Cardinals utilityman Skip Schumaker drew the start in center field Monday night in Game 5 of the World Series, spelling a badly-slumping Jon Jay.
In Game 6, it will happen again.
According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa informed the media Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium that Schumaker will start in center field Thursday night against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis.
Schumaker isn’t as talented defensively as Jay, nor does he have much experience playing center field, but he’s 7-for-14 this postseason with two doubles and four RBI. And he boasts a productive .301/.358/.393 career batting line against right-handed hitters. Beyond Allen Craig, who isn’t quite athletic enough to handle center, Schumaker represents St. Louis’ best option for offensive success at the position.
Jay will be available off the bench as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. He was a late sub in Game 5.
La Russa also announced Wednesday that Nick Punto will start at second base in Thursday’s Game 6.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.