Here are the lineups for Game 1 of the Rangers-Cardinals series tonight:
TEXAS RANGERS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B 1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Elvis Andrus, SS 2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Josh Hamilton, CF 3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Michael Young, 1B 4. Matt Holliday, LF
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B 5. Lance Berkman, RF
6. Nelson Cruz, RF 6. David Freese, 3B
7. Mike Napoli, C 7. Yadier Molina, C
8. David Murphy, LF 8. Nick Punto, 2B
SP C.J. Wilson, LHP SP Chris Carpenter, RHP
Ron Washington talked about possibly moving Nelson Cruz up in the batting order after the right fielder slugged six homers in the ALCS and sure enough Cruz is hitting sixth tonight rather than his usual seventh. Mike Napoli moves down to accommodate Cruz, which means the catcher’s team-high 1.046 OPS will be in the No. 7 spot. Without the designated hitter to work with Washington has benched Mitch Moreland and has Michael Young at first base.
St. Louis’ lineup is quite different than the last time they faced a left-hander (Randy Wolf in Game 4 of the NLCS). Jon Jay was moved to the bottom of the lineup in that game, but tonight he remains in the No. 2 spot. And manager Tony La Russa is going with Nick Punto rather than Ryan Theriot (or a now healthy Skip Schumaker) at second base. Lance Berkman has typically been much worse versus lefties, but he’s starting and batting fifth while Allen Craig comes off the bench.
Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.
While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.
Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.
SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.
Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.
Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.
At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.
In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.