Half way through the month of March the Cardinals will finally field a starting line-up that resembles what we expect to see on opening day.
According to the posted line-up at Roger Dean Stadium where the Redbirds will face the Marlins:
SS Rafael Furcal
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
3B David Freese
1B Lance Berkman
C Yadier Molina
CF Jon Jay
2B Tyler Greene
DH Skip Schumaker
(Thankfully, when the real games start, the Cardinals won't be using a designated hitter. But they're opting to use one in most spring games to get their position players some extra at bats.
It's good to see Berkman who has been unavailable because of a couple of maladies, most lately soreness in his knee.
Personally, I understand why manager Mike Matheny has opted to bat Carlos Beltran second. But I like him better down in the order. If Jay hits well enough to justify batting second, the order seems to be more imposing with Holliday third, Berkman fourth and Beltran fifth.
Berkman is the club's best power source and having the switch hitting Beltran behind him will be a serious threat to pitchers who think about issuing and intentional pass. While David Freese had a great post-season in 2011, I am still not convinced about his power potential over a long season. Plus, he's pretty slow and would be likely to hit into a lot of double plays in the clean-up spot. If Berkman is at the dish and first base is open, it would seem to be a no brainer to pass him and pitch to Freese.