The St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds exposed a few potential problem areas for the Cards in their quest for the playoffs and beyond in 2010.
This by no means is a panic-now article. But lineup issues could have been revealed in the defeat.
Giving Ryan Ludwick, David Freese, and Yadier Molina a day off, Tony La Russa’s lineup was significantly weaker. Without Ludwick Felipe Lopez slid into the 6th spot in the order followed by Allen Craig.
Lopez is a fine hitter, but he belongs in either the top 2 or bottom 2 in the lineup. When flanked by Craig the lineup fell off considerably after the terror of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Colby Rasmus.
The result was a 2-1 loss in which the lone run came via Holliday’s solo bomb.
There were other factors of course, Pujols had an off-day as did Rasmus and Skip Schumaker. There will be times when this lineup will work as Pujols and Holliday get so hot that it is more than enough on its own.
But the lack of depth could potentially have been exposed. If Craig and/or Joe Mather and Nick Stavinhoa do not hit well off the bench it will be a struggle some days for the Redbirds.
Plenty of time to go, but keep an eye on how St. Louis holds up over the season, especially if Pujols/Molina/Holliday/Rasmus/Ludwick get hurt. They could very well be in the market for a veteran bat from the left side.