Saturday afternoon tidbits: Another look to the lineup

Greetings from a gorgeous afternoon at Progressive Field. We’ve got a few clouds, but it’s nice and mild and a great day for a ballgame.

* For the first time today, Colby Rasmus is hitting cleanup in a lineup that also includes Ryan Ludwick. It was one thing to hit him there when Ludwick was sitting, but it definitely stands out to have Rasmus there today.

According to TLR, there were two main reasons. One was immediate and obvious — they hit Rasmus there twice, he did well there twice. The other comes down to TLR’s fondness for splitting up left- and right-handed hitters as much as possible.

I was always under the impression that that was largely done to neutralize opposing relief specialists, but the skipper also said it has an effect on the starting pitcher. In his view, if the starter sees a run of righties or lefties, he settles in to a degree he can’t do when it’s alternating.

“Rasmus has had two chances and been productive twice,” he said. “So, why not? The other one that I like is that it really gives Ohka a lot of right-left-right-left. That was Don Drysdale’s old theory. If you have too many of one type, he gets his release point. That gives us a little edge. You pick up two benefits. Although here they [only] have one left-handed reliever.”

* Following Monday’s off day, the Cardinals will stay on turn in the rotation for at least the first three days. That means it will be Adam Wainwright on Tuesday, Todd Wellemeyer on Wednesday and Joel Pineiro on Thursday against Detroit.

Friday, however, remains in question. They’ll have two options that day: keep Chris Carpenter on his fifth day and bump Brad Thompson back, or stay on turn with Thompson on Friday and Carpenter on Saturday, thus giving everyone five days’ rest.

TLR said it will come down to a lot of things, not the least of which is how Carpenter comes through tomorrow night. If it’s a slog, they’re more likely to give him the extra day. If it’s not so draining, Carpenter could pitch on Friday.

* And a few notes from today’s festivities at Progressive Field. They’ll be showing “Major League” tonight after the game, which La Russa called his favorite baseball movie — and in my experience, he’s far from the only one. Players/coaches/etc seem to favor it over any other, including my personal favorite, “Bull Durham.”

The Cardinals and Indians are both wearing throwback 1988 uniforms as a nod to the movie, and Skip Schumaker is even rocking the high socks to complete the look.

Thus, today’s playlist is a throwback as well, all from 1988.

INXS, “Need You Tonight/Mediate”
Neneh Cherry, “Buffalo Stance”
Prince, “Alphabet Street”
U2, “Desire”
Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”

-M.

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