After delivering RBI hits off the bench in each of the first two games Allen Craig will move into the starting lineup for the next three games as the World Series shifts to Texas and American League rules.
Craig is expected to serve as the Cardinals’ designated hitter for Games 3, 4, and 5, although it’s possible manager Tony La Russa could decide to use him in the outfield at some point while shifting Matt Holliday or Lance Berkman to the DH spot.
During the regular season Craig made at least five starts in all three outfield spots in addition to 10 total infield starts at third base and second base, hitting .313 with nine homers and a .917 OPS in 47 total starts. He batted .324 with a .920 OPS in 36 appearances off the bench.
And with Craig in the starting lineup at least Alexi Ogando can begin planning ahead for their next matchup.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.