SAN FRANCISCO -- Cardinals players and staff gathered briefly at AT&T Park on Saturday afternoon, but after landing in San Francisco around sunrise, they did not hold an organized on-field workout.
Following the team's stunning 9-7 win over the Nationals in the early hours of Saturday morning, St. Louis departed the airport in Washington close to 3 a.m. ET. A nearly six-hour cross-country flight followed, leaving the club to check into its San Francisco hotel around 6:30 a.m. PT.
"There were still people smiling as we got off the plane even at six in the morning, but it was a pretty under-control flight," manager Mike Matheny said. "I was hoping they wouldn't take this too lightly and that they did enjoy it for as long as they could. But they seemed pretty focused about moving forward and getting this next series started."
Several players said they sneaked in a few more hours of sleep at the hotel before reporting to the ballpark for the light workout.
"We didn't mind," grinned Marc Rzepczynski. "It beats the alternative."
Several pitchers did take the field on Saturday for a light throwing session. Other players remained inside to receive treatment, watch video in preparation for the series and fulfill media obligations before returning to the hotel shortly after 4 p.m. PT.
It capped a whirlwind 24 hours that began with a win-or-go-home game three time zones away on Friday. The Cardinals pulled off the improbable against the Nationals, becoming the first team in postseason history to climb out of a six-run deficit in a winner-take-all game.
In doing so, it has guaranteed the Cardinals at least four more games in their 2012 season.
"We just have that confidence in ourselves," Carlos Beltran said. "When I joined the ballclub in Spring Training, I saw these guys playing the game relaxed with no pressure. There is no panic here."
Matheny said he was able to catch highlights of the game on ESPN during the overnight flight. Even that, however, wasn't sufficient enough to help him capture the magnitude of the comeback.
"I'm going to have to watch that game over again," said the rookie manager. "It still hasn't really sunk in, at least to the extent of what these guys did. The at-bats they put together, the innings that the bullpen threw, I mean, it was one that goes into a category like I've never seen before personally or been that closely a part of."
Cardinals don't make any roster changes for NLCS
SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Mike Matheny announced on Saturday that the Cardinals' 25-man roster will remain unchanged as the club moves on to the National League Championship Series against the Giants.
That comes as no surprise given that the Cardinals already replaced an injured Jaime Garcia during the middle of their Division Series against Washington. In doing so, a spot opened up for rookie reliever Shelby Miller, whom the Cards have opted to retain instead of adding a second left-hander to the bullpen mix.
The Cardinals also confirmed that they will stick with a four-man rotation led by Game 1 starter Lance Lynn. He'll be followed, in order, by Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse and Adam Wainwright. None of the four will make a start on short rest, meaning the rotation will turn over in the same order should the series extend beyond four games.
Here is the rest of the Cardinals' NLCS roster breakdown:
Relievers: Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, Marc Rzepczynski, Fernando Salas, Shelby Miller.
Catchers: Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz.
Infielders: David Freese, Pete Kozma, Daniel Descalso, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Skip Schumaker.
Outfielders: Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Shane Robinson, Adron Chambers.
Jake Westbrook rejoined the Cardinals in San Francisco on Saturday after spending the week in Georgia, where his wife, Heather, gave birth to the couple's fourth child. Westbrook, who has been sidelined with a right oblique strain since late September, continues to work through a throwing program in hopes of being considered for the World Series roster, should the Cardinals advance another round.
Matheny is no stranger to San Francisco, as it is the place where he wrapped up his 13-year playing career. Several Giants coaches -- including bullpen coach Mark Gardner, pitching coach Dave Righetti and bench coach Ron Wotus -- were all a part of the San Francisco staff that Matheny played under from 2005-06.
"It's a quality group of people over [there]," Matheny said. "And I was very fortunate to be a part of this organization for a couple of years and watch some young careers begin, like a Matt Cain. I knew Tim Lincecum was on the way. It was a nice place to play, and [I] definitely learned a lot of things."
The Cardinals, though limited to keeping 25 players active, continue to travel with a much larger party. Three non-roster players -- Ryan Jackson, Victor Marte and Bryan Anderson -- remain with the club in case any would need to be added due to injury. Lance Berkman, Rafael Furcal and Kyle McClellan -- all of whom are out for the season due to injury -- are around simply for support.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.