May 10, 2012, 09:15 AM
With Lance Berkman's pending return, it's going to be interesting to see what Matheny does with the lineup on a regular basis.

Allen Craig has hit very, very well since coming back. How do you keep this guy out of the lineup? I'm sure Berkman will be eased back into things, but someone is going to have to lose ABs. Can't help but think you want Beltran in the lineup most nights the way he is going, and that likely means that Craig or Jay will be the one losing the most at-bats. Jay has hit well, and clearly gives you the best centerfield defense of anyone.

Tough calls to make. What does everyone think? Will there be an odd-man out, or a four man platoon for three positions?
May 10, 2012  11:46 AM ET

Craig loses out in almost every non injury related scenario unless his knee is good enough to where he can play 2B. Jay's bat and defense are too good at this point to see Matheny playing Beltran at CF to get Craig into RF.

May 10, 2012  02:11 PM ET

You may be right, but Craig's line of .333-3-11 in 7 games is going to be hard for MM to ignore.

My guess is he'll sit Jay, Beltran and Berkman once a week and get Craig into at least 3 starts a week, especially when we see left-handed pitching.

May 10, 2012  02:25 PM ET

Ok Eleven ... I didn't consider the option of Jay getting regular off days (considering he played 159 games last year). In that scenario plus interleague Craig could get about 100 starts and 400 at bats. That would work for all parties.

May 10, 2012  03:05 PM ET

Yeah, I think Matheny will get creative to get everyone involved regular playing time, but that's just a guess. I'd like all of them in the lineup, but I'm a big Craig fan, and I'd like to see him in the lineup as much as possible.

It certainly makes sense to give Berk and Beltran regular days off. I guess the unknown with sitting Jay once a week or so would be whether Carlos can handle playing CF occasionally.

May 14, 2012  05:50 PM ET

Looks like tonight it is Beltran sitting while Craig plays. Tough calls for Mr. Matheny.

Meanwhile......JC Romero has been released and Eduardo Sanchez is back up and in uniform for tonight's game.

The Romero era didn't last long. I've got to think Mozeliak is going to be on the lookout for another lefty for the bullpen.

May 21, 2012  09:19 AM ET

The Berkman injury reports aren't sounding good. This could have answered the logjam question in the lineup. Depending on how Adams plays, it could very well be Craig at 1B everyday when he returns, with Beltran in RF and Jay in CF.

I hope Lance's injury isn't as bad as expected.

May 31, 2012  10:06 AM ET

It will be good to have Craig back in the lineup tomorrow.

June 1, 2012  09:51 AM ET

So who is going to be playing CF with Skip and Jay both out? Can't see Robinson starting everyday. I wonder if Tyler Greene will play there any....or maybe Chambers?

June 1, 2012  01:56 PM ET

Skip DL'd......Craig activated, and Sam Freeman called up to pitch out of the bullpen.

July 13, 2012  10:35 AM ET

Same spot as we were in a couple of months ago: Lance is coming back, so what does Matheny do about finding playing time for Craig? The way he has hit the ball, you almost have to have him in the lineup.

Not sure they'll be crazy about playing Beltran in CF very much with his knee issues, so where are the ABs going to come from for Allen?

July 16, 2012  12:44 PM ET

I know a lot of the focus will be on the 'pen giving up runs late but could we have left any more batters on base this last series? Situational hitting left a lot to be desired.

July 16, 2012  03:29 PM ET

I know a lot of the focus will be on the 'pen giving up runs late but could we have left any more batters on base this last series? Situational hitting left a lot to be desired.

Totally agree. The bullpen isn't performing as well as it could or should. Hitting with runners on is killing us as well, though. Last night, tie game in the 8th: Holliday and Beltran get hits to start the inning, and they could do nothing with it. Berkman struck out (although the called third strike was well of the plate, IMO), Yadi flies out on the first pitch and then Freese check swings a ball right back to the mound.

In contrast, the Reds put men on base in the bottom of the 8th......and with two outs, Rolen comes through with a huge hit. Game over.

The Birds are lagging in a lot of areas right now.....playing just well enough to lose.

August 9, 2012  12:41 PM ET

Well I guess Berkman being DL'd again kind of solves the problem of where to play Craig for the time being.


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