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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Where should Nelson Cruz bat in lineup?

By Richard Durrett

ST. LOUIS -- Manager Ron Washington said Tuesday that he has not set his lineup for Game 1 of the World Series, but added that it was a “possibility” that Cruz would move up higher than his current No. 7 spot.

“I may make a change, I just don’t know where it’s going to be yet,” Washington said. Asked if moving Cruz up was under consideration, Washington said: “It’s a possibility.”

As for the batting order, Cruz’s impressive AL Championship Series – he was the first player in history to hit six homers and collect 13 RBIs in the same postseason series – has the manager considering moving him up.

Not only that, but in the NL ballpark, the pitcher will hit ninth. If Cruz is seventh, that gives manager Tony La Russa of pitching around him and dealing with a bottom of the order that won’t be as strong as it would be in an AL park with the DH in play.

So where would you move Cruz? Some possibilities:

* Flip Cruz and Mike Napoli and force the Cardinals to make some tough choices. If they pitch around Cruz, Napoli, who was red-hot the second half and hit .292 in the ALCS, is waiting.

* Put Cruz in the fifth spot, just behind Michael Young and in front of Adrian Beltre. Young is coming off a great Game 6 and may be ready to start finding his consistent stroke again. If so, making Cruz his protection could get Young even better pitches to hit.

* He could bat cleanup behind Josh Hamilton and in front of Young, but Cruz isn't normally a cleanup hitter and Washington may not want to make that big an alteration.

Where would you bat him?