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Lineup change suggests Cardinals are ready for small ball

Oct 28, 2013, 5:14 PM EST

Shane Robinson AP

If you did a million World Series simulations last week — and I assume someone out there probably did — Game 5 almost surely ended up being the lowest scoring contest of the bunch. It’s simply a rematch of Game 1 with Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright facing off again, but this time it’s in the NL park, with no designated hitter. Also, Busch Stadium is a tougher place to hit than Fenway anyway. Those John Lackey-Michael Wacha matchups may also have projected as pitcher’s duels, but they were both slated for Fenway and the DH.

So, yes, on paper, tonight appears likely to be a low scoring game. That’s probably a big reason why Cardinals manager Mike Matheny decided to not only start Shane Robinson but to put him in the two hole ahead of Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran. If leadoff man Matt Carpenter singles or walk to lead off an inning, it’s a good bet that Robinson is going to bunt him over or that Matheny will at least try a hit and run. It may be the latter, since Robinson actually doesn’t have any successful sac bunts in his major league career.

And that’s not necessarily such a horrible plan; one run could make a whole lot of difference in tonight’s game. But it’ll sting in the end if the Cardinals again happen to find themselves up down two runs in the ninth with two outs and their No. 2 hitter up. Beltran didn’t get his chance in Game 4 because of Kolten Wong‘s miscue. Tonight’s it’s Matheny’s machinations that could cost him an at-bat.

  1. spudchukar - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Not buying it Matt. Your reasoning is sound, and may have had some influence in Matheny’s decision, but I think Robinson is in their cause of the lefty starter. He offers better defense, more speed, and has been getting better and better at hitting behind the runner.

    But with the lefty starting, Beltran in the 4 hole gives us more thump there, and still allows the Cards to split up Holliday and Molina later in the game when a righty is brought in.

  2. spudchukar - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    News! Craig is starting in place of Adams at 1B!

    • spudchukar - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      At this time I believe he is hitting sixth.

  3. peterjohnjoseph - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Allen Craig is now in at 1st. This should be interesting.

  4. ghstmnnfrst - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    At least use a little nuance if you’re going to troll.

  5. Tim's Neighbor - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Giving away outs is an awful idea. Hope the Cards go for it.

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