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Predicting the Cardinals Opening Night lineup

Jedd Gyorko, Cardinals

The Cardinals take on the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night to open the season. We already know the starters on the pitching side of things; it will be Carlos Martinez vs. Jon Lester. But how will the Cardinals approach this one with their lineup? Let’s take a guess at what Mike Matheny might do with this roster on Opening Night:

8 Dexter Fowler
6 Aledmys Diaz
3 Matt Carpenter
5 Jhonny Peralta
2 Yadier Molina
9 Stephen Piscotty
7 Randal Grichuk
4 Jedd Gyorko
1 Carlos Martinez

Notes:

Piscotty was a candidate for the clean up spot in the order, but could find himself down a couple spots from that expectation after a rough spring offensively. Matheny has shown a comfort level late in spring–and really, for the last couple seasons–for putting Peralta into prime places in the batting order. It’s likely he’ll do so again Sunday, rewarding him with the fourth slot.

Kolten Wong has already bristled at the idea of a platoon, but that is the most likely outcome for the beginning of the season based on the way the team is discussing the situation lately. With Lester, a lefty, on the hill Sunday, it would not be surprising to see Gyorko, a righty, get that start.

Fowler, Diaz, Carpenter atop the order could a an OBP nightmare for opponents. If they are able to get guys on base early Sunday, it will be interesting to see how the Cardinals approach Lester. Remember: he *cannot* throw to first base. He outright refuses to do it. The Cardinals should be smart and aggressive about testing him Sunday night.

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