* Today’s lineup looks an awful lot like what I expect to see on Opening Day, save for one thing. Gerald Laird returns to the lineup, starting in place of Yadier Molina. Other than that, I expect the same players in the same order 10 days from now.
1. Theriot SS
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Schumaker 2B
8. Laird C
9. Carpenter P
* The most interesting questions about the lineup remain in the 1-2 spots. I asked TLR today if he would be hesitant to start the lineup with two left-handed hitters, and he said he would. So if Schumaker leads off, there’s a decent chance you’d see Rasmus down in the 6th spot or so, and Theriot batting second. I think, personally, that today’s look is a much better alignment, as long as Theriot is capable of leading off.
TLR also acknowledged that Schumaker can be a nice fit in the 6 or 7 spot as a guy who can hit line drives and maybe drive in some runs.
* Speaking of Laird (I was, briefly), he’s back in the lineup today. He’s under orders to take it fairly easy on the bases after he missed some time with hamstring discomfort, but he’s playing.
* It gets clearer and clearer that Bryan Augenstein is a name to take very seriously for this roster. Dave Duncan told me as much a couple of days ago, and TLR echoed that today. I think he may well be the favorite to be the long reliever on Opening Day.
* TLR said once again that he believes Freese’s playing time could be more than 2-out-of-3 games as the season goes along. He made the point, though, that in April they’ll likely still be quite cautious with Freese. In short, the increased optimism on Freese doesn’t really change the plans for how they’ll use him in the season’s first month or two, nor does it change what they’re thinking regarding a backup third baseman for the start of the season. Someone will need to be that guy.
And, finally, the playlist:
Tame Impala, “Solitude Is Bliss”
Foster the People, “Pumped Up Kicks”
Plan B, “Stay Too Long” (really dig this song)
Sleigh Bells, “Infinity Guitars”
Mute Math, “Electrify”
(woo XM Alt Nation!)