La Russa tweaks lineup again for opener in Cincinnati


The Cardinals troubles this month prompted Tony La Russa to try some old tricks including batting the pitcher eighth for a 13-game stretch. Heading into a big series in Cincinnati with first place on the line, La Russa is at it again. The Cards manager is trying to find a winning formula to keep the Redbirds flying above their competition in the division. Tonight, he will bat Jaime Garcia in the eighth spot ahead of Brendan Ryan. Ryan is one of the Cards still trying to find his comfort zone at the plate. He should get some good looks in the nine-hole to break out of his slump. Colby Rasmus will hit leadoff and Skip Schumaker will hit seventh.

The Cardinals hope to reestablish their hold on first place as the elite team in the division. The Reds want to make a statement that this club is different than the early season mirages of the past. This Cincinnati club is for real and they’re going to be nipping at the Cards heels all season. The energy stems from a young stable of pitchers to go with a capable lineup led by Joey Votto. Votto is hitting .308 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. Former Cards third baseman Scott Rolen adds some veteran leadership and success to the young nucleus. Rolen likes what he sees and says this Reds team is a “good ball club.” This series won’t decide who wins the division, but we will learn a lot — especially about the Reds. Cincinnati has been a non-factor for quite some time and it will be interesting if this team can hang on all summer.

For now, the Red Machine is rolling and the Cards can see them baring down in their rearview mirror. The Cards know the Reds are closer than they appear and tonight, they could find themselves chasing Cincinnati in the standings. It’s a fun shot of intensity to an early season series. […]

Here are the lineups for both sides.


CF Colby Rasmus

RF Ryan Ludwick

1B Albert Pujols

LF Matt Holliday

3B David Freese

C Yadier Molina

2B Skip Schumaker

P Jaime Garcia

SS Brendan Ryan


SS Orlando Cabrera

2B Brandon Phillips

1B Joey Votto

3B Scott Rolen

LF Jonny Gomes

RF Jay Bruce

CF Drew Stubbs

C Ryan Hanigan

P Aaron Harang