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World Series Game 1 lineups: Rangers vs. Cardinals

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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.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.