The St. Louis Cardinals have been wildly inconsistent over the past three weeks and I believe it’s time to shuffle things. Starting with the lineup.
Have you ever read the book, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson? If you have, this years’ St. Louis Cardinals may give you flashbacks to that novel.
I believe it was Dan Buffa who made this comment first, but it has continued for way too long. One day the Cardinals put up 13 runs and the next they muster three hits. Lately, the offense has been the biggest culprit of the team’s lack of performance and the current lineup construction may be due for a change.
I’ve heard multiple people opine that Mike Shildt’s lineups may be too much the opposite of the wishy-washy Mike Matheny lineups in the fact that he has kept just about the same lineup every day (minus rest days) for the entirety of the season. Every time, it seems the A lineup is Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong, Marcell Ozuna, Jose Martinez, Yadier Molina then Kolten Wong.
Consistency is important but it’s not insane to wonder if a lineup shuffle could cause more consistency with the offense as a whole. Now, as it usually happens, the moment I publish this article the lineup won’t change and everything will go back to firing on all cylinders. If that happens…great! I would love to be wrong on this issue.
But, if you were going to make a change, let me suggest where to do it.
Matt Carpenter has been better than the wreck he was at this time last year, but still nowhere near where he needs to be. Disagree all you want, but I still want him in the leadoff spot. Call me a homer, but I believe he will turn it around soon and be back to his on-base machine.
Now for the second spot, I have honestly never liked Goldschmidt there. I know it’s what a lot of good teams do with their best hitter (including the Brewers with Yelich) but I don’t love it and to this point, his numbers say he doesn’t either. Lineup position may not mean anything to a player of Goldschmidt’s prowess, but why not bring the revitalized Dexter Fowler up with his .401 OBP to get some ducks on the pond for the sluggers.
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At the three-hole, DeJong has been the MVP of the team, but Goldschmidt is the one player who can dethrone him there. Goldy has batted third his whole career and a return might jump start him.
DeJong doesn’t need to move far as the top-3 doubles hitter in the league would look great in the cleanup spot. Marcell Ozuna is great there when he’s hot, but recently he’s been among the coldest on the team. DeJong at cleanup would be great if he can continue his hot start.
With Goldschmidt and DeJong in front of him, Ozuna would be a fine 5th batter in the order with his pop. Last year, Ozuna was almost never moved down in the order despite his struggles, but this year should be different.
6th in the order should continue to belong to Jose Martinez. He has been slumping lately too but if there’s one thing he has proven time and time again, it’s that he is going to hit.
Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong could round out the 7th and 8th spot in the lineup and whenever Bader plays, he could slot here or with his recent hot streak, fill in for Fowler at the top of the order. Dealer’s choice.
So when you put that all together it would look like this:
Some will say that Carp should slide down, I don’t care. I like him at leadoff because even though he hasn’t been hitting (yet), he still consistently makes the pitcher throw 5-6 pitches to get him out which is valuable beyond numbers at the top of the order.
This lineup may not help anything but at the end of the day, something has to change with how this team is being trotted out every day. The lineup is an easy thing to change and sometimes a small change makes a big difference. Regardless, consistency both with the bats and the rotation needs to come. Make it happen Shildty.