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1st Crack…

It’s time for everyone to start making “Opening Day Roster” predictions…so here’s my best guess as of this posting:1. 2Base – Adam Kennedy

Here’s hoping he can have a better year than last year. If Kennedy can pull it together and fill the lead-off spot, that extra Right Field position can be used to throw a bit more pop into the lineup.

2. CField – Rick Ankiel

Ank the Tank…I like it! He sure doesn’t look like a two-tracked fighting machine, but let’s hope he can hit like one. A consistent Rick Ankiel will greatly reduce the stress and burden on Pujols‘ shoulders this year (and hopefully his elbow).

3. 1Baseman – Albert Pujols
Nuff said.
4. 3Baseman – Troy Glaus
I know Troy’s numbers are a bit “less” when he hits in the clean-up spot, but let’s face it – Rick is too inconsistent to scare anyone; Chris has the infamous “left-handed jinkies” to contend with; and who the hell knows what we’ll get from Juan Gone in a full season. Troy is the only one in the lineup that might make a pitcher sweat enough to occasionally challenge Pujols.
5. LField – Chris Duncan

Dunc seems to hit with or without protection. In fact, the only thing capable of stopping him (other than a left-handed breeze) is himself. So, throw him in the 5 hole and let that tall, windmill swingin‘ frame protect Troy a bit.

6. RField – Juan Gonzalez

Dude…this guy’s old, but he’s been lighting up the batter’s box in Spring Training games. I love Skip Schumaker, but if Kennedy can get the job done in the lead-off spot, Juan could provide some surprising pop in the bottom half of the lineup.

7. Catcher – Yadier Molina

Too slow for the “extra lead-off spot” but not enough pop in the bat for the heart of the order, Yadi gets shoved in the number 7 hole. But let’s face it…anything we get offensively from this guy is a bonus.

8. Pitcher – Adam Wainwright

Opening Day Starter extraordinaire…here’ s hoping he can look more like Anthony Reyes this year and less like himself in the first inning of that Mets/Cards game. And, I gotta’ say…I think I’m a fan of the “pitcher in the 8 hole” strategy – but I reserve the right to backpedal if it goes wrong.

9. SStop – Brendan Ryan

Okay, okay…enough with the Cesar Izturis experiment. I myself just finished making the “send Ryan to AAA” argument on Leach’s blog, but the kid’s hitting better than Izturis (not that a 1 year-old with a wooden rattle couldn’t hit better than Cesar), and he may very well be more versatile (which is key now that Spiezio is gone). Hand him the keys to the car and let’s go drivin‘.

So…that’s it…my first crack at the Opening Day lineup. Here’s a list of the “benchies” (as we will affectionately call them this year) just to round out the post. GO CARDS!!!
Starting Pitchers: 2-Looper, 3-Reyes, 4-Piniero, 5-T.B. Thompsemeyer
Relief Pitchers: Izzy, Franklin, T. Johnson, Flores, Springer, Ron Villone, B.T. Welle-son
Bench: Skip Schumaker, Ryan Ludwick, Aaron Miles, Jason LaRue, Cesar Izturis
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