Daily Dose: Rangers sticking with Davis

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General manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday that the Rangers will stick
with Chris Davis and Derek Holland despite their respective struggles.
Davis is batting just .204 with an MLB-high 94 strikeouts in 206
at-bats, putting him on pace to break Mark Reynolds’ single-season
record of 204 with plenty of room to spare, but will get a chance to
right the ship because Daniels doesn’t want to “bail on him.”

Davis was never a good bet to hit .285 again, but striking out in 46
percent of his at-bats is absurd even for his standards and he almost
can’t help but make more contact going forward. If the Rangers truly
stick with him, Davis should be able to hit .250 or so with 15-20
homers over the final 100 games. He’s batting .375 with 12 homers and
nine doubles in 112 at-bats when he actually makes contact.

Daniels’ decision to stay with Holland is perhaps more surprising,
because unlike Davis he’s yet to experience any success in the majors.
Holland has a 6.63 ERA over 36.2 innings split between the rotation and
bullpen, but Daniels said that the plan is to “let Derek pitch every
fifth day and give him a chance to improve.” He’s a strong long-term
prospect, but may not be quite ready to thrive at 22 years old.

While the Rangers utilize their spot atop the AL West to show patience, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* John Smoltz’s final rehab start will come Wednesday at Triple-A
and he’s set to join the Red Sox’s rotation next Thursday versus the
Nationals. There have been tons of rumors about Boston shopping Brad
Penny to make room for Smoltz, but the Red Sox announced Tuesday that
they’ll put off the difficult decision by going with a six-man rotation for now.

* David Ortiz went deep again Tuesday and narrowly missed a second
homer as he drove in a season-high three runs. Ortiz hit .185 while
homering once through the May, but has gone deep four times in 36
at-bats this month while bringing his OPS up from .570 to .663. His
season totals are still going to be ugly, but Ortiz is definitely
showing some serious signs of life again.

* For now at least Dontrelle Willis remains in the Tigers’ rotation
despite his 6.60 ERA, but manager Jim Leyland announced Tuesday that
his next scheduled start will be skipped. Willis has allowed 28 runs on
37 hits and 28 walks in 34 innings, including handing out eight free
passes in his last outing, and Zach Miner will get the call against the
Brewers this weekend.

* Ervin Santana was scratched from his Tuesday start with a sore
forearm, but is hoping to avoid the disabled list after an MRI exam
cleared him of any structural damage. Sean O’Sullivan pitched very well
in Santana’s place versus the Giants and will likely stick in the
rotation for however long he’s sidelined. Meanwhile, the plan to
replace Scot Shields with Kelvim Escobar has been put on hold for now.

AL Quick Hits: Torii Hunter (ribs) is planning to rejoin the
lineup Wednesday after losing a battle with the still-unbeaten outfield
wall … Travis Hafner homered and drove in three runs Tuesday for the
second straight game … Robinson Cano and Joe Mauer both had 4-for-4
nights Tuesday … Roy Halladay (groin) played catch Tuesday and is still
hoping to make his next scheduled start … Denard Span remained
sidelined Tuesday by an inner-ear infection, but the Twins got Michael
Cuddyer, Joe Crede, and Glen Perkins back … Felix Hernandez tossed a
two-hit shutout Tuesday in San Diego … Kenji Johjima (toe) is set to
begin a rehab stint at Triple-A this weekend … Gil Meche threw shutout
ball for the second straight start Tuesday, this time with a complete
game … Carlos Quentin (foot) jogged and took batting practice Tuesday,
but remains weeks from returning … Frank Francisco (shoulder) reported
no problems following a bullpen session Tuesday.

NL Quick Hits: Ivan Rodriguez homered Tuesday while tying
Carlton Fisk for the all-time record in games caught … Johan Santana
refuted former pitching coach Rick Peterson’s claim that his surgically
repaired knee remains an issue … Willy Taveras finally snapped his
0-for-32 streak Tuesday, but Emmanuel Burriss and his 0-for-27 were
sent back to Triple-A … Chris Volstad was knocked around for eight runs
Tuesday and has served up the third-most homers in the NL … Casey
Kotchman came off the disabled list Tuesday, with Daily Dose favorite
Barbaro Canizares heading back to Triple-A … Brad Lidge (knee) reported
no problems following a bullpen session Tuesday … Chris Young looks DL
bound with a sore shoulder after failing to make it out of the third
inning Sunday … Brandon Webb (shoulder) has a bullpen session Friday
and hopes to return around the All-Star break …Edinson Volquez (elbow)
threw from 110 feet Tuesday, but isn’t close.

NLDS, Game 1: Mets vs. Dodgers lineups

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo
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Here are the lineups for the Mets and Cardinals for Game 1 of the NLDS, starting at 9:45 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on Friday night.


RF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright
2B Daniel Murphy
C Travis d'Arnaud
1B Lucas Duda
LF Michael Cuddyer
SS Ruben Tejada
SP Jacob deGrom

Wilmer Flores is battling strep throat, so Ruben Tejada gets the call to start at shortstop for the Mets. Also notable is veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer getting the start in left field over hot-hitting rookie Michael Conforto. Cuddyer mustered a meager .699 OPS during an injury-plagued campaign, while Conforto wowed with an .841 OPS since debuting in the majors shortly after the All-Star break.


LF Carl Crawford
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Corey Seager
1B Adrian Gonzalez
3B Justin Turner
RF Andre Ethier
C A.J. Ellis
CF Joc Pederson
SP Clayton Kershaw

Outfielder Yasiel Puig is riding the bench, which is no surprise. Puig spent most of the second half sidelined with a hamstring injury and returned just before the end of the regular season. He’s currently battling back spasms. Ethier performs very well against right-handed pitching — he posted a .900 OPS against them this season — so expect Puig to ride the bench until Game 4 (if necessary), when lefty Steven Matz starts for the Mets. Also noteworthy is rookie Corey Seager hitting third to open the post-season for the Dodgers. Seager, one of baseball’s top prospects entering the season according to most, hit .337/.425/.561 in 113 plate appearances after making his big league debut on September 3.

Rougned Odor steals the show to send Rangers to 2-0 ALDS lead over the Blue Jays

Rougned Odor
AP Photo

The Rangers outlasted the Blue Jays in 14 innings to take the second game of the ALDS on Friday 6-4, moving to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Second baseman Rougned Odor‘s star shone brightest, as he used his speed to set up the go-ahead run in the top of the 14th.

With LaTroy Hawkins on the mound and the Jays employing an infield shift, Odor slapped a weak ground ball towards Josh Donaldson, positioned where the shortstop would normally play. Donaldson’s momentum took his momentum away from first base, so he had to make an off-balance throw. Odor then moved to second base on Chris Jimenez’s single to right field — narrowly making it back to the second base bag after rounding too far, a play which required replay review. Odor scored the go-ahead run, breaking a 4-4 tie, when Hanser Alberto (Adrian Beltre‘s replacement at third base) lined a single to center field.

Center fielder Delino DeShields had three hits with an RBI and two runs scored in seven at-bats. The RBI padded the Rangers’ lead to 6-4 in the 14th, as he beat out an infield single against Liam Hendriks. Starter Cole Hamels was strong over seven innings, allowing four runs (only two earned) on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts. The Rangers’ bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings of relief, including Ross Ohlendorf‘s 14th inning in which he recorded all three outs on strikeouts.

On the Jays’ side of things, Josh Donaldson hit a home run and helped instigate a benches-clearing argument with Rangers reliever Keone Kela. Donaldson had smoked a Kela offering home run distance was foul, then repeatedly swore at Kela because he felt the right-hander was quick-pitching him, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Jays starter Marcus Stroman was shaky early, coughing up three runs in the first two innings, but was able to settle down. He ultimately allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings. The Jays’ bullpen allowed only four base runners on two hits and two walks through the 13th, before Hawkins and Hendriks relented.

The two teams will have an off-day on Saturday as they travel to Texas to continue the ALDS. Game 3 starts on Sunday at 8:00 PM EDT, featuring Marco Estrada starting for the Jays and Martin Perez for the Rangers. The Blue Jays are still in search of their first playoff victory since Joe Carter’s walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series.

NLDS, Game 1: Cubs vs. Cardinals lineups

Jon Lester
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Here are the Cubs and Cardinals lineups for Game 1 of the NLDS in St. Louis:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Starlin Castro
LF Chris Coghlan
SS Addison Russell
C David Ross
SP Jon Lester

Jon Lester’s personal catcher David Ross takes the place of Miguel Montero behind the plate. Kris Bryant shifts back to third base after playing left field in Game 1, with Chris Coghlan coming off the bench to get a start in the outfield against a right-hander. Addison Russell bats seventh, which he did just 10 times during the regular season.

3B Matt Carpenter
1B Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jason Heyward
SS Jhonny Peralta
RF Randal Grichuk
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
SP John Lackey

Mike Matheny’s lineup for Game 1 is an interesting one. Jason Heyward is batting cleanup and playing center field, where he started just eight games all season. Stephen Piscotty plays first base, where he started just nine games. Yadier Molina is behind the plate, toughing his way through a significant thumb injury that’s sidelined him since September 20 and leaves him at much less than 100 percent now. Brandon Moss, Mark Reynolds, and Jon Jay are all on the bench.