July 20: Cubs (38-53) @ Cardinals (47-45)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Cardinals return home after a 1-5 road trip in which they were only outscored by a total of six runs. Winning close games has been an Achilles’ heel for this club all season, and that recent road swing only further underscores the issue. The Cardinals, as a result, have dropped five games out of first place in the division.

Manager Mike Matheny is mixing things up on Friday in an effort to try to get his offense rolling again. Skip Schumaker, who went 6-for-14 on the road trip, is hitting in the leadoff spot for the fourth time this year. Rafael Furcal drops to the eight-hole. While Schumaker’s numbers (22-for-51) against opposing starter Ryan Dempster were a key factor in the lineup change, the move was also made to put Furcal in a spot where he can work out some of his own timing issues without being expected to serve as a tablesetter..

Jon Jay also has timing/mechanical problems to fix, and he is out of Friday’s lineup altogether. He is 4-for-18 in his career against Dempster and has not found his timing since returning from the disabled list last month. In his 22 post-DL at-bats, Jay is hitting .211 with 19 strikeouts. He was batting .343 at the time his DL stint began.

In the ‘good news’ department, Matt Holliday is back in the lineup and said to be feeling no effects of the leg contusion that kept him out of Wednesday’s starting lineup. Also, starter Jaime Garcia (left shoulder impingement) continues to progress, as scheduled, through a throwing program. He has thrown off the mound twice and is scheduled to do so again on Saturday.

CARDINALS LINEUP:

  1. Skip Schumaker (2B)
  2. Allen Craig (RF)
  3. Matt Holliday (LF)
  4. Carlos Beltran (CF)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. Lance Berkman (1B)
  7. David Freese (3B)
  8. Rafael Furcal (SS)
  9. Kyle Lohse (RHP)

CUBS LINEUP:

  1. David DeJesus (CF)
  2. Starlin Castro (SS)
  3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
  4. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  5. Bryan LaHair (RF)
  6. Steve Clevenger (C)
  7. Darwin Barney (2B)
  8. Luis Valbuena (3B)
  9. Ryan Dempster (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

2 Comments

That’s the Murderer’s Row-type lineup, finally. As much as I like the Federalist, we need to play big guns over gold gloves for the time being.

Why does MM keep pinch hitting Matt Carpenter against left handed pitching. our pinch hitters are useless this year. Greene can not hit ML pitching at all.

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