St. Louis Cardinals World Series Game 1 Lineup Is Nick Punto-tastic

I guess that headline implies that there's a lot of Nick Punto in the Cardinals' Game 1 starting lineup. In truth, there's only one Nick Punto in the Cardinals' Game 1 starting lineup, but that's one more Nick Punto than I expected.

Rafael Furcal#, SS
Jon Jay*, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Matt Holliday, LF
Lance Berkman#, RF
David Freese, 3B
Yadier Molina, C
Nick Punto#, 2B
Chris Carpenter, SP

Punto draws the start at second base against the left-handed C.J. Wilson over Ryan Theriot, despite the following career numbers against left-handed pitchers:

Punto: .649 OPS
Theriot: .775 OPS

Punto is a good defensive infielder, so that helps, but the same goes for Theriot, too. This sounds an awful lot like Tony La Russa playing a hunch, although he might say that he's "playing the best defenders" even though Theriot's overall value is probably higher than Punto's.

The other surprise in here is Jon Jay batting second. You'll notice that Jay is the only left-handed hitter in the lineup. C.J. Wilson has forever been carbon-based death to left-handed hitters, limiting them to a career .560 OPS with three times as many strikeouts as walks. Batting order doesn't matter very much and you can never predict what'll happen in one single game, but Jay doesn't belong at #2. Not for Game 1. That is a minor but suboptimal decision.

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