Cheap Seats

Why not let Jon Jay lead off?

Isn't it time that the Cardinals gave Jon Jay a chance in the lead-off spot?

It's obvious that Rafael Furcal's back is preventing him from hitting they way he does when he's healthy. Tuesday night against the Giants Furcal managed one single and his average has dwindled down to .266.

Daniel Descalso has hit a lot better lately with regular playing time. But he's still only batting .244 with a .325 on base percentage. Those really aren't lead-off hitter type numbers. Skip Schumaker's got a better average, .314. But if he's in the starting line-up he's probably playing second base. And Schumaker's glove is killing the Cardinals.

On Tuesday Schumaker misplayed a ball in the first inning that would have got the Cardinals out of the frame before the Giants could hit a three-run homer that was the game-winning hit. Later he made a misplay that allowed the Giants to score their fourth run. 

Jon Jay is batting .300 with a .377 on base percentage. He's the most likely of any of the previously mentioned players to get an extra base hit and he's the most able to bunt for a hit -- at least while Furcal is ailing.

With 11 stolen bases in 12 tries, Jay gives the Cardinals the element of speed they've been sorely lacking. Tyler Greene was supposed to be the everyday second baseman in the spring. But he's so far down at the end of the bench that manager Mike Matheny wouldn't even let him bat with two outs in the ninth and a lefty on the hill for San Francisco.

Instead of the righty Greene, Matheny sent up the lefty Descalso against a lefty pitcher. 

Why not give the kid a chance? He's succeeded at everything else the Cardinals have put on his plate. If Jay has a fault, it's that he doesn't walk a lot. But his on base percentage certainly justifies a look in the lead-off role. And maybe if he is focused on getting on base at the top of the order it will help him be more selective and draw more free passes.

One thing is for sure: We'll never know if he isn't given a chance.

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