Toying with the lineup

My feature tonight is a look at how I expect the Cardinals lineup to shake down, but suffice it to say I have a few different ideas about lineup construction than skipper La Russa does. Mind you, I’ve won about 2200 fewer big league games than he has, but even so, indulge me.

Here’s how I expect the Cardinals lineup to look on April 3:

Eckstein, Encarnacion, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Taguchi, Molina, Spivey, Carpenter

And here’s how I would do it, assuming the same nine guys:

Eckstein, Edmonds, Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Spivey, Taguchi, Molina, Carpenter

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When your No. 3 hitter is Albert Pujols, then there is one main thing I want from my No. 2 hitter — a high OBP. If he happens to have some power, even better. If, in Edmonds case, he has the ability to stay out of the double play, that’s great too. But I don’t care if he strikes out a lot, I don’t care if he’s not a hit-and-run guy, and I don’t care if he doesn’t have speed.

Encarnacion is the kind of guy who might make a nice 5-6-7 kind of hitter, driving in the guys from scoring position much the way Edgar Renteria and Reggie Sanders did.

I still have confidence in Spivey; I’m not willing to jump ship until we’re a little ways into games that count and he’s still struggling.

And I understand La Russa’s rationale for wanting Molina out of the eighth spot, because a slow player really can make sacrificing difficult. But I’d still put him there until he develops a little more offensively. I expect him to be the least potent offensive player in this lineup, and therefore I’d hit him eighth.

Currently playing on the iPod: the Cure: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (yes, I’m old).

-M.

4 Comments

I have to disagree with you there. Edmonds has said he doesen’t like hitting in the two slot (and has numbers to prove it), and I don’t want Rolen cleanup until he shows he can turn on a ball and go for extra bases.

I like what TLR has except put Taguchi 2nd and Encarn 6th. I just think the bottom of the lineup has too little if you have Tags there instead of Encarn.

And wow, Spivey looks awful. Would it have been so bad to give Nunez 500k more to have him start at 2B? What would it take to bring in Graffanino?

I have to be honest, I don’t really care what a guy thinks; if the best thing for the team is to have him in a particular spot, he should be there. It’s the same with Renteria, back when he didn’t want to bat second.

As for Nunez, I liked the guy as much as anybody. He was a terrific guy to be around, fun to watch play, etc. But guaranteeing him two years will turn out to be an awful decision by the Phillies. Nunez was excellent from April to July, but those four months stand out dramatically from anything else he’s ever done in his career — including the final two months of last season.

-M.

Yeah, but it was different with Edgar. He produced whether he was 2nd or 6/7. Edmonds just doesen’t produce when he is in the 2 slot.

I still agree with not hitting Edmonds second. Fisrt of all, I disagree with him having the ability to stay out of a double play. If he were to hit 2nd all year, I promise he would end up hitting into a lot more DPs. He’s not a burner down the line, and he hits a lot of balls hard. The more that end up being right at or near an infielder, the more DPs he would ground in to. And he doesn’t draw just a ton of walks from the two spot either, so his OBP would drop. Plus he’d lose confidence, especially knowing he doesn’t like the two hole at all, and thus be an ineffective hitter. Bad idea all around, I think.

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