pitchers on the roster. Instead, the roster can be fortified by adding extra position players and relievers -- or by including starting pitchers who would be available out of the bullpen.
It all sets up to make for fascinating theater between Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, both of whom will have the opportunity to be more aggressive because of extra available players.
"It changes it," Matheny said on Wednesday, a day after the Cardinals clinched the second NL Wild Card spot. "There's not a whole lot of protocol for us. It's pretty unique. We've gone through quite a few different things trying to weigh out pros and cons."
The Cardinals will announce their 25-man Wild Card roster on Thursday. Matheny chose not to even divulge the breakdown of position players and pitchers for the game. Gonzalez told reporters earlier this week that he may carry as many as 16 position players and intends to have three starting pitchers on his roster.