The opportunity to add to the bullpen and the bench is a byproduct of not needing to keep several starting pitchers on the roster, as is the case in later postseason rounds. The Cardinals' 25-man roster for Friday will include only two starters: Kyle Lohse and Lance Lynn.
Lynn, who last pitched Sunday, will have had a normal four days of rest leading into Friday's game. He'd be a long-relief option should the Cardinals have to pull Lohse early, or if the game extends beyond nine innings.
The breakdown of pitchers and position players will be as follows:
Pitchers: Lohse, Lynn, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica, Marc Rzepczynski, Sam Freeman, Joe Kelly, Fernando Salas and Trevor Rosenthal.
Position players: Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz, Bryan Anderson, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, Skip Schumaker, Pete Kozma, David Freese, Ryan Jackson, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Jon Jay, Matt Holliday, Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers.
With seven bench players, manager Mike Matheny will have the flexibility to be aggressive in making double switches, sending out pinch-runners or setting up optimal late-game batter-pitcher matchups. In other words, this winner-move-on game will be more akin to managing a game with expanded rosters in September than a regular-season contest earlier in the season.
"We know the necessity to make tomorrow like a Game 7, but there is also still a balance of let's play the game. Let's play another game," Matheny said. "It's worked for us through the season. It's worked for us down the stretch here in September, just to continue to play the game and not try to reinvent the wheel. But with that being said, we all know when you have one game to try to turn it into an extended October, you do things differently."