John Mayberry Jr. likely starting in left field for Game 3 of NLDS

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According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel confirmed that John Mayberry Jr. will likely start in left field for Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cardinals tomorrow, leaving Raul Ibanez on the bench.

This isn’t a huge surprise given that the Phillies will be facing left-hander Jaime Garcia. Mayberry batted .306/.358/.595 with eight homers and .953 OPS over 120 plate appearances against southpaws this season while the veteran Ibanez batted just .211/.232/.353 with four homers and a .585 OPS over 138 plate appearances.

Much has been made of Garcia’s success over a handful of appearances against the Phillies during his career, but more important may be his dramatic home-away splits. The 25-year-old left-hander has a 2.37 ERA in his career at Busch Stadium compared to a 4.28 ERA on the road.

Dodgers feel optimistic about Corey Seager’s return in the World Series

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The Dodgers pulled through the five-game Championship Series without Corey Seager, but they’re counting down the days until their prized slugger/shortstop can make his first World Series appearance. He still has a ways to go before he can return to the field, however. Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reports that while Seager has been hitting off a tee, taking soft toss and running the curves of the infield, he’ll need to practice hitting in a simulated game before he can rejoin the team next Tuesday.

The 23-year-old infielder went 3-for-15 with a triple and two RBI in the NLDS earlier this month. He was sidelined in Game 3 of the series after making a bad slide into second base and sustaining a lower back strain. Although he’s made fairly rapid progress in his recovery over the last two weeks, he’s not back at 100% just yet, and Roberts said he won’t make a final decision on his status until it gets closer to game time. Even if Seager makes a successful return to his starting position, the Dodgers may not get the same .295/.375/.479 hitter they relied on during the regular season.

Provided that everything goes smoothly over the next two days, though, there’s a decent chance Seager will find his way to the infield — or, at the very least, to the plate. “We’re very optimistic,” Roberts said Saturday. “Corey doesn’t want to be denied.”