NLCS Game 3 lineups: Brewers vs. Cardinals

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Here are the lineups for Game 3 of the Brewers-Cardinals series:

   MILWAUKEE BREWERS            ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Corey Hart, RF            1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Mark Kotsay, CF           2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF            3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B        4. Matt Holliday, LF
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B          5. Lance Berkman, RF
6. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B        6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS   7. David Freese, 3B
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C        8. Nick Punto, 2B

SP Yovani Gallardo, RHP      SP Chris Carpenter, RHP

Nyjer Morgan is slumping offensively and struggling defensively, so manager Ron Roenicke has benched him for Game 3 despite facing a right-hander. However, instead of starting Carlos Gomez he’s going with Mark Kotsay, who’s 37 years old and started just nine games in center field during the regular season. Kotsay is 4-for-11 off Carpenter during his career, but 11 at-bats spread over a decade isn’t exactly meaningful.

With ground-baller Chris Carpenter on the mound Tony La Russa is going with his best defensive second baseman, Nick Punto. He’s also sticking with Matt Holliday in the cleanup spot and Lance Berkman batting fifth.

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.”