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Cleanup

The poor spring of Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick could grow to be a big problem if things don't change before the games start to count.

Ludwick, whom the Cardinals are counting on to protect Albert Pujols from his customary position in the cleanup spot after the front office ignored skipper Tony La Russa's request for a power bat over the off-season, has scuffled mightily so far. He is batting just .135 through 37 spring at bats.

The really bad news is that the other options on the roster haven't fared much better. Since Rick Ankiel's 3-for-4 day a week ago, batters who have hit behind Pujols in the order are 0-22 with 16 runners stranded on base.

While the Redbird pitchers have been pretty darn good so far this spring, the offense needs to be more consistent. When the opposition's best hitters aren't jogging in the outfield in the second half of the game, they're going to put up more runs. The Birds' offense needs to be up to the task. 

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