09/18/08 8:20 PM ET
Cards receive lineup makeover
La Russa stacks lefties, switch-hitters against Reds' Volquez
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
La Russa started middle infielders at both corner outfield spots against Cincinnati right-hander Edinson Volquez. He used a lineup where every single left-handed hitter and switch-hitter started, and every player on the bench was a right-handed hitter.
While some spots looked normal -- Skip Schumaker led off in center field, Albert Pujols batted third and played first base, and Troy Glaus batted fifth and played third base -- some other things were striking. Aaron Miles got the call in left field, with Adam Kennedy in right. Felipe Lopez, playing second base, hit cleanup.
Although Volquez does not have a drastic split between right- and left-handed hitters, La Russa strongly preferred to stack his lineup with lefties. Righties are batting .215 against Volquez with a .315 on-base percentage and a .337 slugging percentage. Lefties are putting up a line of .254/.343/.364.
"He's getting right-handers out better," La Russa said. "He gets left-handers out, but he throws a hellacious changeup, forkball -- whatever he calls it -- to a left-hander. He pitches to a wider plate with right-handers. That's why I did it."
Though neither Miles nor Kennedy has much outfield experience, Miles is more used to playing as a utility man than Kennedy. As a result, La Russa said, Kennedy got the first choice of which side of the outfield to play.
La Russa said his only second thought regarding the lineup was the use of catcher Mark Johnson, since Johnson had never caught Kyle Lohse before Thursday.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.