Here’s the Rangers’ lineup for Game 6 of the ALCS tonight against Phil Hughes:
1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. David Murphy, LF
8. Bengie Molina, C
9. Mitch Moreland, 1B
No surprises, really. As expected, Cruz is playing after leaving Game 5 with a hamstring strain. Molina rejoins the lineup after sitting out Game 5 because Matt Treanor is C.J. Wilson’s personal catcher. Murphy gets the nod over platoon-mate Jeff Francoeur with a right-hander on the mound for the Yankees.
So far this postseason the Rangers have hit a combined .269 with a .336 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage versus right-handed pitching and they beat Hughes in Game 2, getting to him for seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in four innings.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.