Who Does Shildt Start?

Maybe St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt should have Tyson Ross bat clean up this weekend against the San Francisco Giants. Okay, that’s an extreme exaggeration, but the right-hander is batting 1.000 with a 5.000 OPS against lefties following his solo home run against Clayton Kershaw earlier this month.

The Cardinals will be facing two left-handers from San Francisco in this weekend series–Madison Bumgarner and Andrew Suarez. An error in Giants game notes had led to previously writing that Dereck Rodriguez was also a lefty, but he is a right-hander.

Based solely on numbers (AVG/OPS) against LHP this season, here’s the best position players Shildt has to choose from:

Jedd Gyorko .310/.936

Harrison Bader .299/.897

Matt Carpenter .250/.893

Marcell Ozuna .302/.866

Tyler O’Neill .269/.845

Yairo Munoz .266/.840

Patrick Wisdom .313/.813

Yadier Molina .275/.804

Jose Martinez .273/.741

Paul DeJong .198/.665

Greg Garcia .167/.617

Kolten Wong .234/.611

Matt Adams .200/.563

Francisco Pena .091/.344

Carson Kelly .091/.182

Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as taking the top eight players on this list and plugging them–two categories do not tell their full offensive story or fill every defensive role. Likewise, a player such as Paul DeJong, who has not put up great numbers against left-handed pitcher this year, has two homeruns and five hits in his last three games.

A number of the Cardinals also buck their normal trend against lefties when facing Bumgarner. For example, Jose Martinez is 4-6 with a home run against the SF starter. Carpenter, DeJong, and Molina also have greater success against Bumgarner than their overall splits, while Gyorko has struggled against the southpaw.

Mike Shildt has yet to ask for a lineup suggestion, but if he did, here would be my offering for Friday…

1B Matt Carpenter
CF Harrison Bader
RF Jose Martinez
LF Marcell Ozuna
SS Paul DeJong
3B Patrick Wisdom
C Yadier Molina
2B Yairo Munoz
P John Gant

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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