Thank you for the compliment -- and great question. Fantastic question. This was a topic of a lot of conversation in spring training. And not always on Zoom. Some of the chats, when possible, via text or just on the phone were about how the Cardinals could better create a lineup built for matchups. We even referred to it as Matchup Mania at times in print.
Some of what we see with teams is remarkable.
It's like a hockey team with line changes. The Cardinals had an opponent earlier this season respond to a pitching change with three consecutive pinch-hitters. Three! There was no wondering about saving a bat for the ninth or dealing with a short bench, there was the matchups, and they were playing them to the script, to purpose of which the roster was built.
The Cardinals have tried at times to get that kind of roster going, but cannot seem to get the production to match the theory. They started the season with the idea of doing some matchup moves in the outfield with Carlson being the fixture and some moving pieces around him to maximize Bader against lefties, complement him with Williams against righthanded pitchers, or Edman in RF and Matt Carpenter at 2B against righthanded pitchers. Those were the ideas that the Cardinals have had, and we've seen such approaches in small windows.
Edman leading off against lefties, for example.
The Cardinals have straddled that world of wanting the matchups and wanting an everyday lineup at the same time. And, again, they haven't had the production out of either to make one more possible than the other. Given his preference, it sure seems like Shildt would welcome the chance to utilize a roster in that way, if the production made it possible.