World Series Game 7 lineups: Rangers vs. Cardinals

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Here are the lineups for Game 7 of the Rangers-Cardinals series tonight:

   TEXAS RANGERS             ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B         1. Ryan Theriot, 2B
2. Elvis Andrus, SS        2. Allen Craig, LF
3. Josh Hamilton, CF       3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Michael Young, 1B       4. Lance Berkman, RF
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B       5. David Freese, 3B
6. Nelson Cruz, RF         6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Mike Napoli, C          7. Rafael Furcal, SS
8. David Murphy, LF        8. Skip Schumaker, CF

SP Matt Harrison, LHP      SP Chris Carpenter, RHP

Nelson Cruz (groin) and Mike Napoli (ankle) are both playing tonight despite getting hurt in Game 6, so Ron Washington is able to go with his standard lineup versus a right-hander pitcher. That means David Murphy in left field and Craig Gentry on the bench, so with a banged-up Hamilton in center field and a banged-up Cruz in right field the Cardinals may be shooting some gaps with fly balls.

Tony La Russa, on the other hand, is shaking things up considerably. For the first time all postseason Rafael Furcal is not in the leadoff spot, as La Russa has dropped the struggling shortstop to seventh. Replacing him atop the lineup is Ryan Theriot, who starts over Nick Punto at second base. Skip Schumaker is making his second straight start in center fielder over Jon Jay. And with Matt Holliday removed from the roster due last night’s wrist injury Allen Craig is starting in left field. Holliday would have hit cleanup, but instead Craig is in his usual No. 2 spot with Lance Berkman cleaning up.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.