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Cardinal lineup and notes: Kolten Wong, Matt Holliday, Pat Neshek

Kolten Wong is batting 8th today.
Kolten Wong is batting 8th today.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Cardinals are off to a good start, coming off Monday’s 1-0 win against the Reds. Adam Wainwright notched win 100 and his first opening day win; he had 9 strikeouts to go with 3 hits and 4 walks over 7.0 innings. Yadier Molina scored the only run on a solo homer in the 7th inning; Matt Adams added two hits and Kolten Wong had one. Kevin Siegrist and Carlos Martinez both recorded holds while Trevor Rosenthal picked up his first save of the season. Here are the NL Central standings as of this morning:

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: 1-0 (1.000)
  • St. Louis Cardinals: 1-0 (1.000)
  • Milwaukee Brewers: 1-1 (0.500); 0.5 back
  • Chicago Cubs: 0-1 (0.000); 1 back
  • Cincinnati Reds: 0-1 (0.000); 1 back

The Cardinals have a run differential of +1; that would be a 1-0 record according to Bill James’ Pythagorean Expectation based off runs scored (1) and allowed (0); this is a good measure of how a team is doing outside of the actual win/loss record. Typically, the Pythagorean Expectation is within 3 wins of being correct, so it’s not an exact science. What you can normally see is teams with a Pythagorean record better than their actual record under-performing and teams with better actual records than Pythagorean records over-performing. After 1 game, it’s hard to see the trend, but wait a month and the results start to become a little more clear.

For game 2, the Cardinals will have youngster Michael Wacha face lefty Tony Cingrani; Cingrani made his Major League debut and should give the Cardinals a hard time, mainly because he’s a lefty. The game starts at 6:10 pm CST. The lineup will be:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Allen Craig, RF
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Matt Adams, 1B
  7. Peter Bourjos, CF
  8. Kolten Wong, 2B
  9. Wacha, SP

A lot of people were surprised to see Kolten Wong his in the 2 hole on Monday; it looks like it could be a long term thing, at least depending on the match up. "He's been disciplined in the zone. He's been taking good passes at the ball when he gets something that he likes. Everything is leading in the direction that he could be that sort of player” said manager Mike Matheny. “Whether he's that sort of player right now or for an extended period of time remains to be seen, but he fits there well for now. We'll continue to watch him and see how the lineup comes together. But we do have some other guys who can bat in that position, and we'll be always watching and figuring out what helps fit best." I like the idea of 2 speedier players at the top of the batting order; the goal now is to let them, along with Peter Bourjos, have free reign to swipe a bag. Speed has been underutilized for years and it could be an advantage the Cardinals could use against the league. Based off today’s lineup, it appears Wong will bat second against righties and down in the lineup against lefties; once Mark Ellis returns, Wong could sit against lefties. This DL stint for Ellis will be Wong’s chance to show that he can hit lefties and prevent a platoon situation.

One thing that might be lost this season in the instant replay talk and the home plate collisions is the Cardinals piloting the MLB hard slide rule. Remember Matt Holliday taking out Marco Scutaro in the 2012 NLCS? Holliday does, and he doesn’t want to be involved in another play like it. The MLB decided that the hard slide is just as dangerous as the home plate collision and started to look at rule amendments to reduce the changes of injuries; the Cardinals heard and volunteered to be the guinea pigs. The rule will be subject to replay to judge the intent of the slide. Commissioner Bud Selig said that they are looking at a batting practice-like screen to protect pitchers after the Aroldis Chapman injury.

Retrosimba looks at 10 little known facts about reliever Pat Neshek. It’s a great look at the non-roster invitee who made the roster, even though he didn’t mention Neshek’s card collection or his website. Neshek made his Cardinal debut Monday, walking the only batter he faced.

How do you get young girls into baseball? Link a team with global icon…in this case, Hello Kitty. Sanrio, Inc., owner of Hello Kitty, has reached an agreement with MLB to license team specific merchandise with their top brand. The new MLB Hello Kitty merchandise will be available through the team, mass retailers, sporting goods stores and MLB.com. Unfortunately for little girls in St. Louis, Hello Kitty will not be appearing at the stadium.

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