Charlie Manuel overlooked a 150-point difference in OPS to pick Ryan Howard over Joey Votto for the All-Star team, so even after Votto was added to the NL squad via MLB.com’s “Final Vote” contest it’s no surprise that the Phillies’ manager went with Howard at designated hitter. Or that he’s batting cleanup.
Here are the full NL and AL lineups:
American League National League
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF 1. Hanley Ramirez, SS
2. Derek Jeter, SS 2. Martin Prado, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B 3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Josh Hamilton, CF 4. Ryan Howard, DH
5. Vladimir Guerrero, DH 5. David Wright, 3B
6. Evan Longoria, 3B 6. Ryan Braun, LF
7. Joe Mauer, C 7. Andre Ethier, CF
8. Robinson Cano, 2B 8. Corey Hart, RF
9. Carl Crawford, LF 9. Yadier Molina, C
Miguel Cabrera replaced Justin Morneau in the AL lineup, while Martin Prado and Corey Hart replaced Chase Utley and Jason Heyward in the NL lineup.
All-Star outfields are often oddly arranged because there’s no “center fielder” spot on the ballot, but Manuel choosing Andre Ethier to start in center field is especially odd considering he has zero experience there as a major leaguer and Corey Hart has played 51 career games there.
After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.
The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card Game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.
Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.
The Royals showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.
Consistent with their success during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. Meanwhile, the Royals struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.
Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.
After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.
According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.
The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.
UPDATE: Play has resumed after a 47-minute rain delay. Chris Young has replaced Ventura for the Royals.
8:30 p.m. ET: And now we’re officially in a rain delay in Kansas City. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts and how it might impact Ventura and McHugh.
8:29 p.m. ET: The Royals are on the board in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Astros.
After the Astros tacked on another run against Yordano Ventura in the top of the second inning on an RBI single from Jose Altuve, Kendrys Morales connected for a solo homer against Collin McHugh to lead off the bottom of the inning. The ball traveled an estimated 369 feet near the right-field foul pole.
With rain falling at Kauffman Stadium, the Astros lead 3-1 as we move into the top of the third inning.