Greg Garcia CardinalsBrenden Schaeffer | THE INTREPID STL

They’re only eight games in, but the Cardinals have had a rough go of so far this season. The team is off to a 2-6 start, and currently sits in last place in the NL Central. I could talk at length about how much of a struggle the last week and a half has been, and break down the ways in which the Cardinals could stand to show improvement if they want to be a contender–I won’t do that here, though.

Instead, I’ll let Lance Lynn give you the pep talk, from his post-game interview Tuesday, which aired on Fox Sports Midwest:

“We’ve gotta pitch better, we’ve gotta score runs and we’ve gotta play defense,” Lynn said. “We start doing that, we’ll be fine.”

Yeah, that about covers it.

So for game three against the Nationals Wednesday, Mike Matheny has rolled out a unique-looking lineup as the Cardinals try to avoid a sweep in Washington:

Aledmys Diaz and Yadier Molina getting a rest the day before an off-day is curious, but I don’t want to make a habit of criticizing Matheny for buying some extra time for either of these guys. Diaz appeared run-down at times in 2016, and while Molina wants to play every night, I support Matheny finding strategic times for him to take it easy.

As for Matt Adams in left field, I still consider that decision inconsistent with the idea of prioritizing defense, as the Cardinals stated all offseason they would do for 2017. To play devil’s advocate, the Cardinals have had very little in the way of offense thus far–finding a way to insert Adams into the lineup against a righty could be beneficial from an offensive perspective.

That said, Randal Grichuk homered Tuesday night, but now finds himself out of the lineup in favor of Adams. Unless he’s hurt, Grichuk’s bat has the highest ceiling for power on the roster; the Cardinals could benefit from him having the chance to get on a roll, but we’ll see how Adams produces tonight.

It won’t be easy Wednesday, as Washington throws out Max Scherzer to oppose Mike Leake. Even if Leake replicates his efforts from last week’s start, he could again find himself the hard-luck loser if the Cardinal bats can’t back him up with some runs.