St. Louis Cardinals: This lineup isn’t working, time for change
By Jason Grose
Nine games into the 2018 season, the St. Louis Cardinals are struggling offensively. I think it’s time to try a new lineup.
The St. Louis Cardinals‘ record is 4-5. Really, the team isn’t doing anything that well right now, but I have been most disappointed in our offense. Nine games into a 162 game season is still early. However, I think nine games is a decent enough sample size to determine whether a particular lineup is working. This one isn’t.
To Matheny’s credit, he has essentially had the same batting order for each game – one consisting of Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna, Jose Martinez, Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong, and Kolten Wong, in that order.
Among National League teams, this batting order is ranked eighth in average, 11th in OBP, eighth in slugging, and ninth in OPS. More concerning is that the St. Louis Cardinals lead the NL in K% at 26.3% and have the third lowest BB% at 7.3%.
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Will Carp and Fowler hit under .200 for the year? No. So, the numbers will slightly improve over time. However, I think the struggling offense has a lot to do with the construction of the lineup just as much as slumping hitters.
Matt Carpenter is a phenomenal leadoff hitter. A few months ago, I wrote an article about how hitting him third again this season was a bad idea after hearing Matheny was going to try it. Read the article below for the in-depth piece, but here is a summary: Matt Carpenter has an .878 career OPS as a leadoff hitter and a .752 OPS as the third hitter.
Related Story: Matt Carpenter should not hit third
Dexter Fowler is currently hitting .132 with a .195 OBP. That’s brutal. Carp is only hitting .179, but he does have a .351 OBP. Couple Carp’s .351 OBP with Pham’s .350 OBP and you have a lot of people on base for your third and fourth hitter.
But, I don’t think Fowler and Carp should just switch spots. Jose Martinez should hit third. I think he provides the best combination of power and on-base ability right now. Can anyone argue against that? He currently has an .878 OPS to go along with his .897 OPS last season. So, this puts Fowler fifth. I wouldn’t mind seeing Molina hitting fifth and Fowler sixth either.
Next: Recommended changes for the Cardinals
Maybe it’s still too early… but watching this all or nothing, inconsistent offense is frustrating. I think it’s time to change the lineup to what it should’ve been all along. What do you guys think? Should Matheny be patient with the current lineup or change it? Thanks for reading.