Cardinals look to break out in revamped order
ST. LOUIS -- In an effort to spark his offense against Boston left-hander Jon Lester, who shut down the Cardinals for seven innings in Game 1, manager Mike Matheny made a few adjustments to his lineup Monday.
After leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter, Matheny inserted right-handed-hitting Shane Robinson into the two-hole, and moved Carlos Beltran to the cleanup spot after Matt Holliday. A hobbled Allen Craig will play the field for the first time since spraining his left foot on Sept. 4, starting at first base for a slumping Matt Adams and batting sixth.
Adams is batting 3-for-17 in this series, while Craig shined as a pinch-hitter in Games 3 and 4. Craig's return to the lineup offers protection behind catcher Yadier Molina. David Freese and Pete Kozma round out the lineup in the seventh and eighth spots, respectively.
"We're trying to do some things in our lineup," Matheny said. "We take everything into consideration and realize that trying to get some more depth. Also trying to get more traffic for the guys that can drive in runs.
"Shane has been doing a nice job taking good at-bats. [This] gives him an opportunity with [Carpenter] to really set the table and lengthen out our lineup through the middle."
The St. Louis offense has underperformed to its regular-season standards, batting .217 in the playoffs. After setting the Major League record with a .330 average with runners in scoring position, the Cards have gone 8-for-29 in those situations and left a combined 32 runners on base in the World Series. Are they pressing to make something happen on baseball's biggest stage?
"This is the two best teams in baseball going at it. And they've got a good pitching staff and we've got a good pitching staff," Carpenter said. "Somebody is going to win those battles. Pitching has pretty much dominated this postseason thus far, and in those situations, things are tough. And that's not just to make excuses, that's just the way it is.
"We could certainly do a better job, but I don't know if 'pressing' is the word for [it]. I just think that we just haven't found a way to get those runs in like we were in the regular season. But we've still got a couple more opportunities, a couple more games left to try to figure this out and hopefully we can change that tonight."