ST. LOUIS • The typhoon of strikeouts that defined the Cardinals' first series has subsided into more of a stream, and the club is sticking with a lineup it insists will start clicking at some point, soon.
With the exception of swapping the bats at the back end of the lineup, manager Mike Shildt has maintained a steady hand when writing out the lineup each day. The handedness of the opposing pitcher determines whether Kolten Wong bats seventh or eighth, and so with a righthander on the mound for the Padres Wong is hitting seventh, Harrison Bader eighth, and so much is the same about the top six spots in the order.
It's the same order that produced four hits in the home opener.
It's the same order that has 72 strikeouts in the first seven games.
It's the same order that has shown some depth and some heft but some potholes in the middle, as cleanup hitter Marcell Ozuna and No. 5 hitter Yadier Molina have yet to get untracked for the season. Paul Goldschmidt hit his fifth home run of the season -- and his first at home as a Cardinal -- on Friday, and his total homers is matched by Wong (three) and Bader (two), giving off a sense of the accordion depth the lineup could have once the middle perks.
So much of the Cardinals' offense in the early stages of the season has hinged around the homer.
Two of the four hits against the Padres on Friday were home runs. Paul DeJong had a solo shot and Goldschmidt had his blast.
They're snug together again in the top three of the lineup that will back Michael Wacha on Saturday at Busch Stadium:
- Matt Carpenter, 3B
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Paul DeJong, SS
- Marcell Ozuna, LF
- Yadier Molina, C
- Dexter Fowler, RF
- Kolten Wong, 2B
- Harrison Bader, CF
- Michael Wacha, P
Dakota Hudson, who warmed up late in Friday's game, will be available again out of the bullpen. Alex Reyes may have his role redefined as he pitches his way back into high-leverage spots. There will be more updates forthcoming throughout the game here at StlToday.com.