NLCS Game 5: Nick Punto Highlights St. Louis Lineup

After staying up all night and sequestering himself all morning, St. Louis Cardinals manager and associate professor Tony La Russa emerged from a sensory-deprivation chamber at 3:17 p.m. Central Daylight Time and posted his NLCS Game 5 lineup, with right-hander Zack Greinke starting for the Milwaukee Brewers.

1. Rafael Furcal# SS
2. Jon Jay* CF
3. Albert Pujols 1B
4. Lance Berkman# RF
5. Matt Holliday LF
6. David Freese 3B
7. Yadier Molina C
8. Nick Punto# 2B
9. Jaime García* P

All those hours were well-spent, as La Russa realized that he could improve his lineup from Game 1 -- also started by young Master Greinke -- by replacing righty-hitting Ryan Theriot with switch-hitting Nick Punto.

Boom. Just wait. Punto will make one great play or contribute a key hit, and La Russa will look like a freaking genius.

Remember, in Game 1 the Cardinals scored six runs against Greinke, but still managed to lose by three runs because Jaime García and the bullpen did even worse and the Cards couldn't touch Milwaukee's relievers.

What are the odds against an exact repeat?

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