With just 24 games remaining in the 2013 regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals should imitate some of Tony La Russa’s 2011 lineups by having the pitcher hit eighth.
Now, before you shake your head in disagreement and close your browser, please let me at least explain myself here.
Disregarding what happens tonight considering the Cardinals have had past success against Bronson Arroyo, the current lineup is broken. The Cardinals have been shut out in three of their last 10 games. The offense is averaging just 2.9 runs scored per game during that span.
A lineup that consists of Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Allen Craig should be scoring much more than 2.9 runs per game no matter how good the pitching has been. Sadly, this low average of 2.9 is inflated by four games in which they scored six, six, seven, and eight. The other six were either shutouts or two runs or less. Thus, it would be much nicer for the team to score four to six runs per game instead of scoring them in bunches or not many at all.
Well, one thing that is not broken is M. Carpenter’s bat. He has a .318 batting average with two doubles in the last seven days. However, during this same time frame, he has just one RBI–one measly RBI. As a lead-off hitter, this is not really his fault so what can the Cardinals do?
I propose moving the pitcher to the eighth spot and putting a batter that is more capable of getting on-base in the ninth spot. Sure, the team’s hitters that have occupied the eighth spot have been Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso, and they have not been getting on-base much lately either.
Thus, I propose putting Jon Jay or Kolten Wong in the 9th spot instead. Both Jay and Wong are in funks of their own, but I feel like Cardinal Nation would think that these two have a better chance at getting on base than Kozma, Descalso, or the pitcher at this time. If the 9th spot is getting on base more often, M. Carpenter will have more chances to knock in runners–he won’t go a full week of games with just one RBI.
Upon proposing the idea on Twitter, Bob Netherton of @CardinalTales gave me a solid idea of his own. Why not move M. Carpenter to the two-spot and have Wong bat lead-off? Like Bob, I am a huge fan of K. Wong, and with his speed, I see him as the lead-off hitter of the future for the Cardinals.
However, like I said earlier in this blog post, one of the few things that is not broken right now is M. Carpenter’s bat. Because of this, I would not mess with it. The approach a batter takes to the lead-off spot is vastly different than the approach taken from the two-spot. Would Carp be able to handle the difference? Sure he could, but like I said, I don’t really want to mess with something that has had an All-Star performance all season.
Will Mike Matheny do something this drastic? Most likely not. He is a traditional manager that is relatively new to the role. However, it is definitely something worth considering. Will tweaking the lineup the way I proposed magically fix everything? Maybe not, but with the way the team has been performing on offense, I say it is worth a shot.
In the meantime, Let’s Go Cards!
Until next time…
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