Lance Berkman to bat cleanup in Game 6 vs. Rangers

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As expected, the Cardinals are making some changes to their lineup for Game 6 of the World Series against the Rangers.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa confirmed that Lance Berkman will bat cleanup against the right-hander Colby Lewis tomorrow night (weather permitting, of course) while Matt Holliday will be dropped down to the fifth spot. This was the same arrangement the Cards used against Lewis back in Game 2.

Holliday is batting just .167 (3-for-18) during the World Series and for what it’s worth, SI’s Jon Heyman hears that his right middle finger injury “is a lot worse” than he’s letting on. Rangers manager Ron Washington will likely continue to pitch around Albert Pujols in crucial situations, but Berkman at least offers a bit more protection at the moment.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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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.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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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.