Cardinals: How St. Louis should structure their roster for playoffs

Aug 28, 2022; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Tyler O'Neill (27) celebrates with after hitting a go ahead three run home run against the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 28, 2022; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Tyler O'Neill (27) celebrates with after hitting a go ahead three run home run against the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols and Tommy Edman
St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) celebrates with second baseman Tommy Edman (19) after hitting a solo home run. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

Lineup against left-handed pitching

SS Tommy Edman

2B Brendan Donovan 

1B Paul Goldschmidt

3B Nolan Arenado

DH Albert Pujols

LF Tyler O’Neill

CF Dylan Carlson

C Yadier Molina

RF Lars Nootbaar

Bench: Nolan Gorman, Corey Dickerson, Paul DeJong, Jordan Walker, Andrew Knizner 

When opposing teams start a lefty on the mound, the Cardinals lineup flips around a bit and some new faces enter the lineup. Choosing to sit Gorman and Dickerson against lefties allows St. Louis to start two guys who mash against left handed pitching in Pujols and Carlson.

Pujols has a 1.231 OPS against left-handers, looking like his prime self from his first tenure with the Cardinals. The 42-year old gives the Cardinals three MVP level hitters in a row when lefties are on the mound, meaning the club is bound to put up runs.

There are some shifts at the top of the lineup as well, as Nootbaar moves down to the  9th spots in favor of Edman. On the season, Edman has an OBP against lefties of .422, making him a great lead off man for this lineup. Starting him at short here, rather than DeJong as Marmol has been doing, allows Donovan to remain in the lineup.

Donovan then maintains his spot hitting second, as his OBP verses lefties is also elite sitting at .433. Nootbaar has struggled a bit against lefties to this point, dropping him to the 9 hole but becoming an elite second leadoff man when righties enter the game.

Carlson has been batting second against southpaws, but I think he is better positioned as the club’s seventh hitter. Carlson’s OBP verses lefties is .388 on the season, with Carlson’s OPS rising all the way to .902. Having him follow up the big bats in the lineup gives the club one more guy to help drive in runs. He can be replaced later in the game for the likes of Dickerson or Gorman, with O’Neill shifting to center and either Dickerson or Donovan playing left.

Playing the numbers game and the eye test, these two lineups can compete with any lineup in the National League. The biggest question is whether or not Marmol will move DeJong out of the everyday lineup to create more opportunities for Donovan.

The bench for this lineup would then consist of Dickerson, Walker, DeJong, Gorman, and Knizner.

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