ST. LOUIS -- With a 4 p.m. CT start time for Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday (on TBS), the Cardinals and Pirates might just have an extra element to combat.
Late-afternoon shadows have given players fits at this ballpark in the past and make it especially tough for hitters to see the ball coming out of a pitcher's hand. It's one reason why the Cardinals limited the number of mid-afternoon start times during the regular season.
"Rooting for clouds," Matt Holliday said. "If it's sunny, it will be no fun for hitters. You hope it's cloudy. If it's not a cloud in the sky, it'll be a challenge. You won't be able to see the spin. It will be like it always is when the shadows kick in."
Twenty-four hours out from Thursday's first pitch, weather.com projected sunshine throughout the afternoon. There is a chance for thunderstorms in the morning.
"I don't really like thinking too much about it, because both teams will have to deal with it, even if it is going to occur," Matt Carpenter said. "If we get some coverage, it shouldn't be an issue. But like I said, it's something you have to deal with, but both teams will have that problem."
Mujica to stay in 'pen as Matheny hints at roster
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals do not have to officially submit their National League Division Series roster until Thursday morning, but manager Mike Matheny did fill in some blanks after wrapping up the team's workout at Busch Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Matheny confirmed that Edward Mujica, who has been removed as the club's closer, will nevertheless remain in the bullpen. The Cardinals will not carry three catchers, which leaves room for both Kolten Wong and Adron Chambers on the bench.
As a result, the Cardinals' roster is projected to be:
Pitchers (12): Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez, John Axford, Randy Choate, Seth Maness and Mujica
Position players (13): Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz, Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Wong, Daniel Descalso, Pete Kozma, David Freese, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Shane Robinson and Chambers
Assuming the Cardinals stick with these 25, their playoff roster will include 10 rookies, six of whom will be in the Major League postseason for the first time.
Cards keeping Game 3, 4 starters under wraps
ST. LOUIS -- If the Cardinals have settled on starters for Games 3 and 4 of their National League Division Series against the Pirates, scheduled to be played Sunday and Monday (if necessary) in Pittsburgh, they are choosing not to reveal them just yet. The organization had previously announced that Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn will start the first two games of the series.
What is known is that the other three starting pitchers -- Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller -- will all be on the Cardinals' 25-man roster. Manager Mike Matheny noted that Wacha and Miller will be available out of the bullpen, if needed, in Game 1. That would suggest that the Cardinals are leaning toward calling on Kelly for the Game 3 start, though that is not confirmed.
"We'll make our adjustments as we go," Matheny said.
If the Cardinals heavily value past results against Pittsburgh in their decision, Miller could be the odd-man out. Kelly limited the Pirates to two earned runs on 15 hits in 18 innings this season. At PNC Park, he allowed just one run in 12 innings.
Wacha was just as dominant. He pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits in a September start against the Pirates at home. In August, he struck out four in two perfect innings of relief.
Miller, on the other hand, lost all four of his starts against the Pirates this season. He finished six innings just twice and was knocked around for five earned runs on eight hits and three walks in his most recent start at PNC Park.
Raised a Pirates fan, Adams braces for clash
ST. LOUIS -- The picture arrived on Matt Adams' phone sometime Tuesday evening, and it showed one of his college friends dressed as a Pirate, hoisting a flag that had a line crossing through the Cardinals' logo. Adams got a laugh out of the text, which was also a reminder that there will be plenty of mixed allegiances among his friends and family as the Cardinals' first baseman prepares to play the Pirates in the National League Division Series (Game 1 on Thursday at 4 p.m. CT on TBS).
A Philipsburg, Pa., native who went to college 50 miles north of Pittsburgh, Adams was raised a Pirates fan. He stopped paying much attention to them after Barry Bonds left town, but he did find himself surrounded by plenty of Pirates faithful during his time at Slippery Rock (Pa.) University.
Adams said that several of his former college teammates were at PNC Park for Tuesday's NL Wild Card Game, and they let him know how loud the crowd was. Said Adams: "I could have told you before the game that it was going to be crazy."
In order to limit potential distractions when the series shifts to Pittsburgh, Adams said he'll only worry about ticket requests for his parents. He expects several other friends and family members to secure their own tickets and said that most "hope that personally I do well, but that the Pirates do better."
A raucous crowd at PNC Park on Tuesday night made an impression on others within the organization, too. While they don't expect the crowd to be that much of a factor in the series, the Cardinals will be returning to a ballpark at which they went just 3-7 during the regular season.
"You know, no real explanation for why it's given us trouble," manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a park that guys like playing at. It's a fun park. I thought the atmosphere last night was great. You could hear it. You could feel it just through the TV. But the fans there are excited, and rightfully so. We have the same thing here. That's playoff baseball."
Busch Stadium to host international soccer on Nov. 18
ST. LOUIS -- Soccer fans will have an opportunity to see one of the game's biggest stars next month when Busch Stadium hosts the Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina national teams on Nov. 18.
The Argentinian team, featuring FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi, recently qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. If Bosnia-Herzegovina fails to qualify, it will be replaced by a team to be determined.
The soccer match will be the second at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals' ballpark drew a record crowd of 48,263 to St. Louis in May for an exhibition between Premier League clubs Manchester City and Chelsea.
"We are very excited to bring soccer back to Busch Stadium," said Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III. "St. Louisans will have what is likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Lionel Messi -- one of the greatest players in the world -- in one of the most iconic settings in St. Louis. Soccer fans won't want to miss it."
Fans can purchase tickets, which go on sale at 10 a.m. CT on Oct. 10, by visiting cardinals.com/soccer or the Busch Stadium box office or by calling 314-345-9000. A special presale for Cardinals season-ticket holders and club VIPs will begin on Oct. 8.
• The Pirates have lined up their rotation for the first four games of the National League Division Series. A.J. Burnett will oppose Adam Wainwright in Game 1, and Gerrit Cole will start Game 2 against Lance Lynn. The Pirates will then turn to Francisco Liriano in Game 3 and Charlie Morton if a Game 4 is needed in Pittsburgh.
• Matheny did not announce his Game 1 lineup on Wednesday but did acknowledge that there won't be "any huge surprises in there." That would suggest that Daniel Descalso will start at shortstop.
• Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon, who recently returned after recovering from heart surgery, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1 on Thursday. The national anthem will be performed by Four Digit Chord, an a cappella group of civilian and military volunteers at Scott Air Force Base. The Cardinals have also announced that they will hold a pep rally from 1-3 p.m. CT in the parking lot of Ballpark Village. Former Cardinals pitcher Andy Benes will be there during the second hour to sign autographs.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.