Division Series Game 1 tidbits: Schumaker, Rasmus, Ankiel, Boggs, Hawksworth

Greetings from gorgeous Dodger Stadium. It’s an absolutely perfect night at the ballpark, dusk just settling in. Had some fantastic Cuban food for lunch (Versailles, on Venice — highly recommended) and now we’re settling in for a ballgame. Life is good.

* Despite some speculation to the contrary, TLR went with Skip Schumaker at second base and Colby Rasmus in center field tonight against Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf. It’s the team’s best defensive lineup, rather than having Lugo at second base.

Here’s La Russa on the two calls:

“It really came down to Colby or Rick in center. And I think Colby earned the start. Rick’s close. We have a good team, [so] we have a choice to make. And at second, we’ve gone with Lugo a lot against left-handers and I would expect maybe tomorrow [he'll play]; we’ll see how today goes.  I felt like Schu was a good matchup for Wolf, and Julio has struggled against Wolf. In fact, quite a few of our guys have.”

For what it’s worth, Lugo is 1-for-8 against Wolf and Schumaker is 0-for-3. Rasmus is 3-for-5, which may be the real key to the equation in TLR’s mind. One other thing: I think there’s at least a perception that Wolf is not a lefty-killer in the same way that Kershaw is. However, Wolf has a much bigger split this year than Kershaw, and is absolutely obliterating left-handed hitters.

Still, personally, I like the lineup. I’ve already gone on record saying that in the playoffs, I think the defensive downgrade to Lugo isn’t worth whatever offensive edge you may get against a LHP. We’ll see.

* Also within the outfield mix, of course, is Rick Ankiel. TLR was asked in his pregame news conference today about Ankiel’s pinch-hitting success, and he acknowledged that it factors into his decision making. It’s only 26 plate appearances, but Ankiel is batting .273 with a .385 OBP and .591 SLG as a pinch-hitter this year.

* Mitchell Boggs and Blake Hawksworth secured the last two spots in the Cardinals’ bullpen when the roster was announced today. The manager’s answer when asked about the decisions was, I thought, revealing. He basically indicated that Hawksworth was all but automatic, and Boggs was the one guy who was maybe a close call.

“I don’t know who you would define as the last two,” he said when asked about the decision on the final two roster spots. I think Boggs is probably one of the two, I’m not sure who the other one would be. … And as far as the other one, we really had a tough call.  We’d have had a really tough call to go 11, because Hawksworth has done a good job, McClellan and Motte been part of what we do. So really going to 12 pitchers made us not to have to make a decision on Boggs versus one of the other young guys.”

Tonight’s playlist certainly suits where I am mentally, and I hope all of y’all are too. It’s let’s-get-it-going music. If you think some of it is cheesy, well, sorry.

U2, “Where the Streets Have No Name”
Motley Crue, “Kickstart My Heart”
Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
Rolling Stones, “Start Me Up”
Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”

-M.

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