Here are the Cardinals’ and Braves’ lineups for the Wild Card playoff game:
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ATLANTA BRAVES
1. Jon Jay, CF 1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Carlos Beltran, RF 2. Martin Prado, LF
3. Matt Holliday, LF 3. Jason Heyward, RF
4. Allen Craig, 1B 4. Chipper Jones, 3B
5. Yadier Molina, C 5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
6. David Freese, 3B 6. Dan Uggla, 2B
7. Daniel Descalso, 2B 7. David Ross, C
8. Pete Kozma, SS 8. Andrelton Simmons, SS
9. Kyle Lohse, P 9. Kris Medlen, P
Mike Matheny is going with what became the Cardinals’ standard stretch-run lineup and batting order without the injured Lance Berkman and Rafael Furcal. After beginning with a left-handed hitter and a switch-hitter the lineup’s 3-4-5-6 spots are all right-handed bats against Braves right-hander Kris Medlen, but then again he held both righties and lefties to a sub-.210 batting average anyway.
Fredi Gonzalez decided to bench six-time all-star Brian McCann following his terrible August and September, so David Ross gets the start at catcher for the Braves. Ross caught Medlen for 44 of his 138 total innings and they had a ridiculous 0.81 ERA together, so that shouldn’t be an issue. And of course he’s the stat you’ll hear about constantly during the game: Atlanta has won 23 consecutive games started by Medlen and they’re favored tonight.
Feel free to chat during the game in the comments section.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.