The other day, I noted the numerous quantities of lineup combinations St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has deployed since taking over in 1996.

In each of the last two seasons, he has called upon 153 different ordered combinations of starting players over 162 games. In recent years, since 2001, when he used 112, the number has steadily increased. During his 13-year reign as Cardinals skipper, La Russa has averaged 136 different lineup cards each and every season.

The focus of this article is to look at the 2008 team leaders at each position in the field and in the batting order and uncover some interesting facts by asking you a dozen questions.

Challenge yourself! See how many you can answer correctly before looking at the answers. First are the questions alone, followed by the questions and answers together with the detailed tables at the end.

**Starts by position**

1. Which player logged the most starts at one position last season?

2. Which player started at the most different positions?

3. If you had to guess which player started most often in left field for the Cardinals last season, what would be your guess?

(3a. For extra credit, who had the most starts in left during 2006 and 2007?)

4. What position had the most different starters for the 2008 Cardinals?

5. What position had the fewest different starters last season?

6. Which position was closest to a job share, where two players’ number of starts were closest (excluding starting pitchers and DH)?

**Batting order**

7. What spots in La Russa’s 2008 batting order saw the most different players to start games?

8. Which players had the most starts at those spots in the order?

9. One player appeared in every one of the nine spots in the Cardinals’ batting order last season except one. Who was he?

10. Here’s an easy one. Who was the constant – the player most often in his same spot in the order?

11. Which non-pitcher who started at only one position during last season logged the most starts?

12. Who was the club’s busiest designated hitter last year in terms of starts?

Starts by position

**1. Which player logged the most starts at one position last season?**

It was a player who joined the Cardinals with a reputation of being often injured, third baseman Troy Glaus. Unfortunately, he is getting started off on the wrong foot in 2009 following his recent shoulder surgery.

**2. Which player started at the most different positions?**

Actually, there were five Cardinals players that each had starts at four different positions. Not surprisingly, four are middle infielders – Brendan Ryan, Adam Kennedy, Aaron Miles and Felipe Lopez. The latter three are now ex-Cardinals.

The fifth? Chris Duncan – with starts in left, right, first base and designated hitter.

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**3. If you had to guess which player started most often in left field for the Cardinals last season, what would be your guess?**

If you said Skip Schumaker or Josh Phelps, you were wrong!

The surprising answer is Duncan with 40 starts in left in 2008, followed by Schumaker with 21. First baseman Phelps was clearly a ringer with just three.

**3a. For extra credit, who had the most starts in left during 2006 and 2007?**

Despite all his injuries, the answer is Duncan again and again. His 91 starts in 2007 and 40 the year prior paced all Cardinals left fielders (and those asked to try) those seasons.

**4. What position had the most different starters for the 2008 Cardinals?**

The answer is also left field, where ten different players started. Interestingly, each of the ten was given at least three games there, with a couple of infielders in the outfield, Miles and Phelps, each getting the minimum three starts.

**5. What position had the fewest different starters last season?**

That would be catcher with only three sharing the load – Yadier Molina (114), Jason LaRue (44) and Mark Johnson (4).

**6. Which position was closest to a job share, where two players’ number of starts were closest (excluding starting pitchers and DH)?**

There was a tie between second base, where Kennedy had 74 starts and Miles had 49, and centerfield, where Rick Ankiel had 84 starts followed by Schumaker at 59.

**Batting order**

**7. What spot in La Russa’s 2008 batting order saw the most players in it to start games?**

14 different players’ names were written onto the lineup card in the number two spot over the 162 games last season. Same with the number six position.

**8. Which players had the most starts at those two spots in the order?**

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The team leader in the number two hole was Aaron Miles with just 34 starts there, indicating a most unsettled position, while Yadier Molina had the most starts batting sixth with 64.

**9. One player appeared in every one of the nine spots in the Cardinals’ batting order last season except one. Who was he?**

Believe it or not, now-released Kennedy started at least one game with his name in every spot on La Russa’s lineup card with the exception of cleanup. He picked up five game starts in the pitchers’ number eight spot during interleague play in the American League cities where the designated hitter was deployed.

**10. Here’s an easy one. Who was the constant – the player most often in his same spot in the order?**

Yes, that is Albert Pujols, who started 143 games batting third last season.

**11. Which non-pitcher who started at only one position during last season logged the most starts?**

If you thought that would be Albert again, you are wrong. In addition to his 140 games started at first base, Pujols was also the designated hitter three times.

The answer is a bit of a trick. Only one non-pitcher started at least one game with the 2008 Cardinals in the same place in the field every time.

That was Brian Barden, who was given only one start the entire season – period. He started at second base and batted ninth on September 12 in Pittsburgh. As an aside, had exactly one third of his nine official MLB at-bats for the season in that game.

**12. Who was the club’s busiest designated hitter last year in terms of starts?**

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Rookie Nick Stavinoha tied with Pujols with three starts each at the non-position position.

2008 Cardinals – Starts by position

**C** Molina 114, LaRue 44, M Johnson 4

**1B** Pujols 140, Duncan 15, Glaus 3, Kennedy 2, Molina 1, Phelps 1

**2B** Kennedy 74, Miles 49, Lopez 20, Ryan 18, Barden 1

**SS** Izturis 110, Ryan 25, Miles 24, Lopez 3

**3B** Glaus 144, Lopez 9, Miles 5, Washington 2, Ryan 1, Izturis 1

**LF** Duncan 40, Schumaker 31, Barton 27, Ludwick 17, Ankiel 16, Mather 12, Stavinoha 7, Lopez 6, Miles 3, Phelps 3

**CF** Ankiel 84, Schumaker 59, Ludwick 10, Mather 9

**RF** Ludwick 106, Schumaker 30, Mather 6, Barton 6, Kennedy 6, Ryan 3, Phelps 2, Stavinoha 2, Duncan 1

**P** Lohse 33, Looper 33, Wellemeyer 32, Pineiro 25, Wainwright 20, Boggs 6, Thompson 6, Carpenter 3, Parisi 2, Mulder 1, Garcia 1

**DH** Stavinoha 3, Pujols 3, Molina 1, Kennedy 1, Duncan 1

**2008 Cardinals – Batting order frequency**

**1** Schumaker 110, Izturis 17, Barton 15. Ryan 8, Miles 5, Kennedy 3, Mather 3, Ludwick 1

**2** Miles 34, Ludwick 30, Duncan 17, Ankiel 17, Mather 15, Lopez 14. Kennedy 12, Barton 9, Glaus 5, Ryan 3, Schumaker 2, Phelps 2, Molina 1, Stavinoha 1

**3** Pujols 143, Ludwick 13, Ankiel 3, Mather 1, Kennedy 1, Stavinoha 1

**4** Ludwick 69, Ankiel 54, Glaus 29, Duncan 5, Lopez 5

**5** Glaus 108, Ludwick 15, Ankiel 14, Molina 9, Duncan 6, Lopez 3, Stavinoha 3, Phelps 2, Kennedy 2

**6** Molina 64, Duncan 27, Kennedy 17, Ankiel 10, Lopez 10, Miles 9, Ludwick 6, Glaus 5, LaRue 4, Mather 3, Stavinoha 3, Phelps 2, Washington 1, Ryan 1

**7** Molina 41, LaRue 32, Kennedy 29, Miles 18, Izturis 13, Barton 8, Mather 5, Lopez 4, Duncan 3, Stavinoha 3, M Johnson 3, Ryan 2, Washington 1

**8** Lohse 31, Looper 31, Wellemeyer 31, Pineiro 23, Wainwright 20, Thompson 6, Kennedy 5, Boggs 4, Carpenter 3, Parisi 2, LaRue 2, Stavinoha 1, Molina 1, Mulder 1, Garcia 1

**9** Izturis 81, Ryan 33, Miles 15, Kennedy 14, Schumaker 8, LaRue 6, Lopez 2, Barton 1, Barden 1, M Johnson 1