The Cardinals found themselves down two infielders by the sixth inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Braves. David Freese and Nick Punto were both removed from the game due to injury.
Freese was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the top of the sixth. He took his base and remained in the game for the Cardinals’ half of the inning. However, when the Cardinals went into the field for the bottom of the sixth, he did not take his position. Daniel Descalso moved from second base to third, while Tyler Greene came in to play second. The club referred to Freese as having a “left hand contusion.”
Descalso, meanwhile, was only in the game as an injury replacement himself. Punto was removed from the game in the third inning due to what the club is calling tightness in his left hamstring. According to an announcement, the move was for “precautionary reasons.”
He was replaced at second base and in the leadoff spot in the Cardinals order by Descalso.
If you’ve spent any time reading this blog or following my tweets, you know I love talking lineup construction. Coincidentally, we spent a good deal of our morning chat with TLR talking about the current Cards lineup, so, a couple of notes on that topic.
* Asked about the leadoff spot, TLR noted a couple of things. One, Ryan Theriot doesn’t have much success in his career against Derek Lowe (4-for-20, 4 Ks). Two, he wanted the extra LH hitter at the top of the order against Lowe (yes, I know Lowe’s splits aren’t dramatic at all). He did say that he expects Theriot to be the club’s leadoff hitter for the most part going forward.
* As for No. 2 vs No. 6, he indicated that the recent use of Freese in the 2 spot has to do with the fact that Colby Rasmus has been a little bit off lately. I’m not exactly sure how that jibes with the fact that sometimes he’ll use the 2 spot to get a struggling hitter going, but that’s the answer.
Quote: “One of the keys is going to be how well Colby swings. If he’s really, really swinging well, then he’s pretty much an ideal No. 2 guy, because he can be everything. If he’s struggling a little bit, you lose some of that.”
* The manager was also asked whether there’s any chance he’d move Albert Pujols down to the cleanup spot in an attempt to help kickstart Pujols, and he said he had no interest in that.
“I think the other side would hope we do,” he said, “so I’m not planning on doing that.”
* A few things to look for on the site this afternoon… I have notes going up on the closer situation (hint: it’s a committee), Allen Craig’s return (hint: probably not tomorrow) and Gerald Laird’s trip up to Gwinnett County last night to see his brother play (hint: he enjoyed it).
* Old friend Joe Mather got his first start of the season today, at first base for the Braves.
* Brian Tallet’s return does not seem to be imminent. Per TLR, he’s still having trouble catching a ball comfortably.
And, finally, the playlist:
I still can’t stop listening to the new Jason Isbell album, “Here We Rest.” Plus we’re in DBT country. So, today’s playlist is five favorite Isbell songs, both solo and with the Truckers.
“Brand New Kind of Actress”
1. Punto 2B
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Molina C
8. Theriot SS
9. Garcia LHP
1. Prado LF
2. Heyward RF
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Uggla 2B
6. Gonzalez SS
7. Mather 1B
8. McLouth CF
9. Lowe RHP