While free agent signee Peter Bourjos has made a strong enough impression this spring to earn more than a true platoon playing situation in centerfield, it would not be a complete surprise if Jon Jay is in the starting lineup later today as the St. Louis Cardinals kick off the 2014 season.
No, this isn’t a case of Mike Matheny being too respectful to Jay—it’s a matter of production and familiarity. Jon Jay has hit Johnny Cueto, the Cincinnati Reds starter, well in his career. Bourjos has yet to face Cueto—and granted that situation may be frequent this season but it at least makes some sense that Matheny would utilize the track record in selecting which games to start Jay instead of Bourjos.
Jay hit only .188 in the Grapefruit League, but did have two hits in his last five at-bats. Bourjos hit .324, going 3 for his last 5.
Key Matchups for Johnny Cueto vs. STL:
Jon Jay .476 (10-21) 7 RBIs
Matt Holliday .333 (9-27) 5 RBIs
Yadier Molina .250 (7-28)
Cueto is 4-4 in his 15 career starts against St. Louis; meanwhile Adam Wainwright is 5-9 against Cincinnati. He is 4-4 in nine starts at the Great American Ballpark and like many pitchers; Wainwright has been prone to give up the long ball there—surrendering nine homers.
Key Matchups for Adam Wainwright vs. CIN:
Jay Bruce .393 (11-28) 2 HRs, 8 RBIs
Ryan Ludwick .333 (5-15) 5 RBIs
Brandon Phillips .295 (13-44)