Seeking spark, Matheny bats Holliday in two-hole

Manager cites slugger's on-base percentage, hot bat as reasons for move

Seeking spark, Matheny bats Holliday in two-hole

ST. LOUIS -- Amid all of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny's lineup maneuvering this season, only two players -- Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday -- have remained in fixed spots in the batting order. Now, that's a distinction unique to Carpenter.

Continuing to seek a way to spark the offense, Matheny moved Holliday from the third spot in the order to the No. 2 hole for Sunday's series finale against the Phillies. Matheny justified the move by pointing out Holliday's on-base percentage -- a team-best .376, tied with Carpenter -- and noting that an ideal lineup should be OBP-heavy up top.

"We're just trying to get a real good feel here with how guys are swinging it and trying to take advantage with a couple guys who are getting on base a lot and having faith in guys later in the lineup, in the middle of the lineup to drive them in," Matheny said. "It's always trying to figure out what's going to work today, and this is what we're rolling with."

Holliday has driven in the game-winning run in 10 of the Cardinals' 40 wins, but he has also been slow to show power this year, evident in his .388 slugging percentage heading into Sunday. That, too, factored into this lineup move.

Sunday marked just the 11th time -- and the first since 2010 -- that Holliday has batted second for St. Louis. The previous 10 all came consecutively from June 14-25, 2010. Holliday went 16-for-40 with three doubles, five homers and 11 RBIs during that stretch.

Matheny would not project whether he would continue to bat Holliday second beyond Sunday.

"He's been getting on base a lot and he's been driving in runs, so it's kind of been one of those juggle issues," Matheny said. "I just believe there is some opportunities to maybe give us a little different look and see how it comes together. … He knows around here that we're just trying to do the best for him, like we're trying to do the best for everybody else."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.